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Freshmen help short-handed MSU earn big road win

Posted 1/30/2016 in College Sports

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Freshman Quinndary Weatherspoon's first double-double of his Mississippi State career proved large in a 76-62 victory against Missouri in a Southeastern Conference matchup at Mizzou Arena. Playing without Gavin Ware, who was left home due to concussion symptoms, Weatherspoon, Malik Newman, and Aric Holman gave MSU three freshmen in the starting lineup, and helped the Bulldogs snap an eight-game conference losing streak on the road. It was MSU's first road win since winning in this building 77-74 a year ago. The victory was the largest margin of victory for the Bulldogs in a conference road game since an 83-64 win at Auburn on Feb. 9, 2008.



Kansas State holds Moody in check in second half

Posted 1/30/2016 in College Sports

MANHATTAN, Kansas -- The way Stefan Moody has scored this season, all Kansas State men's basketball coach Bruce Weber could hope for was to keep the Ole Miss senior guard in-check. His Wildcats did one better Saturday.



NCAA targets three Ole Miss programs for violations

Posted 1/30/2016 in College Sports

Ole Miss has been notified by the NCAA of rules violations involving the football, women's basketball, and track and field programs. Some of the allegations regarding the football program date back to previous coach Houston Nutt, but others involve current coach Hugh Freeze's tenure, a person familiar with the investigation told The Associated Press on Friday. On Saturday, Ole Miss Athletic Director Ross Bjork provided more specifics about the NCAA allegations one day after initially saying the university couldn't comment further on the NCAA's Notice of Allegations against his athletics department.



West Point earns two big wins

Posted 1/30/2016 in High School Sports

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- West Point High School took the road for a successful weekend of basketball action. Fresh off a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A, Region 2 win Friday at Oxford High, West Point defeated Noxubee County 52-46 Saturday afternoon at FedEx Forum.



MSU's Prescott gets top honor at Senior Bowl

Posted 1/30/2016 in College Sports

MOBILE, Ala. -- Dak Prescott didn't want to let his Senior Bowl turn end quietly. The Mississippi State quarterback's first drive of the second quarter included a false start penalty and led only to a punt, but he bounced back on his second chance and helped lead the South to a 27-16 victory against the North on Saturday. "I came back the second series and realized that if I wanted to make something happen in this game, this was my only opportunity," Prescott said. "And it was a two-minute drive. I got the guys going. They rallied behind me, blocked well, made some good catches and we were able to get in the end zone."



Okorie's growth a sign of MSU's progress in history-making win

Posted 1/29/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- Chinwe Okorie has put the backboards at Humphrey Coliseum through a lot in the last two-and-a-half seasons. From First Deepwater of the Zenith League in her home country of Nigeria to Stoneleigh-Burnham School in Greenfield, Massachusetts, Okorie's resume doesn't have the level of experience of many of her peers on the Mississippi State women's basketball team. As a result, the 6-foot-5 center had a bigger adjustment to make than her classmates when she arrived as a member of coach Vic Schaefer's first recruiting class in Starkville. Okorie's transition to Division I basketball stalled in her freshman season as NCAA questions about her eligibility forced her to sit out the season.



Defensive switch fuels MSU's comeback against Tennessee

Posted 1/29/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- Only those who truly know Vic Schaefer best can determine how set he is in his defensive principles. If the Mississippi State women's basketball team isn't playing player-to-player, it isn't playing defense. Schaefer has preached to his players about getting up the line and into passing lanes and getting up close and personal with their opponent on every possession to make every trip an ordeal. When you have had as much success as Schaefer has had using that style of defense at Arkansas, Texas A&M, and MSU, it's easy to see why he is so steadfast in his desire to rely on it. But Schaefer didn't think twice Thursday when forced into a situation to make a change.



MSU men go on road to face Missouri

Posted 1/29/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- Ben Howland hopes the Mississippi State men's basketball team's victory against Ole Miss was the start of something. The Bulldogs' first-year head coach earned a win in his first meeting against the archrival Rebels in an 83-77 decision at Humphrey Coliseum.



Heritage Academy's Ledbetter signs with Northwest Mississippi C.C.

Posted 1/29/2016 in High School Sports

Unsolicited recruiting help might be the best assistance a high school senior looking to play a sport at the next level can get. Little did Michael Ledbetter know that he had not one or two but three friends and members of the Northwest Mississippi Community College men's soccer team talk to their coach about him. Charlie Baldwin must have liked what he heard from former Caledonia High School standouts Chandler Lester, James Longmire, and Robert Mims because it didn't take long for him to contact Ledbetter.



No. 13 MSU will try to make more history tonight

Posted 1/28/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- Vic Schaefer knows all about the history of the Tennessee women's basketball programs. In more than 25 years in Division I basketball, Schaefer has witnessed many of Tennessee's 35 combined Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships, 18 NCAA tournament Final Fours, and eight NCAA national titles. He knows the power of the Orange and how quickly the sounds of "Rocky Top," the unofficial fight song for Tennessee, can wear on the ears of someone competing against the Lady Volunteers.



