Tyson Carter had 10 in the No. 22 Mississippi State men’s basketball team’s 90-77 victory against McNeese on Tuesday night. Photo by: Blake Williams/MSU Athletic Media Relations
December 5, 2018 10:29:26 AM
STARKVILLE -- The way Ben Howland has his Mississippi State men's basketball staff extensively chart practice shots proved something: when Lamar Peters catches and shoots a 3-point shot, he's incredibly good at it, at times making as much as 80 percent.
Howland knew doing more of it in games would increase Peters' 31.1 percent 3-point shooting entering Tuesday.
Peters did much more than increase his season percentage: in making eight of his 13 attempts from range, he set a new career high of 27 points and tied the single-game school record for made 3-pointers in No. 22 MSU's 90-77 win over McNeese State (2-6).
"Lamar really played well tonight: shot the ball extremely well, made a lot of good decisions," Howland said. "I thought the way they played ball screens, they were giving up the 3 a little more and why wouldn't they? We were a team that's shooting 29 percent from 3, so why wouldn't they force us to take more 3's. He knocked them down."
Even with the defenders granting him some opportunities to shoot off the dribble, he didn't force those shots. He waited until the time was right.
The junior point guard allowed his shooting rhythm to be established by using the catch-and-shoot, as three of his first-half 3-pointers were assisted -- two of them by senior forward Aric Holman, both of his assists for the game. With his flow established, Peters let loose: his first 3 of the second half tied the game at 50 and his second, in transition, put the cap on a 19-0 run his first 3 helped start.
In those moments, Peters recalled Howland's message from the practice court.
"Take better shots. Instead of just taking hard, contested shots, get some open ones and the hard ones start to fall," Peters said. "Wait until you come open, knock a few of them down then you can take some off the bounce. I normally take some shots early, but he told me when I take good shots, I'm a good shooter."
Tuesday's performance proved just that, and proved that he can do it all while running his usual role. He still dished out five assists and nabbed a steal.
"I was happy for him. He's put an incredible amount of work in," Howland said. "I think this is an important moment."
In striking range
Holman's three blocks brought him within one of a top five spot in school history. He now has 162 blocks as a Bulldog, one behind the 163 by Rickey Brown from 1976-1980. It would take another 20 blocks after that for Holman to reach Kalpatrick Wells in fourth and 15 beyond that to reach Tyrone Washington in third, but Holman had 66 blocks last season and is on pace for more this year.
Senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon was poised to move up a spot on the MSU career steals list, but just his second game of the year without a steal kept it from happening. He remains eighth in school history with 160, one behind Timmy Bowers, two behind Barry Stewart and five behind Chuck Evans in fifth.
His eight points give him 1,514 for his career, still 10th in school history. He is 44 points behind Jamont Gordon in ninth.
Holman the showman
Holman was up to his usual productivity Tuesday -- eight points, 11 rebounds, three blocks, two assists and a steal -- but added a bit of flair this time.
His second assist started by receiving a pass on the right wing with an open lane to the rim. He started down that crease just to curl the ball behind his back and fire a pass to Peters, shuffling into position on the left wing to knock down a 3-pointer. The play gave the Bulldogs (7-1) their biggest advantage of the first half at seven points.
The theatrics, although impressive, were not what Howland wanted to see.
"I wasn't excited about it. Impressive, maybe in the too loose way, for me," Howland said. "During that juncture, at that time, I wasn't excited about it.
"Glad it worked out."
Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson
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