Missouri snapped a short losing skid its last time out, and Mississippi State will attempt to do the same when the teams collide in SEC action Tuesday. The visiting Tigers avoided their third straight loss with a win over Florida on Saturday, while the Bulldogs lost on a buzzer-beater against LSU in their last game, extending their skid to three straight defeats.
Mississippi State led by nine with five minutes remaining against LSU before ultimately falling on a spinning jumper by Skylar Mays as the horn sounded. "That's a really hard one to swallow because I thought our guys battled and deserved to win this game," Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. "We overcame a lot of adversity, but we made plenty of mistakes. Our defense was absolutely tremendous. The only thing that kept us alive was our defense." The Bulldogs hope their defense stands out again versus the Tigers, who poured in 91 points in a 16-point victory over the Gators after falling by double digits to Kentucky and Tennessee. "When you start seeing the ball go in for everybody, it's easy to get rolling," said Missouri's Dru Smith, who finished with 22 points, six assists and five steals. "The crowd gets into it, and it gives you a little more energy."
TIME: 9 p.m. ET. TV: SEC Network
ABOUT MISSOURI (9-6, 1-2 SEC): Smith (12.0 points per game) and Mark Smith (11.3) are quite the same-name combination for the Tigers, who shoot below 33 percent from 3-point range despite strong percentages from both Dru (38.7) and Mark (40.7). Jeremiah Tilmon (9.0 points on 63.6 percent shooting) is out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his foot, putting additional pressure on seldom-used senior Reed Nikko, who has made 15 of his 19 field-goal attempts this season. Xavier Pinson collected eight points, three assists and two steals in a crisp 11-minute effort versus Florida and afterwards credited coach Cuonzo Martin for his improved play.
ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (9-6, 0-3): The Bulldogs shot under 34 percent from the floor against LSU but stayed in the game thanks to a massive 49-31 edge on the glass with Reggie Perry (15 rebounds) and Abdul Ado (12 boards) leading the charge. Each had a double-double on the day, although Perry also had six of the team's 18 turnovers after committing a total of five turnovers in the previous four games. Perry leads the team in scoring at 15.5 points per game, while Nick Weatherspoon (14.0) has produced recently despite shooting 0-of-7 on 3-pointers in his five games this season.
1. Before scoring 91 points against Florida, Missouri entered that game next-to-last in the SEC in scoring (66.7).
2. Mark Smith has made multiple 3-pointers in four straight games.
3. Mississippi State missed 14 of its 17 3-point attempts against LSU.
Key Players to Watch
Starkville, Mississippi, USA.