The Mississippi State University men's basketball team chomped the visiting Florida Gators on Saturday at the Humphrey Coliseum. The Bulldogs put in an excellent performance in their 72-69 win over the Gators, pushing themselves to an impressive 9-5 overall record this season or a 4-2 record in SEC conference play. In the last three meetings between the Bulldogs and Gators, the Bulldogs have reigned supreme with a 3-0 record. According to the MSU Athletics website, This streak has not been achieved since the 1982-1983 basketball season.
As time expired on the clock, the Gators were in possession of the ball. Their shooting guard, Tre Mann, was able to get one final shot. Fortunately, the shot was an air ball, solidifying the win for MSU.
The Bulldogs had a stellar outing at Saturday's game which consisted of an impressive field goal percentage as well as out-scoring Florida in the paint. The Bulldogs' field goal percentage was 48.3 from the floor, which was an improvement from the 41.1 field goal percentage in the loss earlier in the week to Texas A&M. In Saturday's game against the Gators, key Bulldog players such as Tolu Smith and Abdul Ado helped contribute to MSU out-scoring Florida 52-28.
Following the game, MSU Head Coach Ben Howland had some positive remarks in regards to the team's performance and the outcome of the game.
"The push to start the second half, to just take it right to them multiple times in a row — I think we scored three times in a row if I'm not mistaken, which was really huge for us and got us out to a great start in the second half, just the opposite of what we had in our last game."
Redshirt sophomore Tolu Smith had a career high double-double in Saturday's game with 27 points and 14 rebounds as well as scoring 11 of his 13 field goal attempts.
"I went out there and played with confidence and played as hard as I could today," Smith said. "Coach Howland emphasized to work as hard as we could to go out there and get this win today."
MSU's center Abdul Ado played excellent defense in this game and commented on how the Bulldogs were able to prevent the Gators from scoring.
"It honestly is a team effort," Ado said. "The coaches watched a lot of film, and so did we. We didn't want them to come out today and already establish themselves early in the game, so we talked as a team and made a team effort to stop them in the beginning."
With the Bulldogs having a 9-5 record at this point in the season, they have a good chance of taking a spot in the NCAA tournament. If they can keep up their good work, the men's basketball team is in for a bright rest of the season here at Mississippi State University.