November 20, 2009 8:42:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- Two points, two rebounds, two steals, and one assist doesn''t look impressive in a boxscore.
But that production is more than enough for Mississippi State basketball coach Rick Stansbury when it comes from junior guard Riley Benock.
Benock made those "tremendous" contributions Thursday night in 15 minutes off the bench on a sore foot in an 82-67 victory against the University of Southeastern Louisiana at Humphrey Coliseum.
"The minutes Riley played were very important," Stansbury said. "He made a couple of plays with his mind by anticipating the play. He gives you those things that don''t show up on the stat sheet, and that''s why those guys are valuable."
Benock had foot surgery in September to repair a stress fracture. Doctors told him it would be closer to Thanksgiving before he''d be able to return to the floor.
After getting the rehabilitation he needed, Benock has played in both of MSU''s regular-season games. He played only four minutes Friday in a loss to Rider.
Benock understood he didn''t make enough strides in practice prior to the Rider game to make a difference, but it was different against Southeastern Louisiana.
"I had a better idea going into the game what I could do that I would be good to go," Benock said. "I knew what I had to do, so it felt good to get back out there. My time is fairly limited, but I know anything I can do will assist the team."
Benock didn''t notice any pain in his foot once he got into the flow of the game.
MSU''s four starting guards scored in double figures Thursday night. Ravern Johnson (17 points) said the production might not have been possible if not for Benock.
"We get tired when we''re playing defense, so to have somebody come off the bench and contribute like that, it makes the team better," Johnson said.
Benock wasn''t the only member of the walking wounded who played against the Lions. Dee Bost, who pulled a groin muscle Monday in practice, started at point guard and went 32 minutes, while forward Elgin Bailey played three minutes in his first action of the season since dislocating his ankle in March.
"That shows how much they love the team," Johnson said of his teammates. "They really want to win, and no matter what''s hurting them, they are going to try and fight through it."
All five MSU starters scored in double figures, led by Jarvis Varnado (20 points) led all five of MSU''s starters who scored in double figures.
MSU (1-1) will play host to Bethune-Cookman at 6 p.m. Saturday.
n NOTES: Varnado had eight blocked shots and is three shy of tying former LSU center Shaquille O''Neal''s Southeastern Conference record of 412. ... Phil Turner tied a career-high with 14 rebounds. ... True freshman forward Wendell Lewis scored his first career points and played seven minutes. ... The attendance was 4,544.
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2. Woodard Jr. maturing into leader for Columbus HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
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5. History within Tigers' grasp LOCAL COLUMNS