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Tale of Two Halves: MSU Hoops Topples Morehead State

Despite a slow start, the Mississippi State men’s basketball team was able to pull out another convincing win over Morehead State to improve to 4-0 on the year.

The Mississippi State men’s basketball team bested the Morehead State Eagles via a final score of 66-46 Sunday afternoon to maintain their undefeated record so far in the young season.

Iverson Molinar led all Bulldogs in scoring with 15 points paired with a team leading 6 assists. Forward D.J. Jeffries stuffed the stat sheet himself on the night, securing his first double double in maroon and white with 13 points and 10 boards. Only two of the Bulldog bench players managed to get in the scoring column, with forwards Andersson Garcia and Javian Davis scoring eight and six respectively.

At the halftime break, the Bulldogs led by only one point. The Eagles had harassed them all half, only surrendering a 39.4% clip from the field while forcing seven first-half turnovers. After the game, head coach Ben Howland stated the message to his team was simple.

“We came out very uncharacteristically, jacking up quick shots and playing way too fast offensively. We’ve got to be more understanding of good-shot-bad-shot … that really helped them out. Give them credit, we played Morehead State for a reason. We knew they were good.”

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Rocket Watts looked rusty in his second game back. In 14 and a half minutes the veteran guard went 0-2 shooting with two turnovers. Despite this, coach Howland was adamant after the game that Watts is the first man off the bench in terms of the guard rotation. This resulted in limited minutes for freshman Cam Carter, who only logged 2:47 on the evening.

Cam Matthews continues to contribute to this team in some untraditional ways. Matthews did not take a single shot in the contest, but still managed to log five rebounds, two assists, four fouls and a steal on the night. Howland sang his praises after the game.

“(Matthews) does a lot of things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that really help us … you know he’s like having another guard out there in terms of his skill package, his ability to handle the ball and defend, and he’s 230 pounds … if you guys ever saw him with his shirt off you’d think he’s the Hulk.”

For the first time this season, forward Tolu Smith was on the dress roster before the game and warmed up with the team. Howland mentioned that he will go up and down with the team on Tuesday for the first time this year, some exciting news for Bulldog fans.

MSU will face off against Louisville on Thursday in the Bahamas with an 8:30 p.m. tipoff on CBS Sports Network, so viewers at home will be able to jump straight from the Egg Bowl to Mississippi State Hoops.