Five things to know about MSU-Georgia State

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, December 15, 2021

STARKVILLE – Mississippi State begins a three-game sequence over the eight days before heading into SEC play as the Bulldogs welcome Georgia State on Tuesday evening to Humphrey Coliseum.
The Bulldogs (6-3) will look to snap a two-game losing streak after dropping back-to-back decisions by a combined eight points to one-loss Minnesota along with undefeated and No. 23 Colorado State.
Georgia State (5-3), the preseason Sun Belt Conference favorite, has won its last two decisions against SEC opponents. The Panthers defeated Georgia and Alabama during the 2018-19 season.
Fans can purchase $1 general admission tickets in advance of Tuesday’s game online only at www.HailState.com/tickets. Friday’s matchup marks “Christmas At The Hump” where fans can receive a free general admission ticket by wearing an ugly Christmas sweater to the game.
The Matchup: Mississippi State (6-3, 0-0 SEC) vs. Georgia State (5-3, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Where: Starkville, Mississippi – Humphrey Coliseum
When: Wednesday, December 14, 7:00 p.m. CT
Live Stats: StatBroadcast (https://hailst.at/MBKLiveStats)

Stream: SEC Network+ (Watch ESPN App Only)
Talent: Bart Gregory, Charlie Winfield
Online: Watch ESPN App (Cable Subscription Required)
(https://hailst.at/WatchESPN)

Radio: Mississippi State Sports Network – Powered by Learfield IMG College
Talent: Neil Price, Richard Williams
Affiliates: WKBB-FM 100.9 Starkville/West Point (Full List: https://hailst.at/MBKAffiliates)
Free Online Audio: Hail State Plus (https://hailst.at/MBKListen); The Varsity Network App
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE
1. Heading into this week’s action, Mississippi State holds top four marks on the SEC leaderboard in rebounding margin (+11.6 – 2nd), offensive rebounding percentage (37.1 – 2nd), defensive rebounding percentage (78.3 – 2nd), three-point field goal percentage (34.9 – 3rd), field goal percentage (46.2 – 4th).
and free throw percentage (72.3 – 4th) .

The +11.6 rebounding margin also is seventh nationally. The Bulldogs have rated among the nation’s top 20 in rebounding margin during each of the last three seasons.

2. Mississippi State’s coaching staff led by Ben Howland along with assistant coaches George Brooks, Korey McCray and Ernie Zeigler are in their seventh season together in Starkville during the 2021-22 season. The Bulldogs coaching quartet is second-longest tenured group at the Power 5 level only behind the West Virginia staff, who is entering its 10th season under Bob Huggins.

3. Mississippi State had four players secure double figures for the fifth time in 2021-22, but the Bulldogs dropped a 66-63 decision to unbeaten and newly-ranked No. 23 Colorado State on Saturday. The Rams used a 17-2 late in the second half to erase an eight-point MSU advantage.

Garrison Brooks came away with a team-leading 15 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Javian Davis provided a MSU career-high 13 points sparked by a 7-for-8 effort at the foul line off the bench.

MSU’s starting backcourt of Iverson Molinar and Shakeel Moore combined for 24 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals.

4. Iverson Molinar is one of four SEC players to score in double figures during every one of his team’s games this season. The list includes fellow All-SEC Preseason First-Team picks in JD Notae (Arkansas) and Jaden Shackelford (Alabama) along with Jarkel Joiner (Ole Miss).

Molinar is the only SEC player to rank among the league’s top 5 in points (16.6 – 5th) and assists (4.9 – Tied for 3rd). He is one of five Power 5 players to be ranked among his conferences top five in both categories. The list includes Terrell Brown Jr. (Washington – Pac 12), Mike Miles Jr. (TCU – Big 12), Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke – ACC) and Alondes Williams (Wake Forest – ACC).

He has pumped home at least 15 points and five assists on five occassions. Molinar’s 3.67 assist-to-turnover ratio is second on the SEC leaderboard. The Panama native tops the SEC with a 94.1 free throw percentage.

