Dec 19, 2013; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs head coach Rick Ray talks to forward Roquez Johnson (25) during the game against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles at Humphrey Coliseum. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat Florida Gulf Coast Eagles 66-53. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Dawgs Lose to UNLV in Las Vegas Classic

A large heap of optimism surrounded this MSU team after they were able to beat South Florida on Sunday night, but in their toughest game to date they fell a good bit short, losing to UNLV 82-66. Now maybe a little optimism will fade, but it really shouldn’t.

This was a measuring stick game before SEC play starts, and it showed that the Bulldogs still have plenty of work to do. Still, they are 9-3 and their improvements this year are nothing to scoff at. They’ve positioned themselves for success this year (a chance to go to the NIT).

Craig Sword was back to leading the way in scoring with 18 points. I.J. Ready did not have a very good game offensively with just one assist and 0 points.

To add insult to injury (loss), former MSU guard Deville Smith was named MVP of the Las Vegas Classic. Prior to these couple of games he was averaging just a couple of buckets per game, but he stepped it up…scoring 15 in this game.

State will go home for Christmas and be back at the Hump on January 2nd to play Maryland-Eastern Shore. I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest we should win that game (who has heard of them?). It will be the last non-conference game of the year before kicking off the SEC schedule with Kentucky on January 8th. We’ll dive more into basketball on M&WN around that time as conference play in underway and football is in the books.

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