Mississippi State wins 2K Sports Opener
By, Hunter Richardson
Arnett Moultrie could not have described it any better.
“It was an ugly game, but a win’s a win.”
Despite sloppy play and rough patches along the way, Mississippi State was not going to let Eastern Kentucky ruin its 100th season opener Monday night at Humphrey Coliseum. As the Colonels were clawing back into contention, State, led by senior guard Dee Bost, dropped the hammer and shut the door on any chance of an upset victory in Starkville.
Bost led all scorers in Monday’s regional round matchup of the 2K Sports Classic with 23 points and chipped in six assists and six rebounds.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a fast start by grabbing a 12-point lead early in the game and seemed to be able to cruise for the remainder. However, the Colonels would not give up so quickly. Locking down on defense and forcing long scoring droughts, Eastern Kentucky was able to fight its way back into contention.
Colonels’ coach Jeff Neubauer threw out different defenses on almost every State possession and was able to put the Dogs in a rut, allowing his team a chance to get to the basket and put points on the board.
“We found a way to win tonight,” said Rick Stansbury. “That style can mess you up but we found a way to score.”
The Colonels’ defense forced State to settle for jump shots that just were not falling at times, dredging up memories of last year’s mid-range struggles. The Dogs were in need of a spark quick to get their offense going before it was too late.
Enter Dee Bost, who showed why he is one of the SEC’s elite players.
Bost scored 17 of his 23 points in the second half, putting up a stellar performance that had everyone talking. Bost’s biggest shot came at the 3:56 mark as he drained a three to extend the Dogs’ lead to nine. A few possessions later, Bost intercepted a pass and slammed the ball home, putting the nail in the coffin.
“I needed to give myself and the team a spark of energy,” said Bost.
Along side Dee’s impressive performance, were the showings of newcomer Arnett Moultrie and freshman Rodney Hood. Moultrie turned in a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, along with two blocks. Hood nearly turned in a double-double with 12 points and nine rebounds and put in a solid 5-9 shooting performance from the field.
Junior Renardo Sidney put in a nine-point, three- rebound performance in 23 minutes of play. Jalen Steele played exceptional off the bench in 21 minutes of relief with nine points and three rebounds, including two big three-pointers.
Leading the Colonels were guard Joshua Jones with 13 points and seven rebounds and forward Eric Stutz with 11 points and eight rebounds.
The Dogs managed to shoot 48.3 percent from the floor, including 55.6 percent in the second-half as they fought off the Colonels. The Dogs also led on the boards with help from the Memphis, Tenn., native Moultrie (10), out-rebounding the Colonels 43-29.
The Bulldog’s will now prepare for a Wednesday matchup against the Akron Zips in the regional round of the 2K Sports Classic. The 7:00pm (ET) tip at the Hump will be televised on ESPNU.
Tickets for the Championship Rounds of the 2K Sports Classic benefiting Coach vs. Cancer at Madison Square Garden can be purchased by calling 866-448-7849 or at ticketmaster.com.