The signature win coach Howland and the Mississippi State program has been looking for was within reach last night but missed foul shots and turnovers ultimately cost the Bulldogs the game as the Aggies left Starkville with the 61-60 win. The win moves Texas A&M to 12-2 on the season while the Bulldogs fall to 7-6. The game against A&M also held special significance for fans of Mississippi State as the school honored former coach Rick Stansbury, currently an assistant for Texas A&M, for his contributions to the program. Stansbury remains the all-time winningest coach in Mississippi State history.
Rebounding continues to haunt Mississippi State. A&M collected 20 offensive rebounds and found a way to capitalize on their second chance opportunities. Missing one of their star players, Danuel House, A&M struggled to find a groove on the offensive side of the ball but the Aggies' dominance on the backboards combined with 14 Mississippi State turnovers allowed A&M to overcome their 31% shooting performance.
Gavin Ware and Malik Newman continued to set the pace for State, scoring a combined 29 points. Ware's 15 points and 14 rebounds gave the Senior his fourth double-double of the season. Freshman Quandary Weatherspoon also had a good game off the bench giving some much needed rest to the starters and contributing 12 points while on the floor.
The absence of A&M Star Danuel House was evident in the opening minutes of the first half as the Aggies looked out of sorts on the floor. The Bulldogs took advantage of the chaos early building a 21-13 lead before A&M started to click to take a 28-25 lead into the half.
The game continued to be a back and forth affair in the second half with the lead never getting out of reach for either team. A Craig Sword turnover with 6 seconds left put A&M on the free throw line where Admon Gilder put the game away for the Aggies. The 61-60 loss will hurt for a while because the Bulldogs had a legitimate opportunity to knock off a top 25 opponent but today is a new day and State can't let one loss turn into two.
MSU heads on the road for a big game against floundering Arkansas this Saturday. Everyone can catch the game at 2:30 on the SEC Network.