Bulldogs and Wildcats meet for 2K Sports Classic crown

The championship game of the 2K Sports Classic ranked Arizona Wildcats against the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Madison Square Garden in New York City this evening.

Mississippi State figures to enter this game with a wealth of confidence, as the club jumped out to a 22-pooint lead over nationally-ranked Texas A&M last night and held on for a 69-60 victory. Members of the loaded SEC, the Bulldogs are now 3-1 on the young season, and they have posted back-to-back victories since their lone defeat, a 10-point setback to Akron.

Arizona has won all four of its games to date, and each triumph has come by 10 or fewer points. The toughest test came last night at the Garden, as a young and hungry St. John's team was the opponent. The Wildcats took care of business in an 81-72 final, a good sign for head coach Sean Miller as his team continues to prepare for what promises to be a challenging Pac-12 Conference slate.

These two programs have met on three previous occasions, and Arizona has two wins over MSU.

The Bulldogs connected on 50 percent of their shots from the floor in the first half against Texas A&M last night, including a 5-of-8 effort from three- point range. Over the final 20 minutes, they only hit 10-of-30 shots from the field and missed eight of their 15 free throws, but a strong defensive showing sealed the win. MSU finished the game with six more turnovers than assists, but a 19-10 edge in points from the charity stripe proved critical. Dee Bost was tremendous in the win, as the standout guard netted 20 points. Brian Bryant pitched in 12 points and Rodney Hood tallied 10 points for MSU, which survived an 0-of-8 shooting effort from forward Renardo Sidney. Through four outings, the Bulldogs are generating 70.8 ppg while allowing 64.8 ppg to opponents. Bost paces the team with 18.0 ppg, while Arnett Moultrie (14.3 ppg, 11.5 rpg) and Hood (11.8 ppg) have been impressive as well.

Through four outings, Arizona is netting 73.5 ppg while limiting opponents to 64.5 ppg on 40.7 percent shooting from the field. The Wildcats are outrebounding foes by six boards per contest, key to their success thus far. Kyle Fogg paces Arizona with 14.3 ppg, and he has knocked down 7-of-15 three- point attempts. There are four other players averaging double figures in scoring for what is a well-balanced offensive team. Last night, forward Solomon Hill scored 15 points to pace Arizona in the victory over St. John's. The Wildcats shot just 34.4 percent from the floor in the field half before bouncing back with a 50 percent effort over the final 20 minutes. They finished the game with 14 made three-pointers and just 10 turnovers.