January 10, 2010 12:10:00 AM
OXFORD -- It was a day when a sophomore point guard grew up.
After Dee Bost only had 13 points and five assists for Mississippi State in a 55-52 loss at Western Kentucky this past Monday, coach Rick Stansbury had a heart-to-heart talk with him.
Stansbury knew his sophomore point guard was capable of having a better game.
On Saturday against Ole Miss, Bost did just that.
Bost responded in Mississippi State''s first Southeastern Conference game of the season and out-played Ole Miss junior point guard Chris Warren to lead the Bulldogs to an 80-75 victory in front of 9,360 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
The words Stansbury had for Bost gave him something to think about and he knew it was time to improve his attitude and his game.
"(Stansbury) said I should have stepped up for the whole game (at Western Kentucky)," Bost said "He told me I''ve got to stop pouting because I wasn''t getting my way."
Bost saw what could happen when he stays within the flow of a game.
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Bost equalled his career high of 25 points and dished out six assists to lead MSU to the victory.
Stansbury was pleased with Bost''s performance.
"That''s the way Dee''s got to play," Stansbury said. "The thing he does better than anything else is pressure that rim. Keeping pressure on that rim does a lot of things. It collapses that defense and you''ve got to collapse it. When that ball is going into the paint, good things happen."
MSU (13-3, 1-0 SEC) trailed 42-37 at the half and Bost wasn''t having the type of game he was looking for with only eight points. He turned it on in the second half and scored 17 more.
"We thought in the first half that he had some things when he attacked the rim, but he wasn''t attacking and looking to pass too much," Stansbury said. "In the second half, he attacked, finished and backed off when he had to. He was really aggressive.
"He was playing loose and very confident. We let him go do it."
Bost saw that his team was flat in the first half so he decided "to put the team on my back and change the game."
Warren gave Bost credit for leading his team to the win and didn''t think Ole Miss (12-3, 0-1) was very good in transition because of it.
"Bost is a good player and when we''d score or have have a missed shot, he''d get it and take it 90 feet back up the court," Warren said. "We don''t talk (defensively) and he''d hit baskets."
Warren, who was on the All-SEC preseason second-team despite missing last season with a knee injury, made only 5 of 17 shots from the field with only 3 of 8 coming from 3-point range and finished with 15 points, which was below his average of 16.9 points per game.
Bost, who believes he has gotten stronger this season, was motivated by his one-on-one matchup with Warren.
"They didn''t have me on second team and had him, but I''m not going to let that get to me," Bost said. "I was just going to keep playing and make a statement."
Even though he has the All-SEC point guard, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said one can''t deny what Stansbury has in Bost.
"He''s a good player and we knew that coming in," Kennedy said. "I think he''s their most talented guy. I''m not qualified to say that, but from my perspective he''s really explosive. He''s very fast in the open floor and if you let him get it in the right hand, he''s going to try and get it to the basket.
"He kept them in the game as they were trying to find an offensive rhythm in the second half."
MSU senior guard Barry Stewart said Bost''s performance was a thing of beauty and thought he had a good all-around game.
"It''s not just because he was scoring, but he was controlling the flow," Stewart said. "He controlled the game better than he has. Coach has been on him. He''s done a great job of not letting that dictate his emotions. He might get upset every once in a while, but I didn''t see that (Saturday)."
MSU''s next game is at 6 p.m. Thursday against Arkansas in Starkville. Ole Miss plays at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Georgia.