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Gameday Capsule: No. 17 MSU vs. Saint Mary's

 

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No. 17 Mississippi State (3-1) vs. Saint Mary's (3-1), T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas 

 

BROADCAST INFO: 7:30 p.m., and I believe the only streaming option is to pay for it on bdglobal.inplayer.com. 

 

SAINT MARY'S SO FAR: The crown jewel is a road win over New Mexico State, a team that could win the WAC this year. They also beat Utah Valley and McNeese State before going to Vegas, where they lost80-63 to Utah State in a game in which the Gaels shot 25 percent from 3-point range and got out rebounded 31-19. 

 

MSU SO FAR: The Bulldogs didn't move the needle much with the first wins over Austin Peay (95-67), Hartford (77-59) and Long Beach State (79-51), but it also shows how good Arizona State could be that MSU only dropped five spots in KenPom after losing a game in which it did not look very good.  

 

SAINT MARY'S PROJECTED STARTERS 

 

G 3 Jordan Ford, Jr., 6'1", 175 -- 25 ppg, 3.75 apg, 2.25 spg, 48.5 percent from the field with a team-high 66 shots, 29-30 from the free throw line, 4 turnovers despite averaging 35.5 minutes per game over 4 games. 

 

G 00 Tanner Krebs, Jr., 6'6", 205 -- 7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5-5 from the free throw line, 3-13 from 3-point range. 

 

F 10 Elijah Thomas, Soph., 6'5", 220 -- 8.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 1 spg, 53.8 percent from 3-point range (90th in the nation).  

 

F 24 Malik Fitts, Soph., 6'8", 230 -- 15.5 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 1.5 spg, 45 percent from 3-point range and 9-11 from the free throw line. 

 

C 1 Jordan Hunter, Sr., 6'10", 230 -- 6.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.25 spg, Australian, exactly one turnover in each of his four games this year. 

 

MISSISSIPPI STATE PROJECTED STARTERS 

 

G 1 Lamar Peters, Jr., 6'0", 185 -- 10 ppg, 5.25 apg, 1.25 spg, only 6 free throw attempts in 4 games (made five of them), 8 3-point attempts in the last game. 

 

G 0 Nick Weatherspoon, Soph., 6'2", 195 -- 10.5 ppg, 2 apg, 5-9 from 3-point range and 55.6 percent from the field, perfect 2-2 from 3 against Arizona State. 

 

G 11 Quinndary Weatherspoon, Sr., 6'4", 205 -- 19 ppg, 4 rpg, 2.25 apg, 2.5 spg, 11-12 from the free throw line, season-high 3 turnovers in the last game. 

 

F 35 Aric Holman, Sr., 6'10", 225 -- 13.5 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 2.75 bpg, 5 steals and 7 assists in 4 games, 22 points against Arizona State, best among Bulldogs with double-digit 3-point attempts at 35.7 percent. 

 

F 24 Abdul Ado, R-Soph., 6'11", 255 -- 4.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2 bpg, 5-5 from the free throw line, 6-10 from the field, season-high 30 minutes against Arizona State.  

 

QUOTE: Ben Howland on the loss to Arizona State: "I was proud of the way that we fought back in the second half. We had a good run to star the half, but you have to spend a lot of energy to come back. Fight and toughness was the difference for us in the second half. We'll bounce back and learn from this game." 

 

NOTES: KenPom gives MSU a 67 percent chance of winning this game with a projected final score of 72-67 -- the same score that MSU lost to Arizona State by....Scheduling this way in the non-conference in a big development for Saint Mary's: bad non-con schedules are why a program this good has only made one NCAA Tournament appearance since 2014 despite a 109-27 record in that time....MSU is 13th in the nation shooting 80 percent from the free throw line....Saint Mary's doesn't turn the ball over much: only 12.7 percent of its possessions end in turnovers, which ranks eighth in the nation....Saint Mary's does not block shots -- it has only blocked four all season, while it has had 13 of its shots blocked. 

 

Follow Dispatch sports writer Brett Hudson on Twitter @Brett_Hudson

 

 

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