/State surely looked like an NCAA team, dominating Ole Miss, 69-44, in season finale

State surely looked like an NCAA team, dominating Ole Miss, 69-44, in season finale

Davis stated that Mississippi State should be included in the NCAA Tournament. “You can win as many games in this league as they have won and you deserve to get in,” Davis said. This was after State defeated the Ole Miss Rebels, his alma mater. The Rebels were dominated by the Bulldogs’ inspired and suffocating defense. State finishes the season with a record of 20-11 overall and 11-7 in Southeastern Conference. The Bulldogs will be fourth in the SEC Tournament at Nashville next week and have a double bye into Friday’s quarterfinals. All the Joe Lunardis of the world, the internationally known bracketologists, have the Bulldogs listed as one of the 68 NCAA teams. Davis stated, “That’s absurd.” You could put them in the Big Ten Conference, and they would be in. The SEC isn’t getting enough respect.” State looked like an NCAA Tournament team on Saturday, and Reggie Perry looked All World and like a first round NBA draft pick. Perry scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, possibly his last game at The Hump. Davis described Perry as “like a man playing against men” and he won’t be disputed. Perry was outmuscled and outhustled by the Ole Miss big men. He beat the Rebels, and he beat them up. It was a dramatic (Vegas-style) change from the Feb. 11 Oxford meeting when State defeated State 83 to 58. Breein Tyree scored 40 and outscored the Bulldogs by himself during the second half. State nearly doubled Tyree’s scoring chances this time and Ole Miss was unable to stop the Bulldogs from making them pay. Someone should have been available. Tyree couldn’t find them if they were. He missed just four of his 13 shots and scored only 11 points, nine less than his average. What is the explanation for this 50-point turnaround in scoring? Ole Miss was victorious by 25 points at Oxford. State won 25 to 25 in Starkville. It was a part of the excellent defensive plan that Ben Howland, state coach, had devised. Howland stated, “Best defense we have played since I’ve ever been here.” Another was Nick Weatherspoon’s greatly improved point guard play. Davis’s comments about his team’s inability to be tough on the road are certainly true. Weatherspoon’s performance Saturday night was perhaps the most significant. It was a far cry from his ineptness in the first meeting. He was scoreless at Oxford and had six turnovers, with zero assists. He scored 11 points and passed out six assists. He also stole the ball four more times and did not commit a turnover in the return match. He was everything you would want in a point guard on Saturday night. State should be watching for him if he plays like that at Nashville. Weatherspoon’s defense was a great strength. Abdul Ado was often Weatherspoon’s partner in defense, and they were, as Howland stated, “our two toughest defenders.” State led 14 times in the first half, before being outscored 39 times by the Rebels over the final 30 minutes. The game ended at 20. State then outscored the Rebels by 49-24. The second half of Saturday night was like a party at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs did what they wanted. In his final game at The Hump, Tyson Carter, a senior who followed in the footsteps his father Greg’s footsteps, scored nine points, with four assists, and a steal. Carter leaned down at the court’s midcourt in push-ups and embraced Howland as he subbed. It was a beautiful moment, and Howland got emotional afterward. Perry received thunderous applause as Howland took over for Perry shortly after Howland had subbed. Howland responded to Davis’s comment about his team being in the NCAA Tournament. He said, “Kermit, you are a very classy man, and a coach’s Coach. I have great respect for you.” He would not say it if it wasn’t true. He would. Howland stated that “We still have work ahead of us.” “And we know it.”_x000D