U-G-L-Y. That is the only way to describe the first half of this game. Tennessee(9-4) rushed out to a 12 to nothing lead and followed that up by failing to score a point in the next nine minutes of the first half. One would believe or hope that MSU(7-7) could capitalize off of Tennessee's cold shooting, but the Bulldogs failed to score a point until the 14:55 mark of the first half and would end up trailing at the half 26-23.
Mississippi State actually held Tennessee to 17 made shots on 35% shooting, which statistically is pretty stellar defense. Unfortunately, more than half of those 17 made field goals came from behind the arc. The Vols hit 10 three pointers and it was just too much for the Bulldogs to overcome. Mississippi State has often struggled from three-point land this season but it is hard to win any game when you only hit on 11% of your three point attempts.
Tennessee's hot performance from behind the arc likely sealed the win but the Vols were assisted by State's inability to get the ball through the hoop. The Bulldogs only hit 11 field goals in the entire game. ELEVEN! Yes, the Bulldogs actually scored more points from the free throw line than they did from their field goals (23 points from the floor and 24 from the free throw line).
It was just a terrible game all around and the Bulldogs struggled with everything, even with what they usually do well in rebounding and free throw shooting. State was crushed on the boards 44-28 and allowed Tennessee to score 15 2nd chance points. Mississippi State closed out the final five minutes of the ball game without hitting a field goal and only made five shots the entire second half. The final score of the contest would be 61-47.
The Bulldogs are now rewarded with two very tough road trips to Florida and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs have not won an SEC road game since January 2013.
Next Up: @ Florida- Jan 10, 6 PM CST