LSU-MSU Pregame: Bulldogs Try to Keep Up Defensive Effort

Today’s game: LSU (11-7, 2-5 SEC) at MSU (7-12, 2-5), 4:30 p.m., Fox Sports South (Dave Neal play-by-play, Larry Conley analyst), XM 201, Sirius 123.

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Mississippi State hopes to keep up the strong defense it showed in Wednesday’s overtime loss to Texas A&M. That’s the angle on today’s game advance. The 22 turnovers by the Aggies were the most MSU has forced since 24 against South Carolina in the SEC opener.

Still, there were defensive issues in overtime, when MSU was outscored 8-2. A&M point guard J’Mychal Reese found lanes to the basket and scored six points in the OT period. In today’s story I mentioned the need to slow down LSU big man Johnny O’Bryant, but MSU’s defensive success today is going to start with keeping point guard Anthony Hickey out of the paint.

“Once he penetrates into the lane, that really causes problems,” MSU guard Jalen Steele said. “We try to keep the ball out of the middle of the court, and once we do that and once we contain him with that, the offense shuts down after that once we stop the point guard. So that’s what we really need to do, is put pressure on him, make him force turnovers, and make him feel uncomfortable.”

For more on this matchup, check out my scouting report from today’s Journal.

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LSU at MSU

Tip: 4:30 p.m., Humphrey Coliseum (10,500).

TV: Fox Sports South

Radio: MSU Network; XM 201; Sirius 123.

Series: LSU leads, 105-97.

Last year: MSU, 76-71 in Starkville; LSU, 69-67 (OT) in Baton Rouge.

Coaches – LSU: Johnny Jones, 216-169 overall (13th season), 11-7 at LSU (first season); MSU: Rick Ray, 7-12 (first season).

Notes: MSU has lost three consecutive home games, the first time it’s done so since 2006. … LSU beat No. 17 Missouri on Wednesday, it’s first win over a ranked team in SEC play since 2007. … MSU is averaging 56.3 points in SEC games, which ranks last in the league. …  LSU is averaging an SEC-best 9.6 steals in league play. …  State has used the same starting lineup in all seven SEC games.

LSU (11-7, 2-5 SEC)

Probable starters Pts Rebs Also

G Andre Stringer 5-10 Jr. 11.2 1.7 1.9a

G Charles Carmouche 6-4 Sr. 9.3 3.2 3.9a

G Anthony Hickey 5-11 So. 12.4 3.6 3.7s

F Johnny O’Bryant 6-9 So. 11.9 8.3

C Andrew Del Piero 7-3 Sr. 4.2 2.9 1.3b

Key reserves

F Shavon Coleman 6-5 Jr. 11.9 7.2 1.6s

G Malik Morgan 6-4 Fr. 5.3 3.3 1.6s

F Shane Hammink 6-7 Fr. 2.7 2.1 37%FG

Key numbers

Scoring average: 72.0

Scoring defense: 68.6

Field goal%: 42.9

Opponent FG%: 41.4

3-point%: 34.3

Opponent 3PT%: 31.3

Free throw%: 61.1

Opponent FT%: 69.9

Rebound margin: +0.4

Turnover margin: +1.1

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MSU (7-12, 2-5 SEC)

Probable starters Pts Rebs Also

G Trivante Bloodman 6-0 So. 5.4 3.1 2.6a

G Jalen Steele 6-3 Jr. 9.4 3.0 89%FT

G Craig Sword 6-3 Fr. 9.5 2.9 1.8a

F Colin Borchert 6-8 Jr. 7.2 4.4 78%FT

C Gavin Ware 6-9 Fr. 8.6 6.8 53%FG

Key reserves

G Fred Thomas 6-5 Fr. 10.6 3.3 34%FG

F Roquez Johnson 6-7 So. 9.6 4.7 64%FT

G Tyson Cunningham 6-3 Jr. 2.6 2.6 50%3s

Key numbers

Scoring average: 60.6

Scoring defense: 66.1

Field goal%: 40.3

Opponent FG%: 42.5

3-point%: 28.9

Opponent 3PT%: 34.9

Free throw%: 67.7

Opponent FT%: 64.7

Rebound margin: –2.1

Turnover margin: –1.2

I am the online content coordinator for DJournal.com. Previously at the Journal, I covered Mississippi State athletics (2008-13), high schools (2004-08), and was on the copy desk (2002-04). I'm working on a recipe for bacon-flavored coffee, which would solve all the world's problems.

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