February 16, 2009

Phil Turner gets defensive

Phil Turner takes pride in his defense.

The 6-foot-3, 170-pounder is a shooting guard by trade but is so aggressive defensively that head coach Rick Stansbury is playing the redshirt sophomore as a power forward.

Turner has led Mississippi State in rebounding over the last three games pulling down 31 boards during that span. He feels that if the Bulldogs can turns things up on the defensive end it will help them down the stretch of the regular season.

"We can score the basketball," Turner said. "That's really not a problem for us. I believe it is more of our defense. I think we need to concentrate more on our defense instead of offense. I believe we can struggle offensively and still have a chance to win if we stop them from scoring."

MSU surrendered 97 points in a loss to LSU on Wednesday followed up by a 91-point performance to Auburn on Saturday, both of which ended up in losses. Turner hopes defense will be at the forefront in practice this week in preparation for Wednesday's game with South Carolina.

"Defense is always stressed to us in practice but not overly stressed lately," Turner said. "Maybe it should be but it hasn't been so much. We've just got to stop beating ourselves in so many instances."

Turner and the Bulldogs will have to contend with one of the hottest guards in the Southeastern Conference in South Carolina's Devan Downey. Downey is averaging 19.9 points per game and shooting 36.9-percent from 3-point range this season.



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