Well there’s not much to say about this game. Lack of an effective defense in the second half, and the inability of the Bulldogs to score points were their ultimate downfall. The Mississippi State vs Tulane match up wasn’t necessarily meant to be a close game for the Bulldogs. However, this loss extends now a 18-game road losing streak. The Bulldogs came into this game 5-1 after a Corpus Christi loss to TCU. Expectations were high for the Bulldogs as they hoped to rebound after the crushing loss. Rick Ray will need to light a fire under this team again, as the team looked sluggish or uninterested throughout the whole game.
The game started off going back and forth before the Bulldogs pulled out to a 4 point lead and held it for a while. However, the Green Wave fought back and held the largest lead of the game for the largest amount of time. For Tulane, they only had two players in double digits, but it seemed like there were many more. Guards Jay Hook and Jonathan Stark paced the Green Wave in the scoring category. With Hook’s 17 points and Stark’s 13, the Green Wave were able to hold Mississippi State to a low scoring game. Tulane seemed to hit everything from three, shooting 36.8% from behind the arc and many of those were uncontested three’s. This was a very disappointing game defensively for the Bulldogs, even though they were able to force 16 turnovers. Sadly, many of those occurred in the first half and the production was not able to be maintained. The Green Wave also out-rebounded the Bulldogs 37-32 and had 5 more assists.
For the Bulldogs, the shots simply were not able to fall for a majority of the game. The Bulldogs’ leading scorer was Travis Daniels with 13 points. He was joined in double-digits by Roquez Johnson (10 points) and Gavin Ware (11 points). The rest of the team really struggled to score throughout the game. Fred Thomas only had 8 points, IJ Ready at 6 points, Trivante Bloodman had 4 points, and Oliver Black had 2. The rest of the Bulldogs to touch the floor failed the score, a total of six players played without a point scored. Among those who failed to contribute to the scoring was junior guard Craig “Chicken” Sword. Sword is coming off of an offseason injury, and was battling a slight sickness throughout the game. While it was great to see Chicken on the floor again, it was disappointing to see such a lackluster performance from him knowing what he has been able to do in the past. Travis Daniels had the most rebounds for the Bulldogs with 9, nearly completing a double-double. The problem for the Bulldogs was clearly the lack of three point shooting (16.7%) and free throw shooting (62.5%). Sadly, most of those missed free throws could be contributed to Juniors and Seniors on this Bulldog squad. The Bulldogs once again were on the wrong side of the assist-to-turnover battle, having 14 turnovers but only 8 assists throughout the game.
The Bulldogs’ road trip doesn’t end just yet. Rick Ray’s 5-2 squad must travel to Corvalis, Oregon to face off against PAC-12 foe Oregon State. The game will be Saturday, December 13 at 3:00 PM CST. No word on if the game will be televised, but I expect the game to be broadcast somewhere. If we don’t clean up our defense, free throw shooting, and three-point shooting, it will be a long season for Bulldog fans with the seat getting much warmer for head coach Rick Ray.