CATEGORY: Basketball



FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. Darryl Wilson’s usually one of the deadliest 3-point shooters in the SEC.

Saturday afternoon at Arkansas’ jam-packed “Wal-Mart” Arena, the Mississippi State guard’s aim was dead as a doorknob. He was 0-for-9 from his favorite area 3-point land. Heck, he even missed his one inside-the-arc attempt, a layup. And he drew a charge call on that move to the hoop to boot.

His “0-for” outing was a first in his college career. Somebody call Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

“He’s not perfect,” said Wilson’s State teammate, Russell Walters. “He’s going to have his off nights. Nobody feels worse than Darryl about this.”

The usually upbeat Wilson had a hard time explaining to reporters outside the quiet State locker room what was wrong with his shooting in the Bulldogs’ 80-68 loss to the Razorbacks.

“The ball wouldn’t fall tonight,” he said. “It looked good, but it wasn’t good. The rest of the team played well. Erick (Dampier) played an outstanding game. Dontae’ (Jones) played good.

“I was the weak link tonight. The shots weren’t falling.”

State coach Richard Williams thought it was necessary to defend his top scorer in his postgame press conference.

“Basically, most of his shots were good looks at the basket,” Williams said. “Let me tell you something about Darryl Wilson, he’s won a heck of a lot of basketball games for us since he’s been at Mississippi State. Everybody can have a bad day sometimes. This is the first really bad day he’s had since he’s been in our program. I’ll take that ratio any time.”

End of the rankings

Williams has said all season that this Mississippi State team was “overrated,” but the Bulldogs have spent the first 10 weeks of the season in the national rankings Associated Press and USA Today/CNN polls.

The vocal Arkansas fans certainly thought Williams’ club was not deserving of a national ranking, cheering “overrated, overrated, overrated” as the clock ticked down.

Look for the Bulldogs, who were ranked No. 9 (AP) in the preseason and No. 21 (AP, USA Today/CNN) heading into Saturday’s loss to the Razorbacks, to tumble out of the polls this week.

The Bulldogs have lost three of their last four games and struggled to beat a weak Ole Miss team.

“A Top 25 team comes to Arkansas and doesn’t get outrebounded and does the things it takes to win on the road,” State’s Walters said. “We haven’t proved as a team that we’re that good, yet. I know we’ve got the talent, but until we get it going together and get things clicking right, we’re not going to be a Top 25 team.”

Walters says the best thing for State to do is forget about impressing the pollsters.

“We’ve got to forget about the polls, the rankings and what people think about us and just go out there and play ball,” he said. “That’s been our problem the whole year.”

Walters said the team shouldn’t panic because there are a lot of games remaining 11, including 10 in SEC play.

“You’re going to lose some games in this league. You’ve got to shake it off,” he said. “We’ve got to pull together and go on to the next game. We need to show a little more maturity.”

Gene Phelps is sports editor for the Daily Journal.

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