March 7, 2009

Bulldogs finish out regular season strong

OXFORD, Miss., - In a game in which Jarvis Varnado, Dee Bost and Barry Stewart sat out a total of 48 minutes, Mississippi State still found a way to win on Saturday.

Varnado missed 17 minutes, Bost 16 and Stewart 15 minutes, all with foul trouble, but the Bulldogs kept clawing away at Ole Miss and were able to come away with an 82-80 win at Tad Smith Coliseum.

"The first half we had to play without our point guard (Bost)," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "In the second half we had to play without our two veteran guys in Jarvis and Barry. To still found a way to win it is huge but that's what you have to do sometimes. This time of year your bench is very important and our bench is terrific again tonight."

MSU got 27 points out of it's bench and shot 48.9-percent from the floor improving to 9-7 in the Southeastern Conference and clinching the No. 3 seed in the SEC Tournament. The Bulldogs also upped their overall mark to 19-12 on the year while Stansbury tied Richard Williams's school mark of 354 games coached.

State shot 8-of-23 from behind the arc and only turned the ball over 10 times on the afternoon but no turnovers from the point guard position.

Stewart led the way for the Bulldogs despite his limited minutes. He attempted all of his shots from downtown and converted 3-of-6 of them to finish with 17 points in only 25 minutes.

"He kept us in it early," Stansbury said. "We got down and behind early and he made shots to get us in it. But his defense is something that is never written about but that is the thing that goes unnoticed about Barry Stewart. He's a terrific defender and you get everything out of him ability-wise as a defensive player."

Bost only played six minutes of the first half and was shutout. He came out with a flurry in the second scoring 13 points including converting 9-of-11 from the charity stripe down the stretch.

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