Tennessee looking to find its footing

Posted 1/28/2016 in College Sports

Holly Warlick insists she wasn't calling out fans of the Tennessee women's basketball team last week. Instead, the longtime assistant coach and fourth-year head coach of the Lady Volunteers wanted to stand up for her team after a 79-66 loss at No. 3 Notre Dame on Jan. 22. "We're hearing a lot of negativity from our fans and from people," Warlick said. "Hey, guys, give this group a break. They're playing as hard as they can. Are they playing great? Absolutely not, but they're putting it all out there." Since then, Tennessee has defeated Vanderbilt and lost to Kentucky to move to 12-7 and 3-3 in the Southeastern Conference. It finds itself in a new situation as it prepares to take on Mississippi State (17-4, 4-3) at 8 tonight (SEC Network) at Humphrey Coliseum.



'Batman' lifts Ole Miss past Auburn

Posted 1/28/2016 in College Sports

OXFORD -- Ole Miss men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy is a pop culture fan, especially when it comes to comparisons of comic book superheroes and point guards. "We got our Batman back. Everybody wants to be Batman, but Stefan Moody is Batman for us," said Kennedy, after Moody scored 24 points, 22 in the second half, as the Rebels snapped a four-game losing streak with an 80-63 victory against Auburn.



Clinton sweeps Columbus in soccer playoffs

Posted 1/27/2016 in High School Sports

CLINTON -- The Columbus High School boys soccer team faced a state power Tuesday night. Against a Clinton High program that has won nine state titles in the Mississippi High School Activities Association's highest classification, Columbus faced an uphill battle for 80 minutes. Orion Anderson scored four goals in the first half, including two in 40 seconds, to help Clinton defeat Columbus 5-0 in the first round of the MHSAA Class 6A playoffs at Arrow Field.


It's time for MSU women to take next step vs. Tennessee

Posted 1/27/2016 in Local Columns

It's time. Coming off a strong performance in front of a record crowd at Humphrey Coliseum, there would be no better way for the Mississippi State women's basketball team to take the next step than to make more history Thursday night. On Sunday, then-No. 10 MSU lost to No. 2 South Carolina 57-51 before a crowd of 10,626, which exceeded the listed capacity of Humphrey Coliseum by 126. The crowd was the biggest in MSU's history, the largest to see a women's basketball game in the state of Mississippi, and the fourth-largest in the history of the Hump.


Starkville sweeps Madison Central in basketball doubleheader

Posted 1/26/2016 in High School Sports

STARKVILLE -- Greg Carter never lost faith. The Starkville High School boys basketball coach saw his team fall behind Madison Central by 15 points in the third quarter, but there was no panic from the veteran coach. Instead, he challenged his players. Starkville responded in the final quarter and pulled out a 57-56 victory on Monday night in a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A, Region 3 game.



Freshmen playing bigger role for MSU men

Posted 1/26/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- Malik Newman and Quinndary Weatherspoon are making a huge impact. The Mississippi State freshmen were expected to be impact players from the beginning, but, like many freshmen, they endured their struggles. In Southeastern Conference play, though, Newman and Weatherspoon have combined to average 27 points per game. They hope to continue that play at 6 tonight (SEC Network) when MSU (8-10, 1-5 SEC) takes on South Carolina (17-2, 4-2) at Colonial Life Arena in Columbia, South Carolina.



Amusa has been force for Starkville Academy

Posted 1/26/2016 in High School Sports

STARKVILLE -- Ade Amusa has been a big part of the Starkville Academy boys basketball team's success this season. But it hasn't been easy for the senior. Starkville Academy coach Bruce Allsup challenged Amusa after last season to work on his game in the offseason and be ready to take on a bigger role when the 2015-16 season started. Amusa took Allsup's advice and worked every day to improve. Amusa's work has paid off. It showed last week, when he scored 44 points in three games, including 21 in a victory against Heritage Academy in Columbus. For his efforts, Amusa is The Dispatch's Prep Player of the Week.



Columbus High teams set for playoff soccer action

Posted 1/26/2016 in High School Sports

The Columbus High School soccer teams will try to build on a history-making season tonight. Buoyed by second-place finishes in Class 6A, Region 2, District 2, the Columbus High girls and boys will take on Clinton in the first round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A playoffs in a doubleheader that is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. It is the first season in a number of years that the Columbus girls (7-10, 4-2 district) and the Columbus boys (3-9-3, 2-4) have qualified for the playoffs in the same season.



No. 10 MSU falls short of upset before record crowd

Posted 1/25/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- The chances were there Sunday. Four years ago, it would have been difficult to imagine the Mississippi State women's basketball team could compete with the No. 2 team in the nation. A 51-point loss to Vanderbilt, a 53-point loss to Kentucky, and a 48-point loss to Texas A&M were some of the potholes Vic Schaefer and his coaching staff had to navigate en route to a 13-win season in their first year in Starkville. But MSU has left those disappointments in the rear-view mirror and slowly climbed back into relevance in the Southeastern Conference and in the national rankings. The latest step came with another record and pushed No. 10 MSU tantalizingly close to a victory against its highest-ranked opponent since 2000.



Mitchell takes over to help No. 2 South Carolina void upset

Posted 1/25/2016 in College Sports

STARKVILLE -- Tiffany Mitchell made a case Sunday for a third-straight Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. You would be hard-pressed to find any one in the record crowd of 10,626 at Humphrey Coliseum to say Mitchell wasn't the best player on the floor in the No. 2 South Carolina women's basketball team's 57-51 victory against No. 10 Mississippi State.



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