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Rested Bulldogs ready for game against Tigers

February 4, 2012

MSU point guard Dee Bost (3) dribbles around Auburn's Kenny Gabriel in last year's meeting in Starkville, (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)

The Mississippi State Bulldogs return to the hardwood rested and ready to face the Auburn Tigers following a week off from basketball.

The 19th-ranked Bulldogs (17-5, 4-3) have the top the players in the Southeastern Conference in regards to minutes played in Dee Bost, Arnett Moultire, and Rodney Hood and their head coach realizes the team needed a break.

"Just not the physical rest, but the mental drag it puts on your basketball team,” said MSU's Rick Stansbury. “Mentally trying to get up at that level every night, you've got to be up. There's no easy games and we just came out of a tough stretch."

Bost paces the league with 35 minutes played while Moultrie and Hood are tied for second with 34.2 minutes played per game.

Fatigue aside, this trio of Bulldogs have been very productive as they are the top scorers on the MSU roster, all averaging double digits.

Moultrie, who leads the league with 13 double-doubles, set the tone for State with 16.8 points per game and over 11 rebounds. 

"He gets tired some, too," Stansbury said. "No question we ask a lot out of him."

Saturday will likely be a special day for Moultrie as he will meet the coach who gave him his start in college basketball, Tony Barbee.

The former UTEP head coach is now in his second year at Auburn (13-9, 3-5) and comes into the Hump looking to pick up a much needed road win after defeating Georgia at home 59-51 on Wednesday.

Tiger guard Varez Ward scored 17 points in their win over UGA. He was good at the line, hitting on all of his free-throw attempts.

Kenny Gabriel, who is second on the team in scoring at 11.9 points per game, added 16 points, eight rebounds, and four blocks for Auburn in the midweek win.

"We were able to break the ice on the rim," Barbee told Auburn's official website. "We were able to get it going. When we get stops on defense and play fast in the transition like that, then that will lead to easy buckets and boy do we need to find a way to get some easy buckets."

In this series, Auburn has won four out of the last six, but the Bulldogs have won 10 out of the last 11 in Starkville.

The tip is set for 3 p.m., and will be televised by the SEC Network with Carter Blackburn and Kyle Macy handling the broadcast.

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