Mississippi State, a team playing with just 6 healthy scholarship players, was unable to overcome an ice-cold shooting streak in the first half, as the Bulldogs dropped the 50th anniversary of the "Game of Change" to the Loyola of Chicago Ramblers Saturday night, 59-51.
MSU started the game with four freshman - Gavin Ware, Trivante Bloodman, Fred Thomas, Craig Sword - along with Roquez Johnson. The Bulldogs were playing their first game without yet another major contributor, Wendell Lewis, who went down earlier in the week with a fractured patella. Although State got out to a good start early, they went completely cold on the offensive end at the end of the first half, as the Ramblers would take a commanding 34-20 lead into the half.
In the second half, the maroon and white found more of a rhythm, but it proved to be too little too late, as the Ramblers held on for an eight point victory.
MSU was led by freshman "Flat Top" Fred Thomas, who finished with 14 points. Roquez Johnson chipped in 13 points, while Starkville native Gavin Ware added eight points.
The Ramblers were led in scoring by Devon Turk, who poured in 21 points in just 24 minutes of play.
You can view full stats here.
The win lifted Loyola of Chicago to 7-3 on the season, while MSU fell to 3-6.
The game was played this season to recognize the 50th anniversary of the "Game of Change": a contest pitting the Ramblers and Bulldogs in the 1963 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs - an all-white team at the time -, under the cover of night, sneaked out of Starkville to play the Ramblers, who were a predominantly African-American team at that time. The State of Mississippi had been granted an injunction to block the Bulldogs from attending the contest, but coach Babe McCarthy and the team made it anyways. The game is considered to be one of the major milestones in race-relations and the integration movement taking place in the 1960's. Although we haven't seen any video of the halftime festivities commemorating the event, we will post it here should it turn up.
The Bulldogs will take the week off from games and return to the court next Saturday as they take on Central Arkansas at 2p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.