February 25, 2017 5:02:26 PM
Mississippi State falls to 5-11 in SEC play with the 77-48 loss to the Commodores.
The numbers made it clear that defense was an issue in the first half -- Vanderbilt shot 50 percent from the floor, 6-13 from 3-point range -- but there was a qualitative factor to it, too. The interior defense had moments of being particularly costly, as evidenced by Vanderbilt's 12 points in the paint in the first half. There was one dribble drive that was particularly memorable: MSU's defenders seemed to be confused at who would pick up the man slicing the defense through the middle and thus no one did; he made the layup with no one within five feet of him. There were a few more instances of easy dump passes from one post player to another creating an easy bucket down low.
Aric Holman was given the start in the frontcourt where we've often seen Schnider Herard and his first half wasn't spectacular: four points on 1-6 shooting, three turnovers and two rebounds in 12 minutes. The bright side: He did not get in foul trouble, which has been a thorn in his side for the last few weeks to the point that Howland addressed it unprompted earlier this week.
The thing to watch out of this going forward is the status of Quinndary Weatherspoon: he was seen limping off the court in the final minutes. He's often responsible for taking team-highs in shots, so what MSU's offense does without him (if it has to) would be interesting. I would guess Lamar Peters might get a few of those shots, with Mario Kegler and I.J. Ready also being among the most likely to get more shots in his absence. Where that's problematic is the perimeter, as they aren't nearly as willing to take the outside shot as Weatherspoon is, so I wonder how MSU can space the floor if he is to miss time.