LSU (11-7) at Mississippi State (7-12)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 5:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Humphrey Coliseum (10,500) -- Starkville, Mississippi. Television: FSN. Home Record: LSU 10-2, MSU 5-4. Away Record: LSU 1-5, MSU 1-5. Neutral Record: LSU 0-0, MSU 1-3. Conference Record: LSU 2-5, MSU 2-5. Series Record: LSU leads, 105-97.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off a win over nationally-ranked Missouri earlier this week, the LSU Tigers will try to build upon that momentum on Saturday afternoon, as they challenge the Mississippi State Bulldogs in SEC action from Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville.
LSU took down Missouri at home on Wednesday night, 73-70, for just its second SEC victory in seven tries. LSU has used an impressive record in Baton Rouge (10-2) to catapult it to an 11-7 overall mark, but its luck on the road has come few and far between with just one win in six opportunities.
On the heels of a season-long, three-game win streak earlier this month, Mississippi State has since plummeted in the conference standings with five straight losses to fall to 7-12 overall and 2-5 in league play. The Bulldogs most recently hosted Texas A&M on Wednesday night, a game in which they squandered a double-digit halftime lead to lose 55-49 in overtime.
With regard to the all-time series between these two, LSU is clinging to a 105-97 advantage. The teams split the season series in 2011-12, with each winning at home.
The Tigers had one of their best shooting nights of the season against Missouri, making 55.6 percent of their field goal attempts, and while they saw their 16-point second-half lead shrink to just two in the final minute, they were able to hold on for the surprising victory. Anthony Hickey scored 20 points and handed out four assists, Andre Stringer shot 4-of-5 from 3-point range on his way to 18 points, and Johnny O'Bryant tallied 14 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth straight double-double. On the season, Hickey is the team's leading scorer with 12.4 ppg, and he also dishes out 3.6 apg, but his biggest asset in his ability to jump the passing lanes as he leads the nation with 3.7 spg. Shavon Coleman (11.9 ppg), O'Bryant III (11.9 ppg), Stringer (11.2 ppg) and Charles Carmouche (9.3 ppg) bring balance to an offense that generates 72.0 ppg. O'Bryant III and Coleman are also strong in the low post with 8.3 and 7.2 rpg, respectively.
Mississippi State saw its double-digit lead disappear on Wednesday night and found itself down by three in the final minute before Craig Sword drained a 3- pointer to force overtime. Unfortunately, it came up short in the extra session by shooting just 1-of-6 from the floor. The Bulldogs' offensive struggles lasted throughout the game, as they made only 16-of-40 field goal attempts while committing a whopping 24 turnovers. Gavin Ware netted 14 points in the setback, while Colin Borchert had 10 points and five rebounds. MSU has become accustomed to lackluster efforts at the offensive end this season, as it scores a mere 60.6 ppg while ranking last in the league in both field goal percentage (.403) and 3-point field goal percentage (.289). Fred Thomas is the only player to average double figures for the season with his 10.6 ppg, although Roquez Johnson (9.6 ppg), Sword (9.5 ppg) and Jalen Steele (9.4 ppg) are all on the doorstep. Ware (8.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg, .531 FG percentage) is the only regular with a field goal percentage over .400.
Despite LSU's road woes this season, it simply boasts more scoring talent than do the Bulldogs. MSU has proven to be feisty, so a real fight is to be expected, but figure the Tigers to come out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 71, Mississippi State 65
02/02 10:44:39 ET