Thomas comes off bench to boost Bulldogs

By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal

STARKVILLE – Fred Thomas likes the 3-point shot, but he showed Tuesday night that there’s more to his game than that.
The freshman came off the bench to score 14 points in Mississippi State’s 60-42 win over Alcorn State at Humphrey Coliseum. For the first time this season, less than 50 percent of Thomas’ field goal attempts were from 3-point range.
He was 0 of 4 from there but 5 of 8 from inside the arc.
“Coach always talks to me about being patient and my shots will come to me, and that’s what happened tonight,” Thomas said.
Thomas is now shooting 25 percent (10 of 40) from deep this season. Even if those numbers come back up, coach Rick Ray wants Thomas to continue developing his all-around game.
“I don’t want Fred Thomas to live and die with his 3-point shot. He’s a good basketball player,” Ray said.
Freshman Craig Sword also scored 14 points to go with five steals, and it might have been his best outing to date. Roquez Johnson added 13 points.
“Coach told me to play calm and the game will come to you,” said Sword, who made 4 of 8 shots. “So I let everything come to me.”
MSU (2-4) out-rebounded Alcorn (2-5) by a 50-20 margin, led by Gavin Ware’s 12 boards. The Braves shot just 28.3 percent from the field, including 4 of 17 from 3-point range.
Anthony Evans led ASU with 12 points.
Of the rebound differential, Alcorn coach Luther Riley said, “We’re not as tough as we should be.”
Thomas had back-to-back dunks off turnovers midway through the second half to extend State’s lead to 53-30. MSU forced 16 turnovers but committed 21.
MSU raced out to a 13-2 lead, and walk-on Tyson Cunningham – making his first career start – gave State its biggest lead of the first half, at 32-15, with a 3-pointer.
The Bulldogs shot 40.9 percent from the field and made 22 of 33 free throws.
brad.locke@journalinc.com