December 6, 2008

Bulldogs survive despite struggles

STARKVILLE, Miss., - Forgive Mississippi State for looking a little sluggish on Saturday.

The Bulldogs had just finished a week long Northeast road trip only to be greeted by exams when they returned to campus. But despite all the obstacles, MSU found a way to prevail in a 76-67 win over Alabama State in front of 3,344 at Humphrey Coliseum.

The Bulldogs only held a one point lead at halftime but managed to pull away in the second half enough to improve to 6-2 on the season and ending a two game skid.

"For the first time all year, I just didn't think we played with the energy, sharpness mentally or physically in any area," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "I just didn't think it was a great effort today from the team."

State shot 50-percent from the field in the game as well as 5-of-10 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs shot 67.9-percent from the line and hit the glass in the second half to outrebound Alabama State 37-29 for the game.

Jarvis Varnado led Mississippi State with 22 points hitting on 10-of-13 shooting, nine rebounds and eight blocks on the afternoon.

"Coach jumped on us (at halftime)," Varnado said. "We've just got to get it going. We came out in the first half and didn't play good at all. We just had to keep it going in the second half and pick up our intensity and energy."

Ravern Johnson scored a career high 21 points hitting 3-of-4 of his 3-point attempts.

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