Well, that wasn't expected.
The Ben Howland era started off on a blazing start with a 106-88 victory over defending Big Sky champions Eastern Washington Friday night, before stumbling to Southern University on Monday, 76-72.
Craig Sword led the way for the Bulldogs with 16 points. Gavin Ware also had a solid showing for the Maroon and White, producing 13 points.
The main problem in this one for Mississippi State was turnovers. The Bulldogs turned it over 19 times, compared to just 8 for Southern. Late in the game, Mississippi State seemed inept in clutch situations. Malik Newman missed two free throws to tie the game with less than a minute left, I.J Ready missed a layup and a jumper to tie; MSU just couldn't get anything going in the last minute of the ballgame.
In addition, Mississippi State was ice cold from the free throw line, making 15 of 23 shots, which is 65.2%. The last problem for the Bulldogs was foul trouble. Gavin Ware and Craig Sword both fouled out towards the end of the game, which proved costly for Mississippi State.
As mentioned, Malik Newman did find playing time but wasn't very effective, going 2-8 from the field and 1-5 from behind the arc for 6 points. In addition, he struggled from the free throw stripe, making just 1 of his 6 shots, and he committed 4 turnovers.
After this loss, Mississippi State falls to 1-1 on the year and looks to rebound in Puerto Rico against Miami at 4 PM CT on ESPN2.