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MSU looks to end losing skid with game at Florida

February 8, 2013

The Mississippi State men's basketball team is on the verge of reaching one of its worst losing streaks in program history.

The Bulldogs have currently lost seven-straight games after opening up 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play. They lost nine consecutive games in 1987.

"We are kind of down, but we aren't giving up," MSU sophomore guard Trivante Bloodman said. "We are going to keep fighting no matter what. It's a little tough right now."

State (7-14, 2-7) travels to Gainesville, Fla. today to take on the No. 2 (Associated Press) Florida Gators (18-3, 8-1). Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. and can be seen on Fox Sports South.

The Gators suffered their first SEC loss of the year on Tuesday. UF dropped an 80-69 decision to the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena. 

"I think Florida is playing better than anybody in the nation at this point in time," MSU head coach Rick Ray said Monday in the SEC weekly teleconference.

The Bulldogs and the Gators are meeting for the second time in a season for the first time since 1991. The Gators beat the Bulldogs by 35 points in January in the first meeting. Florida has never swept Mississippi State.

The Gators are in first place in the SEC standings and look to get back to their winning ways.

Ray is impressed with the Gators play on both ends of the floor.

"I think it's two-fold," Ray said. "I think on the offensive end, it's their willingness to share the basketball. When you have a lot of good players that are talented like Florida has, sometimes you can get into a situation where guys don't share the basketball and I think that's their number one attribute. They do a great job sharing the basketball.

"I think defensively, it's the same thing. When you have a lot of good offensive players, sometimes they don't want to play great team defense and I think it's pretty evident that they're playing great team defense."

Florida leads the league in scoring defense. They are allowing only 51 points per game. The Gators also lead the SEC in scoring margin, scoring better than 23 more points than their opposition. 

"We just have to hit our shots," Bloodman said. "We always get our shots. It's just a matter of hitting them. If we hit our shots, we will be alright."

The Gators lead the league in field goal percentage and field goal percentage defense. UF is shooting 49.6 percent and allowing opponents to only shoot 36 percent. 

Florida is led by Kenny Boynton who is averaging 13.2 points per game. Erik Murphy chips in 12.7, Mike Rosario adds 12.2 and Patric Young scores 11 points per outing.

Fred Thomas is the only Bulldog averaging double digits with 10.6 per game. Craig Sword, Roquez Johnson and Jalen Steele all average just under 10 points per game. 

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