After losing to Ole Miss in the Egg Bowl 41-24 in November, Mississippi State needed an in-state win in the worst way. That did not come on Wednesday morning as the Bulldogs finished in the mid-20s in the national signing day rankings with Ole Miss ranging from 2-10. That night it did not get much better as the Bulldog basketball team (7-14, 2-7) took a thumping in Oxford 93-75.
The game started promising for MSU as they took an early 2-0 lead. That was the only lead they would see as Ole Miss then went on a 19-0 run. The Rebels continued to show up the short-handed Bulldogs, taking a 19-point lead into halftime.
In the second half, Andy Kennedy’s club appeared to be in coasting mode. The disparity in talent and coaching was evident and an Ole Miss victory never appeared to be in doubt.
Marshall Henderson led all scorers with 31 points on 8-18 shooting from the field and 9-10 from the line. It was the second time this season that Henderson has gone over 30, the other being when he scored 32 in Knoxville last month. His output pushed his points per game average to 20, good for 13th in the nation and tops in the SEC. He also added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, and just 1 turnover in the win.
Looking like a mean-streak-bully, Murphy Holloway had his way with Mississippi State all game. Finishing with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals, nothing the opposition tried seemed to be working. Equally important is the fact that Holloway had just 1 personal foul, a key for Ole Miss now that Aaron Jones is out for the season. He also yielded zero turnovers in 36 minutes of play.
The biggest detriment to the Mississippi State offense was Reginald Buckner. The SEC’s active career blocks leader denied 5 shots in the game, including one on a three-point attempt early on. The Memphis native also had 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Snoop White appeared to come back down to earth as he mustered 4 points and 5 rebounds. Jarvis Summers provided 11 points and 5 assists, but will need to cut back on his 4 turnovers. Ole Miss won both the turnover margin (+6) and the foul margin (+10).
Off the bench, Derrick Millinghaus scored 6 points and delivered 5 assists, Terry Brutus had 3 points, and Anthony Perez had two points.
The 75 points for Mississippi State was their most since a Jan. 3 victory over New Orleans that saw the Bulldogs score 93. The 52 second half points were more than they have scored in three of their conference games. Three Bulldogs finished in double-figures, led by Craig Sword with 17. Jalen Steele had 15 points and team leading scorer Fred Thomas had 13. All three forwards for State: Gavin Ware, Colin Borchert, and Roquez Johnson, fouled out of the game.
MSU falls to 7-14 and 2-7 with the loss and they have now lost seven straight games. They return to action on Saturday when they travel to Gainesville to take on the No. 2 ranked Gators.
Ole Miss got a much needed return to their winning ways and are now 18-4 and 7-2. The Bulldogs are not the only team faced with a road game ruled by revenge. While the Gators are fresh off a blowout loss to Arkansas, Ole Miss will travel to face a No. 21 Missouri team that the Rebels upset in Oxford on Jan. 12. Tipoff is set for noon local time from Columbia, Mo.