GAME NOTES: A battle of the Bulldogs is on tap for Wednesday night at Humphrey Coliseum, as Mississippi State plays host to Georgia in SEC action.
Georgia has won back-to-back games, downing both LSU (91-78) and Texas A&M (62-50) on its home floor last week to improve to 12-10 overall and 6-4 in league play. The bad news for UGA in this matchup is that it has had most of its success at home (11-2) while going just 1-5 on the road.
Meanwhile, Mississippi State's season as a whole has been solid at 13-10 overall, but things have taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks, as it is in the midst of a season-long five-game losing streak. It most recently dropped a 69-59 decision versus Kentucky on Saturday to slip to 11-3 at Humphrey Coliseum.
After 105 all-time meetings, Mississippi State is holding to the slimmest of margins over Georgia, 53-52, snapping a series tie in the only meeting last season with a 72-61 win in Athens on Jan. 12, 2013.
Georgia trailed its most recent game by one midway through the second half but finished the game on a 23-10 run to capture the double-digit victory. While it shot just 41.5 percent from the field, it held Texas A&M to a lowly 33.9 percent shooting, which included a dreadful 1-of-19 showing from 3-point range. Pacing the winning effort was Kenny Gaines with 14 points, while Charles Mann and Brandon Morris netted 10 points apiece and Donte' Williams tallied nine points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
On the season, Georgia outshoots its opponents, 44.3 percent to 40.7 percent, but it only owns a +1.5 scoring margin since it makes just 4.5 3-pointers per game, has a -2.2 turnover margin and shoots a mere 66.6 percent from the free- throw line. Mann scores a team-best 13.5 ppg but hinders his production by shooting just 116-of-175 from the foul line (.663). Gaines (11.8 ppg), Nemanja Djurisic (10.2 ppg) and Morris (9.5 ppg) round out a modest attack.
Mississippi State hung tough with nationally-ranked Kentucky over the weekend and kept its deficit to single digits for most of the contest but could not overcome a lackluster 38.3 percent field-goal shooting performance as it suffered the 10-point setback. Gavin Ware, Trivante Bloodman and Craig Sword all scored 12 points in the loss, with Ware and Bloodman combining the shoot 14-of-14 from the free-throw line. Roquez Johnson was solid off the bench with 10 points.
Even though MSU still boasts a record above .500 this season, it has a -0.7 scoring margin, shooting 44.6 percent from the field for 67.7 ppg while allowing 68.5 ppg on 44.3 percent shooting. The squad has been nearly non- existent from beyond the arc, making 4.7 3-pointers per game at a 31.2 percent clip. Sword leads the way with 13.2 ppg and is a strong perimeter defender as well with 2.0 spg. Ware mans the paint, scoring 10.6 ppg on 59.5 percent shooting to go with 7.7 rpg, while Colin Borchert (10.0 ppg) and Johnson (9.0 ppg) have also been solid.
Although Mississippi State has lost two straight home games, both came against nationally-ranked opponents, and it should be able to get back on the winning track against a Georgia squad that has floundered on the road.
Game Date and Time