January 16, 2013

Bulldogs exceeding expectations

It was written a few weeks ago that Mississippi State was the worst major conference basketball team in the country.

At that time the Bulldogs were 4-7 with blowout losses to North Carolina, Marquette and Texas as well as defeats to Troy and Alabama A&M. But MSU has been able to turn things around since the new year began with three-straight wins and starting off Southeastern Conference play undefeated.

The 2-0 start in the SEC has given Rick Ray's young Bulldog squad some confidence as they head into the second week of league play.

"Guys feel really good about themselves because as much as you say kids don't pay attention to the media, the internet and things like that, they know they've been picked last in the SEC or seen that we're not going to win an SEC ballgame or win five games for the whole season," Ray said. "There's a lot of satisfaction on their part starting out in the SEC season and getting those two wins. It makes those guys feel good about themselves and what we're doing here."

State began 2013 with a 97-46 win over New Orleans before knocking off South Carolina 56-54 at home last Wednesday and earned their first road victory of the year at Georgia over the weekend 72-61. It is the first winning streak for the Bulldogs this season.

"For our guys to continue to fight and find a way is really a tribute to our kids toughness persevering through a lot of different things," Ray said. "I'm happy with the way our guys are playing."

After having its 262 game streak with a 3-point shot made snapped against South Carolina, the Bulldogs answered with nine against UGA. Junior shooting guard Jalen Steele was responsible for four of those treys while scoring a career-high 21 points.

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