On the day that Mississippi State recognized its all-time starting five the 20th-ranked Bulldogs delivered one of the all-time bad outings.
The Georgia Bulldogs came into the Humphrey Coliseum and handed State a 70-68 defeat.
“My number one concern is what beat us,” said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. “That was our ability to physically and mentally to be able to put that one Thursday night behind us and get our level of energy and emotion back up to where it has to be in 36 hours.”
Mississippi State (19-6, 6-4) claimed a rebound with 8.2 seconds and without calling a timeout, it pushed the ball down the floor and as time expired a runner from Dee Bost fell woefully short leaving the home-standing Bulldogs with the loss, snapping a 13-game home win streak.
“No I didn’t (call a timeout),” Stansbury said. “It is a flowing defense getting back in transition so you’re going against a transition defense verses a timeout you’re going to get the set defense. If I thought we weren’t going to get a better shot than that, maybe we would do something different. I would do that again.”
MSU opened a seven-point lead in the opening minutes of the game despite shooting just 21 percent. State turned things around but so did Georgia (12-12, 3-7). The Peach State Bulldogs took their first lead late in the first half at 24-23.
Even though Mississippi State regained the lead heading into the locker room at 34-31, it was obvious State wasn’t hitting on all cylinders.
“Nowhere in that game did I ever feel like that we got our emotion and energy at the level it had to be at any time,” said Stansbury. “If you don’t do that in this league every night, that’s what can happen.”
Bost, who scored a game high 21 points, agreed, “that’s what it was… we didn’t come to play. That’s not and excuse.”
Mississippi State had an opportunity in regulation to survive and pick up the win when Jalen Steele’s shot at the buzzer was off the mark and the game that seemed to be destined for overtime was indeed headed to an extra period tied at 59.
In the overtime period, it was more of the same from Georgia as they dominated the offensive glass out-rebounding MSU 18-7 in that area and 40-33 for the game.
Under normal circumstances Mississippi State expects Arnett Moultrie, the SEC’s leading rebounder, to be able to control the rebounding effort, but not on Saturday.
“I’m not going to make excuses for him, because he’s been good for us all year, but you could see he just didn’t have it (Saturday),” said Stansbury. “That’s not Arnett’s game. His game has been about energy and athleticism.”
For the game, Moultrie scored 12 points but only managed six rebounds.
The bright spot for Mississippi State was the fact that Renardo Sidney picked up his first double-double of the season with 10 points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
However, at the end of the day, Stansbury explains the loss by not being prepared to handle the short turn around.
“We played Thursday night and physically and emotionally we left everything out there on the court and in this league, because of the way it is set up, you’ve got to get back up and find a way,” he said. “We just didn’t do it at the level we needed to do it at.”
Mississippi State will be back in action on Tuesday night looking to pick up a road win against LSU in Baton Rouge.