Stat Check: Why is Moultrie Struggling?

Arnett Moultrie has been having an All-American type season, but he’s not played at that level on the offensive end the last few games.

Who’s to blame for that is worthy of debate. Perhaps Moultrie, MSU’s 6-foot-11 junior forward, hasn’t matched up as well with his recent opponents. Perhaps it’s that the Bulldogs can’t get the ball to him in good post position to get point-blank shots. Perhaps it has to do with his drop in offensive rebounding average, because a lot of his buckets come on putbacks.

In today’s MSU notebook, we look at Moultrie’s last three games and the offensive struggles he has experienced during that span. It’s not that he’s shot poorly – he’s 13 of 27 from the field – but that’s below what percentage he normally shoots (55.6 percent for the season). He’s not gotten a ton of looks, but that’s been the norm, too. Moultrie has simply been good at maximizing his opportunities, averaging 16.2 points on 10.2 shot attempts per game.

Prior to the recent three-game stretch, Moultrie was averaging 4.8 offensive rebounds per game. Over these last three games that average is 2.7, which means fewer second-chance opportunities.

Moultrie also has excelled at the free throw line, making 86.8 percent there. He was averaging 6.8 attempts per game through his first 10 games, but just 2.7 over his last three.

They key to all of this seems to be teams keeping Moultrie away from the rim, and his rebounding numbers of late are likely a product of teams scheming against him with that objective in mind. That’s the best way to slow him down, according to Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin.

“The way he rebounds the basketball, the way he scores on the block, you want to try to get him off the block. You want to try to keep him off the glass,” Martin said.

Maybe this is too small a sample size to say Moultrie’s struggles are a trend, but with MSU at 0-1 in SEC play and facing tough games this week against Tennessee and Alabama, it’s critical that Moultrie figure out what’s holding him back and return to form.