One week ago from today, the Mississippi State Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team was just looking for answers. In their first game without Quinndary Weatherspoon in what was supposed to be a season ending injury, the Bulldogs were embarrassed on their home court by Lehigh, losing 87-73. They followed that woeful performance up with a nearly equally concerning win over Northwestern State Demons 65-59, a game in which Lamar Peters missed because he overslept in his dorm room. The team was looking for answers, and there weren’t a lot of places to find them.
But stirring beneath the surface of the disappointing play was the one thing this team needed. Mississippi State looked lost without their best player on the court. They needed him badly, and the rumors were floating around he might be able to play after all.
When Thursday’s game against the Oregon State Beavers rolled around, the decision was made to play Quinndary Weatherspoon. He was going to put off surgery on his injured wrist because he was told no further damage could be done to it. And his return has sparked some of the best basketball played by the Bulldogs since midway through the 2011-2012 season.
Weatherspoon returned in a big way. He hit 6-7 from the field, 4-5 form three point range and had 4 rebounds and four steals in a 74-57 thumping of the Beavers. His presence allowed the rest of the team to shine on Saturday against a decent Georgia State team. Weatherspoon was only 5-12 from the field and 2-8 from three point range, but the rest of the team stepped up.
Mario Kegler had his best game as a Bulldog hitting 6-8 from the field and 4-8 from three point range and scored 16 total points. I.J. Ready put up 11 points and 5 assists without any turnovers. But the real star on Sunday was the man who overslept on Monday.
Lamar Peters broke out in a big way. He was 9-12 from the field, 6-9 from three point range, scored 24 points, grabbed six rebounds, and added 4 assists while only committing one turnover. When people began to question his heart and motivation after the oversleeping incident on Monday, he showed that he is committed to being the best player he can for this team on Sunday.
This team is still going to have some ups and downs. That’s part of what comes with playing so many young players. But the last two games proved that the Bulldogs can be a great team at times, and that despite the two performances without Weatherspoon, the sky is still the limit for this team.