The Mississippi State men’s hoops team dropped a big game on Sunday to the Minnesota Golden Gophers via a final score of 81-76. The Bulldogs had their chances in this one, but could never quite dig themselves out of the hole they got themselves in.
Iverson Molinar yet again led the team in terms of scoring with an impressive 26 points. Molinar also led the team in another column, producing 6 assists to accompany his point production. Garrison Brooks had one of his better games of the season as well, notching a double-double on the night with 13 points and 10 boards.
MSU started the game in about as bad of a funk imaginable, going down 14-0 to open the first half before a Tolu Smith turnaround jump shot put the Bulldogs on the board. MSU fought back about as hard as they could, though, and cut the lead to just three points at the half - 35-32.
MSU came out in the second half with a fair amount of momentum, but that was flipped on its head about as soon as the first whistle blew, as Gopher guard Jamison Battle came out of the half unconscious from behind the arc. The Gophers hit nine of their first ten shots in the half and were able to stretch the lead back to 14.
“Obviously Battle is a very difficult matchup,” said head coach Ben Howland after the game, “he’s really a three who can step out and shoot, and you know he and Willis were both 4-8 tonight from three … that really hurt us.”
If there is a silver lining to be taken from this game, though, it is easily that of Iverson Molinar, as he is truly beginning to live up to the hype as the best point guard in the SEC and one of the best players in the country. This has not been a one-game affair, as anyone who watches this team doesn’t have to try very hard to notice that no matter who he’s on the floor with, his teammates know that Molinar is the guy. That’s important for a team trying to make a tournament run, and as the season progresses, it should only make it easier for the players around him to adapt.
MSU will play their next game against Colorado State in the Basketball Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday, December 11th, with a 1:00 tip.