MBB: Mississippi State Bests Georgia 88-72

Home >

MBB: Mississippi State Bests Georgia 88-72

The University of Georgia Men’s Basketball team was defeated by Mississippi State 88-72 in the battle of the Bulldogs on Wednesday night in Starkville.

Georgia was carried offensively by a monster game from Kario Oquendo, who dropped 28 points on 9-17 shooting while adding 6 rebounds. Wednesday’s game was the third in a row in which Oquendo scored at least 20 points, making him the first UGA player to do so since Anthony Edwards in the 2019-2020 season.

The SEC’s 4th leading scorer Iverson Molinar (16.8 PPG) led the way for Mississippi State in scoring 28 points on 11-18 shooting and recorded a game-leading 7 assists.





Wednesday’s contest in Starkville was the second consecutive road game for the Dawgs and unfolded in almost identical fashion to their last game against Kentucky in Lexington. The first half of each game was tightly contested and resulted in a one-possession score differential entering the halftime intermission. Unfortunately for Georgia, both contests were truly a tale of two halves, as the Dawgs at one point found themselves trailing by 20 points late in the second half yet again despite the prevailing sentiment that it was anybody’s game for much of the period.

Georgia began the second half with a 1-point 36-35 lead, and each team came out of the break competing as evenly as the score would indicate, trading buckets for the first two and a half minutes with two scores from Oquendo, a layup from Molinar, and 3-Pointer from DJ Jeffries as the Mississippi State evened the score at 40 with 17:26 on the clock. MSU subsequently started to click offensively and attacked the paint effectively to finish at the rim and take advantage of free-throw opportunities, putting together a 13-3 scoring run to build the game’s first double-digit advantage at a score of 53-43 with 13:17 remaining. After two free-throws from Oquendo and fast-break layup from Rocket Watts, Jabri Abdur-Rahim executed a personal 7-0 run over 1:11 with an and-1 layup, mid-range jumper, and pair of free-throws to rally the Dawgs and bring the game back within one score as the halfway point of the second half drew near. Mississippi State answered with consecutive and-1 conversions from Molinar and Andersson Garcia before a dunk from Javian Davis put the squad back up by double figures as they led 63-52 with 8:55 to go in the contest. UGA tried to claw back yet again as a bucket from Oquendo and 3-Pointer from Noah Baumann trimmed the deficit to 6 points before Mississippi State tore off another scoring run, putting up 9 unanswered points as their lead sprawled to 15 points with under 6 minutes of action left. MSU continued to attack the basket tenaciously, scoring their final 16 points of the game in the paint as they went on to secure 88-72 victory.

The differential in paint points was the primary storyline of the game, as Mississippi State concluded the contest holding a whopping 30-point, 58-28 advantage over Georgia in that category. In addition to controlling the paint on the offensive end, MSU also dominated defensively down low, recording 10 blocked shots, 4 of which came from Garrison Brooks while DJ Jeffries added 3.





MSU also got tremendous offensive contribution off their bench, as the substitutes notched 31 points while Davis and Garcia both scored in double-figures.

In a post-game press conference, Head Coach Tom Crean commented on the second half struggles for the Dawgs, asserting that “we weren’t as aggressive as we needed to be, like we were in the first half and our low-post defense wasn’t where it needed to be.” Crean added that the team seemed to “let go of the rope, basically, shortly after the 8 minute timeout when it was still a highly winnable game.” Constructively, he noted that, in similar situations moving forward, “you just have to bear down and not watch the score as much as try to get stops.” Scoring droughts are unavoidable in the world of college basketball, and the key for the Dawgs in future outings will be to combat offensive difficulties with an elevation of defensive intensity and poise.

Crean further elaborated on the nuance of the offensive deficiencies later in the interview. Georgia finished the game with just 8 total assists as a team, marking a season-low, which was indicative of the “attack” mindset firmly held by both teams all night. Crean commented that “we missed a lot of throwbacks tonight for open shots, and that was a big part of our game plan, and we missed those things.” He added that “we missed some wide-open passes that would’ve given us open shots, especially in the pick-and-roll game on the weak side of the floor, and we just didn’t play as smart as we needed to.”

Wednesday’s loss brings Georgia’s record to 5-11 on the season as they continue to search for their first victory in conference play. The Dawgs will host Vanderbilt in their next matchup on Saturday, January 15th, in Stegman Coliseum.





share content