December 30, 2012

Mississippi State stunned in Starkville

STARKVILLE, Miss., - The season is just now reaching the midway point and already it's been a long season for first year Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray.

But the one thing Ray and the Bulldogs have been able to hang their hat on is their undefeated mark at home.

That changed Sunday as MSU squandered a 15-point lead and were stunned 59-57 by Alabama A&M inside Humphrey Coliseum.

"It was obviously a disappointing loss, not strictly based on the opponent," Ray said. "You want to win your basketball games at home and protect your home court. We had done that so far this season. I know a lot of people will point towards the end of this game as far as when we lost it. But we really lost the game at the end of the first half. We had a 15 point lead and could have broken it open from there but took some ill-advised shots and didn't finish some shots inside."

Not only did State relinquish a 15-point first half advantage but also a five point lead with 2:18 to play on a foul and back-to-back turnovers by Trivante Bloodman, which led to six points the other way allowing A&M to take the lead with 43-seconds remaining.

"We turned over the ball at a crucial time of the game," said junior guard Jalen Steele. "It was a time of the game where it shifted momentum. We didn't need to turn over the ball then. We've got to be patient on our shots and a lot of people weren't. We should have kept feeding the ball down low and played within that. There were just a whole bunch of little things."

It marked Mississippi State's first ever loss to Alabama A&M in five contests and dropped them to 21-3 all-time against SWAC opponents.

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