5. Mississippi State’s transfer class of Garrison Brooks, D.J. Jeffries, Shakeel Moore and Rocket Watts has amassed 2,698 career points and 124 career games in double figures. Their teams have posted a combined 89-35 record when providing 10-plus points headed by Jeffries’ 25-5 and Watts’ 17-2 marks, respectively.

Brooks holds the top spot among SEC active players with 862 career rebounds and sits sixth among SEC’s active players with 1,379 career points. Moore has posted 2.3 steals per game, which checks in third in the SEC rankings.

FROM THE LOCKER ROOM – HEAD COACH BEN HOWLAND
“Having good balance and having multiple guys in double figures is always a sign you’re a good team. We’ve got multiple, and it can be different guys each game. Last game, it was JD [Javian Davis] who had 13 points and Garrison [Brooks] who had three 3-pointers in the first half and looked good. I thought Shak [Shakeel Moore] played well with 14 … Every play matters. When you play at the highest level, you see that more and more. We just made too many mistakes.”

“As of right now, we wouldn’t be a [NCAA] Tournament team. The good news for us is that we have 10 games in conference coming up that are quad-one games against good teams. I explained to our guys that we’re right there. We had a chance after being down 14 against Minnesota and had an eight-point lead over Colorado State with six minutes to go. We’re not far away. We just have to keep grinding away and hopefully stay healthy.”

“Right now, we need to take care of our business against Georgia State. We can’t afford to lose that game, but it is also a good win. They’re a great team and will win their conference again this year. That’s why we’re playing them. They’re picked to win their league and will be in the NCAA tournament. We’ve just got to take them out.”

“Georgia State is an older team. Last year, they won the Sun Belt title in the regular season. They are very well-coached. Rob Lanier was at Tennessee and helped Rick Barnes build that program for three years before coming to Georgia State. He’s a very good coach and is very experienced.”

“They definitely are an older team including some guys who are fifth-year and sixth-year seniors. Their three guards are all very involved and can all shoot. [Justin] Roberts, [Kane] Williams and [Corey] Allen are all averaging 15 points a game. All three of those guys are excellent scorers. They also are very adaptive and can come off the bench. Nelson [Phillips] is an example of another great shooter off the bench. They’re a team that’s coming in to try and get the win on the road. They’re very talented.”

SERIES HISTORY
Mississippi State and Georgia State will meet for the fourth time during the 2000s. The Bulldogs have won the previous three matchups by an average of 18.3 points per contest.

The last meeting was an 82-60 victory during Ben Howland’s second season in 2016-17 where Lamar Peters poured in 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Peters drained six treys, grabbed six rebounds and dished out four assists. Quinndary Weatherspoon chipped in 14 points and four steals for the Maroon and White.

KNOW YOUR OPPONENT
The Panthers had three players represented on the Sun Belt All-Preseason Teams. Corey Allen as named to the first team, while Eliel Nsoseme and Kane Williams garnered second team accolades.

Justin Roberts (16.9 PPG, 1.9 APG, 1.7 SPG), Allen (15.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.4 SPG) and Williams (15.0 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 4.3 APG, 2.0 SPG) have combined for 17 games in double figures, headed by six efforts of 20-plus points.

Evan Johnson (7.6 PPG) is the team’s top performer off the bench and has provided three games with double-digit points.

Georgia State ranks in the nation’s top 35 in turnovers forced per game (18.12 – 16th), turnover margin (+5.2 – 17th) and steals per game (9.4 – 34th).

UP NEXT
Mississippi State takes on Furman on Friday to continue its stretch of three games in eight days leading into its holiday break before SEC action. Tip time is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT, televised nationally by SEC Network and available online via the Watch ESPN app.

Visit www.HailState.com for the latest news and information on the men’s basketball program. Fans also can follow the program on its social media outlets by searching ‘HailStateMBK’ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.