Carrying on a winning streak, the Mississippi State University Men's Basketball Team maintained momentum in a game against the University of New Orleans Privateers on Sunday afternoon in the Humphrey Coliseum.
The first half was back and forth as both teams were only separated by two points during the opening 12 minutes and 10 seconds. The Bulldogs finally took control of the game in the final eight minutes of the first half. This carried over into the second half of the game when the Bulldogs scored 44 points and finished out with a 23 point lead over the University of New Orleans Privateers. The Bulldogs went on to secure a win, defeating the Privateers 82-59.
The game started out slow with no one scoring within the first two minutes. This was due to strong defensive efforts from both teams. The first field goal of the night was scored by MSU’s Reggie Perry.
The game was back and forth during the first half. After the second timeout, the score was 13-13, but the Bulldogs picked up their energy and pulled ahead for the remainder.
During the first half, the Privateers' Bryson Robinson scored eight points followed by Troy Green who scored seven points. The Bulldogs' key players during the first half were Robert Woodard II, scoring 15 points followed by Reggie Perry who scored seven points. The Bulldogs ended the first half of the game with a 10 point lead and a score of 38-28.
The Bulldogs came out fighting during the second half, scoring a total of 44 points against the Privateers' 31 points. During the first five minutes of the second half, Tyson Carter and Robert Woodard II both scored two points. By the first timeout, MSU increased its lead by 20 points, with the score hitting 52-32.
The defensive sides of both teams seemed to tire out during the second half. Because of the Bulldogs' lead over the Privateers, Howland substituted in many players who have not yet played on the court this season.
During the last few seconds of the game, MSU’s Iverson Molinar scored two points. The Bulldog's ended the game with a 23 point lead over the UNO Privateers, taking the win 82-59.
The Privateers’ Head Coach Mark Slessinger spoke highly of Howland and MSU.
“Coach Howland has done a great job of putting together a roster that plays to their strengths not just their offensive skill set,” Slessinger said. "He is one of the best defensive coaches in the country. I think the roster really fits and plays into that very well."
Robert Woodard II, a sophomore guard from Columbus, broke many of his own records during this game. He had his first career double-double and his career-high in points and rebounds during this game. He scored 21 points overall and had 16 rebounds.
“It’s just a matter of playing hard,” Woodard II said.
Howland said it is just the beginning for Woodard II, believing he can continue to play at such a high level.
"This is just the beginning for him [Woodard II]. He is going to have a lot of big nights in his career as a Bulldog," Howland said. "This is just scratching the surface. I think it is great for him. His confidence has to be swelling right now. It is all about how hard he works."
The reason Woodard plays well is because of the amount of effort he has put in on and off the court during the months leading up to the season, Howland said.
"He has paid the price to be this good," Howland said. "He worked so hard in the spring, the summer and this fall. He has a tremendous work ethic and I couldn’t be happier for the guy.”
The next game for the Bulldogs will be against Tulane this Thursday at the Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, South Carolina. This will be their first time on the road this season. This comes after their four-game stretch at home, which they finished today by being 4-0.
“We expect to win every game we play,” Howland said. “Every night that we step on the floor, we are expecting to win.”