In front of the largest home crowd since 2012, Mississippi State stormed back from a ten point second half deficit to defeat the Eastern Washington Eagles. After trailing 51-48 at the half, the Eagles came out on fire, building on their lead and sending a brief moment of fear into the Bulldog fanbase. A late rally and 20-0 run in the second half finally restored order in the Hump. Coach Howland knew before the game that the Bulldogs were in for quite a battle. Eastern Washington is no push over and if the Bulldogs are in the conversation for a post-season tournament this 106-88 win will certainly look nice on the resume.
One day into the season and the Bulldogs have already surpassed their highest point total from last season. The offensive mind of Ben Howland has always been highly regarded and it has already made a clear impact on the players. Shooting 62.1% as a team, five players left the court Friday night as double digit scorers. Despite the loss of Malik Newman, the Bulldogs found answers with veterans Gavin Ware and I.J. Ready. While three point shooting continues to be a concern, the 51 points contributed by Ready and Ware set the pace of the entire team.
As one of the obvious stars of the game, can Gavin Ware continue to dominate the inside? With 13 rebounds and 26 points, Ware must continue to make his prescience known in the paint for the Bulldogs to have continued success. Last season, after falling in a late hole, the Bulldogs always seemed to fall apart. However, Friday night was different. It didn't matter if Mississippi State was up 8 or down 10, there was a constant confidence in the eyes of the players.
Don't fret about early season mishaps and early deficits, this team has a lot of energy and passion.Look around the College Basketball landscape, the opening night of the season was not so friendly to more well-known programs. Monmouth took down UCLA at Pauley Pavilion & the Badgers of Wisconsin fell to Western Illinois. A win is a win and this was an important one for the Bulldogs. Fans need to take this season one game at a time and just enjoy the growth of the team throughout the season.
Next on the Schedule:Southern University, The Hump @ 7 P.M.
Mississippi State Bulldogs Record: (1-0)