STARKVILLE — Manny Diaz and Chris Wilson know people don’t want to play against coach Dan Mullen’s offense. In time, Diaz and Wilson hope opponents say the same thing about facing Mississippi State’s defense. On Saturday, it became the job of Diaz and Wilson to remake the Bulldogs’ defense into one of the nation’s top units. Mullen officially introduced Diaz and Wilson as his assistant coaches at halftime of the Georgia-MSU men’s basketball game. The moves are pending approval from the Mississippi Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning.
STARKVILLE — Phil Turner knew it was going to take more than a smile and a prayer to beat Georgia. So after erasing one double-digit deficit only to see the University of Georgia rebuild its cushion in the second half, the Mississippi State junior guard realized something more needed to be done. Turner was only happy to oblige. The energy and thievery Turner provided in a pressure defense in the final 5 minutes, 13 seconds proved to be contagious Saturday and helped MSU recover for an 82-79 victory against Georgia before a crowd of 7,682 at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — Chanel Mokango hopes to find the energy again today. On Thursday, the 6-foot-5 senior center had one of her best games of the season to help lift the Mississippi State women’s basketball team to an impressive victory at the University of Arkansas. At 2 p.m. today, Mokango will try to deliver a repeat performance when MSU (12-5, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) plays host to Florida (9-8, 2-2) at Humphrey Coliseum.
STARKVILLE — The best. The mere inclusion of definites in a statement about any player’s abilities speaks volumes. In his fourth year at Mississippi State, Jarvis Varnado has impacted college basketball games like nearly no other. On Thursday night, the senior center added a new weapon to his already impressive array of talents.
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Mississippi State women’s basketball team began the second half on a 23-10 run Thursday to pull away and beat Arkansas 78-60 at Bud Walton Arena. Mississippi State (12-5, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) won for just the third time at Bud Walton Arena, but for the second time in three years. It is the fourth time in school history for the Lady Bulldogs to start 3-1 in SEC play.
STARKVILLE -- It’s time for former Starkville High School sprinter Tavaris Tate to make his track debut at Mississippi State. When the Bulldogs begin the indoor season at the Kentucky Invitational this weekend, the collegiate wait will be over for Tate. Tate expects to participate in the 400 meters when he takes the track Saturday in Lexington, Ky.
The positive effect the University of Tennessee’s upset of top-ranked Kansas on Sunday had on the Southeastern Conference was obvious. As University of Kentucky coach John Calipari observed the events of the first SEC weekend unfold, he has no doubt the league is on the way back. Calipari spent his entire opening statement Monday on the SEC teleconference praising the Volunteers for their 76-68 victory against Kansas and spoke about the impact it has had in the conference.
A point guard can be a valuable piece to the puzzle for any basketball team. But when the starter isn’t there or not performing well, it can be disruptive on both ends of the court.
STARKVILLE — One time was enough for Sharon Fanning-Otis. The veteran Mississippi State women’s basketball coach has been a part of enough blowouts to know not to make too much of one game. But Fanning-Otis couldn’t help but be curious, so she decided to watch a replay of the Lady Bulldogs’ 75-48 loss to No. 4 Tennessee.
STARKVILLE — It has been four weeks since Carl Torbush left as Mississippi State defensive coordinator to take the same position on Turner Gill’s staff at Kansas University and coach Dan Mullen of the Bulldogs has been busy looking a replacement.
STARKVILLE — The news didn’t get any better for the Mississippi State women’s basketball team. MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis said Tuesday that senior guard/forward Tysheka Grimes will be out a couple of more weeks as she tries to get over a foot injury. Grimes has missed the Lady Bulldogs’ past three games. She is third on the team in scoring (11.5 points per game) and leads the team in rebounding (7-0).
It’s a good problem to have for Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy. Or is it? There are so many guards available for Kennedy this season that he’s had a hard time singling out three to four he can put on the court at one time. After Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice and Trevor Gaskins went down with knee injuries last season, it left Kennedy scrambling to find a productive guard to help emerging freshman Terrico White.
Coach Anthony Grant knows defense is a key to the style of basketball he wants to play at Alabama. That’s how the Crimson Tide opened the Southeastern Conference schedule with a 66-49 victory against LSU this past Saturday. With Alabama struggling to shoot the basketball, Grant said “our defense carried us.” The Crimson Tide shot only 45 percent (27 of 60) from the field, including 21 percent (3 of 14) from 3-point range.
CoCo Ware has high aspirations for the East Mississippi Community College men’s basketball team. The EMCC sophomore believes the Lions have the potential to have a season to remember. “If we keep playing the way we’re playing we will win the state and we will win the region and advance to the national tournament and compete for the national championship,” Ware said.
STARKVILLE -- Columbus High School girls basketball coach Yvonne Hairston wasn’t surprised to see a senior pull down the game-securing rebound. When Jessica Richardson came down with the rebound as the final buzzer sounded to give the Lady Falcons a 72-71 victory against Starkville High School, Hairston was happy to see the turn of events. Hairston has come to expect Richardson to be in the right place at the right time.
STARKVILLE — Everyone connected with the Mississippi State basketball team pretty much agreed Monday afternoon that they can’t worry about the University of Georgia until they deal with the University of Arkansas.
Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen now has two vacancies to fill on his defensive staff.
STARKVILLE — Too long. Too deep. Too good. Those factors were just some of the reasons why Sunday turned out to be an easier afternoon than expected for the No. 4 University of Tennessee women’s basketball team. Angie Bjorklund and Glory Johnson tied for team-high scoring honors with 16 points, and Tennessee used a smothering half-court defense that set the tone in a 75-48 victory against Mississippi State before a crowd of 5,787 at Humphrey Coliseum.
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.
Friday was an eventful day in the eligibility case of Mississippi State freshman basketball player Renardo Sidney, who hopes to still get a chance to play for the Bulldogs sometime this season. After Sidney’s attorney Donald Jackson came out with criticism of the MSU athletic department with the way it’s handled the investigation of his client to this point, the NCAA Eligibility Center sent out a notification of “statement of facts” in the case. The NCAA has been investigating Sidney’s status as an amateur athlete since he signed with Mississippi State on April 30, 2009, and everyone connected with the case believes the release of “statement of facts” was a positive move. The “statement of facts” spells out findings from the six-month investigation to indicate if there are any violations with Sidney.
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