January 30, 2013

Ray, Bulldogs hope to snap four-game skid

Rick Ray's Mississippi State squad is reeling after four straight losses with the most recent being one of the worst in school history.

The Bulldogs were pummeled by Florida at home on Saturday 82-47, the second worst lost ever inside Humphrey Coliseum.

One of the few positives from the game is that MSU limited their turnovers. One game removed from 29 turnovers at Arkansas, the Bulldogs gave the ball away just 10 times against Florida but struggled in other areas.

"I thought we did a decent job of taking care of the basketball by only turning it over 10 times," Ray said. "But I thought we took some ill-advised, quick shots and to me that's a turnover as well. We didn't grind it deep into the shot clock for us offensively and we got killed on the boards 44-20. When you want to beat a quality team like Florida and you're under manned you have to limit their possessions and I thought we did a poor job at that."

State's top scoring option and only veteran Jalen Steele was held scoreless against the Gators. The junior guard was 0-for-5 on Saturday and did not attempt a 3-point shot the entire game.

"I think he was the focus of the other team," Ray said. "When you're supposed to be a good player you are going to be the focus of the other team's scouting report. I think (Florida) did a good job running him off of the 3-point line and making him bounce it."

Tonight the Bulldogs will tangle with Texas A&M and veteran guard Elston Turner. Mississippi State fans should be familiar with that name. Turner led the Aggies with 13 points against MSU in last year's game and scored seven points while at Washington in the 2009 NCAA Tournament.

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