CHICAGO – A difficult ending to the first half did in the Mississippi State men’s basketball team Saturday night.
The Bulldogs went more than five minutes without scoring late in that half. Homestanding Loyola scored 20 straight points during that stretch. This spurt allowed the Ramblers to erase an early deficit in a 59-51 victory over the Bulldogs at Gentile Arena.
The teams were playing 50 years after a historic meeting between the two universities in the 1963 NCAA Tournament. For the Bulldogs, it was their first NCAA tournament game, as the 1963 Bulldogs defied a state injunction and snuck out of town to play in East Lansing, Mich.
Several players who played during the 1963 contest were on hand for Saturday night’s contest. Pregame and halftime ceremonies included several dignitaries, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.
Loyola (7-3) trailed 17-14 before scoring 20 straight points to remove all doubt from the contest. The Ramblers led 34-20 at halftime and did not lead by less than eight points in the game’s final half.
“In every game, we have a situation where we don’t score the basketball,” MSU head coach Rick Ray said. “Our guys are young and inexperienced; they don’t know how to grind through that. We are doing some things well defensively. However, we don’t know what we need to do to grind through those offensive problems.”
MSU (3-6) scored the game’s first six points. Loyola went the first five minutes of the contest without scoring. The Ramblers finally broke the ice and scored four straight points. Thanks to a couple of 3-point baskets by Fred Thomas, the Bulldogs built a 12-7 lead and later held their last lead at 17-14.
“We had two guys in foul trouble in the first half and that puts us in a bind with our depth,” Ray said. “You don’t want to risk a player getting a third foul, but we don’t have options. We are shooting the ball so poorly right now. We need our guys to have a little more confidence.”
The Bulldogs closed within 11 in the early stages of the second half but could not close within single digits until Tyson Cunningham rammed home a 3-point basket in the closing seconds.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 18 of 48 shots from the field (37.5 percent), 5 of 17 shots from 3-point range (29.4 percent) and 10 of 16 shots from the foul line (62.5 percent). The Ramblers hit 21 of 51 shots from the field (41.2 percent), 8 of 18 shots from 3-point range (44.4 percent) and 9 of 14 shots from the foul line (64.3 percent).
Loyola held a 40-28 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs had seven assists and 15 turnovers, while the Ramblers had 13 assists and 16 turnovers.
Fred Thomas led MSU with 14 points. Roquez Johnson added 13 points, including a 7-of-8 night at the free throw line. Colin Borchet and Gavin Ware each had five rebounds. The Bulldogs had a season-high eight blocked shots, including five from Gavin Ware.
Devon Turk led Loyola with 21 points. Turk scored 18 points in the opening half, including four 3-point baskets. Christian Thomas added 16 points.
MSU returns to action at Saturday for a contest with Central Arkansas. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson.
- (PHOTOS) Newton County Class 4A State Championship Slideshow from games one and two of the MHSAA Class 4A State Championship.
Not done yet
After being shutout less than 24 hours earlier, the Newton County Cougars used a 10-inning affair to force a Game 3 in the Class 4A championship series, topping Lewisburg, 2-1, in Game 2 at Trustmark Park.
Hollins focused on Spurs, not his contract
Lionel Hollins has been more successful than any Grizzlies coach and will be a free agent after June 30.
He has the Grizzlies in the Western Conference finals for the first time and has won more games with this team than any other coach.
Slive focused on future after big changes
Mike Slive sprawls in a comfy arm chair, propping his feet on a coffee table between one massive tome on Winston Churchill and an even thicker "Encyclopedia of Southern Culture."
He's relaxed and feeling awfully good about the state of the Southeastern Conference.
It's a rare moment of calm for the SEC's cerebral commissioner, but he can afford it since his "A pile" of things to do has gotten considerably slimmer over the past two years.
’Bama bounces Ole Miss from SEC Tourney
For the second day in a row, the Rebels went into extra-innings but were unable to emerge with the victory as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-22) fell to Alabama (34-25) 7-5 in 10 innings at the SEC Tournament on Thursday.
With the loss, the Rebels were eliminated from the SEC Tournament and will now await NCAA Tournament selection announcements at 11 a.m. on Monday. The selection of the NCAA Tournament field will be televised by ESPNU.
Tanner Bailey (4-2) suffered the loss for the Rebels, allowing two runs on one hit with two walks in 2.1 innings of work.
Roy shows big-league talent in win
Every youth leaguer dreams of being a Major League Baseball player. In Tuesday's Cardinals-Mets game, 8-year-old Trace Roy swung the bat and flashed some leather that looked like a glimpse into the future.
Cougars fall in Game 1
A sixth inning rally by Lewisburg handed the Newton County Cougars their first lost of the postseason, 2-0, in Game 1 of the Class 4A baseball championship at Trustmark Park.
Bulldogs win again, beat S. Carolina in SEC Tournament
Demarcus Henderson and Wes Rea both had RBI singles in the ninth inning to lift Mississippi State to a 5-3 win over South Carolina Wednesday night in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament.
The Bulldogs (42-16) loaded the bases with one out before Henderson and Rea drove in runs on consecutive at-bats for the second time in the game.
Mississippi State had beaten Missouri 2-1 in 17 innings Tuesday night, matching the longest game in SEC tournament history.
Reliever Myles Gentry (4-0) limited the Gamecocks (39-17) to a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth.
Gentry pitched 5-2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits while striking out eight.
Rea was 3 for 4 while Henderson drove in three runs.
Mississippi State led 3-0 before South Carolina tied it up in the fourth.
Max Schrock drew a bases loaded walk and Brison Celek followed with a two-run single.
Hogs top Ole Miss in SEC Tournament
For the second time this season the Rebels played an extra-inning affair with the Razorbacks, but with a different outcome as No. 21 Ole Miss (37-21) fell to No. 15 Arkansas (36-19) 2-1 in 10 innings on Wednesday.
Fundamentals leading Newton County to Jackson
In 2006, Newton County baseball won the 3A state title. Since then, they've moved up a class but haven't had much luck – until now.
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