NO ANSWER: Hinson's big day leads Rebels to upset over No. 14 Bulldogs

Mississippi State's Abdul Ado (24) reaches to attempt a block of Ole Miss' Blake Hinson's shot.

Staff Writer

Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland has for weeks now been concerned about his team’s struggles defensively – particularly when it comes to slowing down opponents behind the 3-point line.

That concern proved to be warranted on Saturday as Ole Miss used success beyond the arc to upset No. 14 MSU 81-77 at Humphrey Coliseum.
Rebels freshman

Blake Hinson had a career day as he scored a season-high 26 points, including a 5-for-11 mark from long range. It proved to be perhaps the day’s biggest factor as the Bulldogs dropped their second-straight game.

“I thought we did a horrible job on Blake Hinson,” Howland said. “We knew what he was. He’s a 3-point shooter. He really got going.”

Ole Miss (13-2, 3-0) finished the game shooting 39 percent as a team (12-for-31) beyond the 3-point line. It helped the Rebels overcome a pair of significant defects to turn away the Bulldogs (12-3, 0-2).

MSU led by as many as 11 points in the first half before Ole Miss cut its deficit to two by halftime. After the intermission, the Bulldogs sprinted out to a nine-point lead only to see the Rebels eventually overcome that too. 
It was Hinson leading the charge to finally get Ole Miss over the top. Over a 2-minute stretch early in the second half, Hinson drilled a trio of 3-pointers that pulled the Rebels to within three points at 54-51. Just a couple of minutes later, Bruce Stevens also drilled a couple of 3s for Ole Miss and the Rebels never trailed again.

“(Hinson) got hot,” MSU’s Robert Woodard II said. “For us, it’s about making the adjustment in-game and preparing for anybody to get hot. This is the SEC. You can’t take anyone for granted on the floor.”

Other things hindered Mississippi State as well. The Bulldogs had five more turnovers than the Rebels.

“That’s five extra possessions,” Howland said.

Additionally, Howland thought his team became too emotional as well. All told in the game, there were four technical fouls called. Only one of those came against MSU, but Howland thought his team frequently got too caught up in the moment.

“I just thought we were really emotional because of the rivalry,” Howland said. “We were showing almost too much emotion – being too high and then being too low when things weren’t going well. We’ve got to be more even-keeled with our emotions.”

It all spoiled what could have been a positive day for State. The Bulldogs had three players score in double figures. Quinndary Weatherspoon led MSU with 18 points. Lamar Peters added 16 and Nick Weatherspoon had 11. State also out-rebounded the Rebels by eight. However, none of that was enough to overcome Hinson and the sharp-shooting Rebels.

As a result, State now finds itself in a bit of an unexpected hole. The Bulldogs were riding a nine-game winning streak coming into this past week. However, they have since fallen at South Carolina and now to Ole Miss at home. Suddenly, MSU is winless in Southeastern Conference play.

There’s a long way to go this year, but Howland thinks the key to a Bulldog turnaround starts with doing what MSU couldn’t on Saturday – becoming stronger on the defensive end.

“We’ve got 16 more games (in the regular season) and the bottom line is we have to get better defensively and get better defensively in a hurry moving forward,” Howland said.