By Logan Lowery
OXFORD – An alarming pattern is forming for Mississippi State’s men.
The Bulldogs are 3-0 in Southeastern Conference games played at home but are winless on the road. MSU lost its third league game 82-63 at Ole Miss on Saturday.
“We haven’t played good on the road yet this year,” said MSU guard I.J. Ready. “We play good at home but I think it’s more about us coming out to compete as a person. When we’re away we’ll let them smack us in the mouth but when we’re at home we’ll throw the first punch. We’ve got to come out and be more aggressive.”
The Bulldogs (13-6) never led in Saturday’s loss to the Rebels. Five of State’s losses have come away from Humphrey Coliseum, by an average of 19 points.
“We’ve got to find a way to compete on the road,” said MSU coach Rick Ray. “Every time we go and play somebody good on the road it’s not even a ball game.”
For the first time in his tenure with the Bulldogs, Ray substituted all five starters from the floor. MSU played eight minutes of the second half with three walk-ons in the lineup and finished with its bench outscoring the starters 33-30.
“We had guys on our bench with their heads down,” said MSU forward Roquez Johnson. “We had a group of walk-ons that was giving everything they’ve got. I guess the other guys will have to step up.”
Johnson and Ready paced the Bulldogs off the bench with 13 points each.
State’s leading scorer Craig Sword was held to just four points against Ole Miss, while second-leading scorer Gavin Ware played only 18 minutes due to early foul trouble. he finished with nine points.
The Bulldogs have an opportunity to continue their home success Thursday, hosting No. 6 Florida at 6 p.m. on ESPN2.