Starkville, MS

Mississippi State men’s basketball looks to even season series against Ole Miss

Collin Wilmes

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Mississippi State Athletics

STARKVILLE, Miss. — The oldest rivalry in the Southeastern Conference heats back up on Saturday when the Mississippi State men’s basketball team hosts Ole Miss inside Humphrey Coliseum at 3 p.m. CT on ESPNU.

The Bulldogs (12-5, 3-2 SEC) are coming off an 80-72 road loss to the Florida Gators in which they were outscored 23-8 over the final 8:20. Sophomore guard Shakeel Moore scored 18 points to lead the Bulldogs and redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith added 17 points. Junior guard Iverson Molinar chipped in with 12 points and five assists.

Molinar is third in the SEC in scoring with an average of 17.6 points and is seventh in the SEC in assists at 4.5 a game. Redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith is averaging 13.4 points and seven assists in seven games. If he qualified for the SEC leaderboard, he would rank first in field goal percentage (63.6), ninth in rebounds and 16th in points.

Sophomore guard Shakeel Moore (11.2), graduate forward Garrison Brooks (10.9) and junior forward D.J. Jefferies (10.0) also all average double-digit points.

The Rebels (9-8, 1-4 SEC) have lost three games in a row since beating MSU on Jan. 8. They have played those three games without their top scorer in senior guard Jarkel Joiner, who has averaged 13.6 points a game, due to injury. Freshman guard Daeshun Ruffin is putting up 11.2 points a game and has scored in double figures in three of his last four games.

Saturday’s meeting will be the 266th between the Bulldogs and Rebels on the hardwood. MSU owns a 146-119 lead in the all-time series and will look to split in the series for the fifth consecutive season. In the earlier meeting, sophomore guard Matthew Murrell scored a career-high 31 points for the Rebels, including going 5-for-5 on 3-pointers.

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