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Mississippi State men’s basketball looks to bounce back against Florida

Tip time is slated for 3 p.m. CT.

NCAA Basketball: Texas A&M at Mississippi State Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

STARKVILLE, Miss. — After falling to Texas A&M on Wednesday, the Mississippi State men’s basketball team looks to bounce back against the Florida Gators on Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum. Tip time is slated for 3 p.m. CT and will air on ESPN2.

Last time out, Mississippi State (8-5, 3-2 SEC) led Texas A&M by six points inside five minutes remaining and had the ball on the final possession of the game, but the Bulldogs turned the ball over and ultimately dropped the contest 56-55.

Sophomore guard Iverson Molinar finished with a team-high 16 points and was the only Bulldog to finish in double figures. Redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. and redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith added nine and eight points, respectively. Smith led the Bulldogs with six rebounds.

Molinar leads MSU with 18.9 points per game, while Stewart is second with 17.8. Smith is averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 8.5 rebounds.

The Bulldogs are 5-0 when they turn the ball over 12 times or fewer and 3-5 when they exceed 12 turnovers.

Florida (6-3, 3-2 SEC) is coming off Tuesday’s 72-63 comeback win over Ole Miss. The Gators erased a nine-point deficit behind a 20-2 run over the final 6:15, including the last 14 points of the game.

Sophomore guard Tre Mann has averaged 14.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists through nine games. Junior forward Colin Castleton has put up 12.2 points and 5.6 rebounds. Castleton has exploded for three 20-point performances over his five Southeastern Conference outings. Florida will be without sophomore guard Scottie Lewis, who is averaging 11.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, due to health and safety protocols.

The Gators are 6-0 when they score at least 72 points and are 0-3 on the year when falling short of 72.

Saturday is the 117th meeting between the two programs on the hardwood. Florida owns a 65-51 overall advantage, but the Bulldogs have won each of the last two meetings after an eight-game winning streak by the Gators. Last season, the Bulldogs came from behind to claim a 78-71 victory at the O’Dome.