Starkville, MS – A good old-fashioned dog fight will take place in Starkville today, as SEC foes Georgia and Mississippi State do battle at Humphrey Coliseum.
Georgia comes in with an overall record of 11-12, and the team's 2-7 conference mark has it just a game above last-place South Carolina in the SEC standings. The Bulldogs did manage to put one in the win column the last time out, as they whipped visiting Arkansas in an 81-59 final on Wednesday night. Georgia is just 1-6 in true road games this season, and the team has lost its last four trips away from Athens.
Mississippi State comes into the weekend sporting an impressive 19-5 mark, and the team has won six of its first nine league bouts. As a result, the Bulldogs are ranked 20th in the most recent AP poll, and they'll be hoping to improve upon their near-perfect 14-1 home mark with a win today. MSU has won its last two games, the most recent being a 70-60 decision at home over bitter rival Ole Miss, and coach Rick Stansbury's squad has won four of its last five bouts overall.
Mississippi State owns a narrow 52-50 lead in the all-time series with Georgia, but it was the latter that won the last encounter, shooting the lights out in claiming an 86-64 triumph on January 22, 2011 in Athens.
Gerald Robinson went off in Georgia's recent rout of Arkansas, as he hit 10- of-13 field goal attempts in scoring a career-high 27 points. He also added six rebounds and five assists to his stat line, and the Bulldogs wound up shooting 52.6 percent from the floor and putting another three players in double figures. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drained three of the team's nine three-pointers on the night as he added 18 points, Nemanja Djurisic contributed 14 points off the bench, and Marcus Thornton chipped in 10 points for a Georgia team that not only performed at the offensive end, but dialed up the defense as well in limiting the Razorbacks to 36.7 percent field goal efficiency, all while easily winning the rebounding battle, 44-21. Caldwell- Pope and Robinson are the team's only double-digit scorers on the season, and only a tenth of a point separates them at the moment (14.2 to 14.1 ppg). The last game not withstanding, the 'Dawgs have struggled to find their stroke this year, shooting just 39.4 percent from the field, while defensively allowing the opposition to net 63.0 ppg on 42.0 percent field goal efficiency.
Arnett Moultrie was his usual productive self in Mississippi State's recent win over Ole Miss, as the junior forward scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds in playing a game-high 37 minutes. Moultrie wasn't alone in his pursuit of excellence, as point guard Dee Bost logged a double-double consisting of 15 points and 13 assists, Renardo Sidney added 14 points and seven boards, and Rodney Hood finished with 10 points and six rebounds. The Bulldogs won the battle on the boards, 38-33, and hit nine three-pointers to only three for the Rebels. Moultrie is one of a handful of players averaging a double-double this late in the season, as he accounts for 17.0 points and 11.0 caroms per contest, while Bost (15.8 ppg, 5.1 apg), Hood (11.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Sidney (10.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg) have all been consistent contributors as well. As a team, MSU is scoring a healthy 73.7 ppg in hitting 46.5 percent of its total shots and 36.8 percent of its long-range launches, while at the other end allowing foes to net 66.4 ppg behind typical shooting outputs of 43.0 percent overall and 34.3 percent from beyond the arc. The team is +3.9 in rebounding margin, but -0.6 in turnover differential.