November 20, 2009 8:01:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- The Mississippi State men''s basketball could have more players in street clothes tonight than dressed out in basketball jerseys.
Dee Bost, Elgin Bailey, Shaun Smith, Twany Beckham, and Riley Benock are out or doubtful because of injuries for MSU''s game against Southeastern Louisiana at 7 tonight at Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs also will be without John Reik because of an NCAA mandated nine-game suspension, Renardo Sidney because the NCAA has yet to clear him as an amateur athlete, and Kodi Augustus because of a suspension by MSU coach Rick Stansbury.
That leaves Ravern Johnson, Romero Osby, Barry Stewart, Phil Turner, and Jarvis Varnado as the only Bulldogs available with any experience.
"We''ll figure out who we''ve got between now and (the game)," Stansbury said. "We look down that bench and we have bodies, but not many we can put into the game."
The main concern will be at the point guard. Beckham (hip) is out for the season, while and Bost pulled a groin muscle Monday at practice.
Stansbury might have no choice but to play Stewart at point guard, but finding a backup at the position will be a problem.
Lack of depth hampered MSU on Friday in a 88-74 season-opening loss to Rider.
"We don''t have a lot of depth, so you can''t change the flow of a game with your bench," Stansbury said. "We couldn''t change it the other night. We were helpless. Fatigue causes a lot of things to happen."
Stansbury hasn''t ruled out "squeezing a couple of minutes" out of Bailey, who hasn''t bounced back fully from an ankle injury.
"(Bailey) hasn''t done anything in practice, which leads you to that," Stansbury said. "We may have to try it somehow. We need some time to play Riley back into shape, but he hasn''t done anything for 10 to 12 weeks. It''s tough on him."
Stansbury had to play Benock, who''s recovering from foot surgery, some minutes out of necessity, but it still wasn''t enough to keep Bost, Stewart, and Varnado from getting "completely wore out."
Varnado, who scored 22 points and grabbed 14 rebounds against Rider in 36 minutes, said there are no excuses.
"We''ve just got to do it with what we have," Varnado said. "If someone has to play 40 minutes, that''s what somebody has to do."
Southeastern Louisiana (2-0) won''t be an easy opponent. The Lions average 94.5 points per game.
Varnado said Stansbury has emphasized defense in practice this week.
"We''ve just got to do what we do best, which we still feel is defending and rebounding," Varnado said. "The last game we didn''t do that and we took a loss. That''s what we''re going to focus on this upcoming game."
The last time MSU opened 0-2 was the 1967-68 season.