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Bulldogs look to move forward

November 27, 2012

Mississippi State's Colin Borchert defends in a game earlier this year. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are committed to the thought of moving forward.

After arriving home from a three-loss tournament in Hawaii at the Maui Invitational over the Thanksgiving holiday, the Bulldogs went right back to work.

Mississippi State (1-4) hosts Alcorn State (2-4) today in Humphrey Coliseum. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
"(We are) looking forward to coming back to the Hump and playing in front of a home crowd," Bulldog head coach Rick Ray said in a Monday press conference.

This will be the fifth all-time meeting between the two teams. The series is tied 2-2 and MSU won the last meeting 120-65 in 1991.

The Bulldogs are in need of a win after dropping all three games in the Maui Invitational.

MSU lost the opening game 95-49 to No. 14 (Associated Press) North Carolina, 89-62 to Marquette and 69-55 to Texas on the last day of the tournament.

"It was a great experience even though we had a couple of losses," Bulldog sophomore point guard Trivante Bloodman said. "We went out there and played as we could. We put Maui behind us and get ready for the next game."

Mississippi State has no time to hang its head. After playing the Braves, the Bulldogs travelsto Providence, RI to take the Friars in the SEC/Big East Challenge.

"Sometimes you have to fall to get back up," Bloodman said. "I feel like with that happening, it really might help us later on the season. Those three losses, we can get back from that."

MSU does get a boost this week as junior forward Colin Borchert will be back from a suspension.

The Phoenix, Ariz. native was suspended for the Maui Tournament due to violating team rules.

"It will help a lot especially with energy," Bloodman said. "He brings a lot of energy and he's vocal."

The Bulldogs only took six scholarship players to Maui and only had eight players on the roster. Borchert's presence may give some players a little more rest.

"It is going to help from a number standpoint too," Ray said. "It gives us another opportunity to sub somebody in. He is a kid that can make shots for us. He's a good passer. The one thing Colin struggled with was defensive rebounding. He's got to come in and help us with that category or we will be back in the same spot."

Ray was not all to happy with his team's performance in Maui, but did see some things that he can build on.

"Obviously, (we're) disappointed with our performance in Maui," Ray said. "Not so much with the wins and losses, but with the three things we want to do. I thought we played harder than the other teams for the most part. The two categories we failed in (were) we didn't play tougher than the other team and that was pretty evident by the fact that we got out-rebounded and gave up a lot of second chance opportunities on the boards."

Sophomore forward Roquez Johnson leads MSU with 15.8 points per game. He has scored 10-plus points in every game this season and he missed the opening night game against Troy.

Former Starkville High School standout and freshman forward Gavin Ware leads the Bulldogs with 6.8 rebounds per game. He is also averaging 9.4 points per outing.

Freshman guard Fred Thomas is second on the team with 10.8 points per game.

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