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SMITH COLUMN: MSU's Johnson, Sword show toughness

January 12, 2014


They might be from "The Gump," but on Saturday, they made quite an impression at the Hump.
Roquez Johnson and Craig Sword, both from Montgomery, Ala., combined for 35 of MSU's 76 points as the Mississippi State Bulldogs went on to defeat the Ole Miss Rebels 76-72 Saturday at Humphrey Coliseum.
It takes a little bit of toughness to win any athletic event between Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
The Bulldogs had that aspect covered against the Rebels with Sword and Johnson.
It's never surprising for MSU head coach Rick Ray to get that type of effort out of his Montgomery connection.
"They talk about coming from the Gump," Ray said about what Sword and Johnson call Montgomery. "They are a product of their environment."
For two players from the state of Alabama, who might not have known much about the intensity of the State-Ole Miss series prior to joining the Bulldogs, they seemed to be very serious about the matchup.
Even though it wasn't always pretty, MSU found a way to make enough plays to knock off its in-state rival once again at home. The Bulldogs have won 15 of the last 16 meetings over the Rebels in Starkville.
The situation looked bleak for MSU when Ole Miss took a 66-61 lead with 4:58 remaining in the game.
A 7-0 run by the Bulldogs gave them a 68-66 advantage at the 2:59 mark.
"We kept being aggressive and that's the only way to fight through adversity during a game," Sword said.

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