Mississippi State Basketball: Men’s Hoops at South Carolina Preview
Mississippi State (10-9, 4-6 SEC) couldn’t take care of the ball or knock down shots its last time out, resulting in a 16-point loss at Arkansas. The Bulldogs will need to get those things corrected on Saturday when they hit the road to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (5-6, 3-4 SEC).
The game is set for 2:30 PM CT and will be televised on the SEC Network.
The series was split a season ago, with Mississippi State holding off a late Gamecock rally for a 79-76 win. South Carolina returned the favor in Columbia, an 83-71 final fueled by former Gamecock Maik Kotsar’s 20-point performance.
Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina‘s season has been marred by COVID-19 issues and several game cancellations, resulting in weeks away from the floor. The Gamecocks played all of one game in December before having their next four contests canceled or postponed.
South Carolina went 2-2 in the non-conference slate with wins over Tulsa and Florida A&M. After starting SEC play with a resounding 78-54 win over Texas A&M, the Gamecocks lost four out of their next five contests, with the only win coming at home against Georgia.
South Carolina, however, does come into Saturday with some momentum after knocking off No. 22 Florida 72-66 in Gainesville on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks outscored the Gators by 11 in the second half to grab the win.
Junior AJ Lawson is South Carolina’s leader, averaging a team-high 17.6 points and shooting 37.3% from outside. High-flyer Keyshawn Bryant is scoring 14.6 points per game to go along with his 5.6 rebounds.
Point guard Jermaine Couisnard is contributing 11.8 points and a team-leading 3.7 assists to the Gamecocks’ cause. Seventh Woods is chipping in five points a game in his first season in Columbia after transferring from North Carolina.
The frontcourt consists of Justin Minaya and Wildens Leveque. Minaya has the ability to stretch the floor with his outside shooting, and he is averaging 8.5 points and seven rebounds a game. Leveque is averaging 5.4 points and 5.4 boards per game.
The Gamecocks are putting up 75.1 points per game this season. They shoot 43.4% from the field and 32.8% from three-point range. Free throws have been a thorn in their side this season, shooting just 63.5% from the line.
Keys to a Bulldog Win
Turnovers have been a huge problem for Mississippi State, especially of late. 26 turnovers on Tuesday night spoiled any chances of MSU beating Arkansas. Mississippi State must take care of the ball on Saturday to get the win.
The Bulldogs will need to have four scorers in double-figures to win on Saturday. Someone will need to step up and have a big game alongside Molinar, Stewart, and Tolu Smith. Whether it’s Deivon Smith, Cameron Matthews, or Jalen Johnson, MSU needs another double-digit scorer to secure a victory.
Mississippi State finds a way to get the win on the road. Iverson Molinar bounces back after a disappointing game Tuesday, leading MSU to the win.
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