After a slow start Monday night, the Bulldogs picked up the pace in the second half and sent Jackson State back down the road to enjoy the rest of their spring break.
Jarvis Varnado came away with another double-double, his 18th on the season and his 33rd for the career. He led the team with 21 points and had 11 rebounds. He only had 3 blocks, but that was to be expected against JSU who tends to play a small, fast set of players and doesn't really have an inside game for him to match up against.
Dee Bost had 18 points, six assists, and a wake up shot to the groin. About 5 minutes into the second half, JSU's Phillip Williams delivered a low blow on Bost and was subsequently ejected. After that, Bost went on a 7-point run and the Bulldogs never looked back.
Despite the loss, Garrison Johnson showed why he was the SWAC player of the year, finishing the night with 32 points.
The Bulldogs came out really slow tonight. You could tell they were still pretty much drained from the grueling schedule of the SEC Tournament in Nashville - a fact that Joe Dean, Jr. made sure to remind us of throughout the night.
State's second round opponent will be the North Carolina Tar Heels. UNC is playing in the NIT just a year after winning the NCAA Tournament. They have never visited Starkville or The Hump but hold a shut-out record over the Bulldogs of 4-0. The Tar Heels defeated William & Mary 80-72 in their first round game.
We will have a preview of that game coming up later in the week. Tip-off is scheduled for 11am at The Hump. Hopefully many of the students will make it back to town early and really pump up the atmosphere for this game.