(Photo by Rogelio V. Solis, AP)
The Mississippi State Bulldogs traveled to the Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday night carrying a 15â€“3 record and a No. 18 ranking.
However, they left with a 75-68 loss at the hands of scrappy Ole Miss ballclub who received a career night from Reginald Buckner.Â
The Rebels (12-6, 2-2) jumped out to an early lead in the contest leading by as many as nine in the first half.Â The Bulldogs (15-4, 2-2) simply couldnâ€™t get over the hump at that point.Â
â€śThey started out well early in the game and we fought from behind all night long, never got over the hump,â€ť said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury.Â
State would battle back and take a one-point lead at 18-17. From that point, the two teams traded baskets over the next couple of possessions before the Rebels took the lead for good.Â
â€śI thought (Buckner) was tremendous tonight,â€ť said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. â€ś(Holloway) got those two early fouls and Reggie was out there on his own tonight. Â He really had to keep us a float early. This was by far Reggieâ€™s best game of the season when we needed it the most.â€ť
Buckner managed a career night with 19 points despite missing seven shots from the free-throw line. He also had a game-high 15 rebounds for the Rebels.Â
â€śBuckner was probably the difference in the game,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śBuckner, they got more from him than Iâ€™m sure they anticipated.â€ť
The Bulldogs received a big night from Renardo Sidney who neared a double-double with a team-high 17 points and nine rebounds. Â
Dee Bost and Rodney Hood added 15 and 13 points respectively while Arnett Moultrie was rather subdued despite picking up his 10th double-double of the season with 12 rebounds and just 10 points.Â
â€śWe had a lot of opportunities in that second half,â€ť said Stansbury. â€śIt seems like it was a three- or four-point game and we had four of five empty possessions in a row and when youâ€™re on the road and fighting for your life, it is very difficult.â€ť
For the evening, State shot just 37.7 percent from the floor, going 10-of-29 from the 3-point line, something Stansbury didnâ€™t like, particularly late.Â
â€śWell they played a lot of zone. Thatâ€™s a bunch of shots and some of them came in transition when we were fighting back,â€ť Stansbury said of his team, which went 0-for-6 down the stretch after scratching to within three at 2:19 mark. â€śWeâ€™ve got to have some possessions there, we let a couple get away right there in transition for sure.â€ť
The Bulldogs will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Nashville to face the Vanderbilt Commodores in a contest scheduled for a 6 p.m. opening tip.
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