MSU found themselves behind after a couple of early scoring droughts in the first 15 minutes and could not recover against Texas (3-2) in the 7th place game of the 2012 EA Sports Maui Invitational. One example; MSU finished the first half only hitting one field goal out of 17.
State shot an atrocious 22% from the floor in the first half against the Longhorns; 5-23 overall, 2-6 behind the arc, and 8-14 from the free throw line. Texas, on the other hand, shot 60% overall and whopping 64% from 3-point land. State was also out-rebounded by a margin of four at the break.
Mississippi State did come out of the locker room after the half hitting their first four of seven shots but could not defend without being out-rebounded and fouling. Offensive runs also continued for Texas throughout most of the second half. MSU was paced by Roquez Johnson with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and one assist. Freshman Fred Thomas had 10 points, 2 rebounds, and 4 assists. All Bulldogs saw minutes, and everyone scored except for Baxter Price. Texas was led by Sheldon McClellan with 19 points and 5 rebounds. State finished the game shooting 33% from the floor, Texas went 50%. Texas out-rebounded MSU 41-32. Texas also saw a big advantage in bench points, 26-13.
Hustle does look very, very promising with this short-handed team. Rick Ray and his staff are definitely implementing their defensive standards. Fatigue and lack of depth took a huge toll on the Bulldogs over three days in Hawaii.
Rick Ray's Bulldogs will return to The Hump next Tuesday when they host in-state opponent Alcorn State at 7 p.m.
Stay positive, Bulldog faithful. This team has many bright spots. Do yourself a favor and support them Tuesday.