December 10, 2011 10:28:00 PM
STARKVILLE -- What we learned?
Mississippi State's men's basketball team showcased its best performance of versatility Saturday afternoon in its complete domination of the University of Troy.
The 17th-ranked Bulldogs were nearly flawless offensive in both full-court and half-court styles during their dominating 106-68 blowout victory at Humphrey Coliseum. MSU's start to this season is its best since beginning the 2003-04 campaign a perfect 13-0. The 106 points were the most for MSU this season and the last time the Bulldogs scored 100 points or more was Dec. 5, 2009, against St. Bonaventure (105-54 victory). MSU's balance was shown with the team being credited with a season-high 30 assists, four shy of the school record of 34 set in 1975.
The Bulldogs (9-1) tied a school record converting 16 3-point field goals and shot 56.3 percent (40 of 71) from the field.
Midway through the first half when Troy (4-5) decided to slow the tempo down and make it a halfcourt game, MSU used its significant size advantage to use a 31-9 run to walk into the halftime locker room with a 28-point advantage.
Arnett Moultrie, MSU's 6-foot-10 forward who was asked to guard perimeter players seven and eight inches smaller than him, scored 20 points and had 12 rebounds to give him his fifth double-doubles on the year.
Dee Bost, the Bulldogs Wooden Award finalist, led all scorers with 28 points by getting baskets in several different ways by tying his career-high with seven made 3-pointers and adding nine assists. Bost seemingly understood how to run the perfect tempo throughout the contest.
Mississippi State's starting five of Bost, Moultrie, Rodney Hood, Renardo Sidney and Jalen Steele accounted for 93 of the Bulldogs 106 points.
Sidney, who at times looked lethargic and lazy on both ends of the floor but would follow with short stretches of an energetic force.
After receiving a technical foul in the first half, the former McDonald's All-American out of high school responded with a 3-pointer and a power dunk over a Trojans defender.
What we heard?
Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury:
"It was just one of those days. We got enough balance on this team right now that we can become efficient at either way. One of greatest advantages in every game is our versatility."
Troy head coach Don Maestri:
"The two good things about this game for us - the first 10 minutes of
the second half and the fact that it is over. We're supposed to be the good outside shooting team but that went to Mississippi State as well. It was just from an outsiders point of view standpoint to watch Mississippi State with all the different talents that they have and how they are starting to put it together. Bost is a NBA player, they got size and the wing guys with Hood - he's a much better shooter than his dad ever was. Talent wise - they're one the top teams in the country. I was teasing Coach Stansbury that the last time we got beat this bad by him was (Erik) Dampier and those guys [MSU's 1996 Final Four team]. I was standing at the Plaza Hotel and they were playing in the Final Four that year."
MSU senior guard Dee Bost:
"They tend to hit a lot of three's and we focused on that in practice and we didn't want them to get a lot of clean looks to run them off the three-point line. We knew they weren't going to go away so we had to turn it up and keep the pressure on them."
MSU junior forward Arnett Moultrie:
"My ears and eyes lit up when they talked me how small they were. I should've gotten more rebounds though."
MSU sophomore guard Jalen Steele
"It's just now I'm more focused moving into the starting spot because I know I have to come in and contribute to the team. It's an extra something now because with starting you have to be on your p's and q's from the beginning otherwise you're hurting the team."
Tuesday vs. Florida Atlantic University (8 p.m., CSS)
The Owls won 21 games last year and qualified for the National Invitational Tournament. This team, coached by the nationally acclaimed Mike Jarvis, has the talent to win the Sun Belt Conference and make it to the NCAA Tournament. The Owls are led by junior guard Greg Gantt's 13.9 points per game and the squad makes 37 percent from beyond the three-point arc.
The problem with FAU (4-5) is a lack of interior presence with 6-foot-4 guard Pablo Bertone being the team's leader in offensive rebounding. The Owls are 2-5 away from home and the game against the Bulldogs begins a stretch where they travel to Starkville and then Miami (Fla.) and then nationally-ranked Harvard.
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.
5. A Stone's Throw: Waving flags COLUMNS