BASKETBALL BULLDOGS EXHIBIT BETTER DEFENSE

[Premium article] After exhibiting excellent scoring in last Saturday's scrimmage, the basketball Bulldogs showed in yesterday's scrimmage that they can also play a little defense.

Playing four periods consisting of one 20 minute period and three 12 minute periods, the Bulldogs committed more turnovers and had more steals than they did during last Saturday's scrimmage.

Coach Stansbury saw that as a good sign after the team had scored so well in the first scrimmage. "That is probably good," said Coach Stansbury. "I hope our defense has improved some. Defensively, we got into the passing lanes a little better. We put a little better pressure on the ball. This time of year you want your defense to be ahead of your offense."

However, even with the improved play in the defense, Coach Stansbury knows this team must continue to work on its defense. "We have a long way to go defensively and rebounding the basketball. We have to develop the attitude that every possession is the last possession from a defensive and offensive standpoint. We don't have that right now. But our kids are working hard."

Even with the improved defensive play, several players have shined, offensively, in both of the scrimmages. Timmy Bowers and Mario Austin, after having scored 31 and 25 points, respectively in the first scrimmage, had another outstanding scrimmage putting the ball in the hoop. Timmy scored 32 points while Mario chipped in 25. Timmy once again shot well from the three-point range, hitting 4 of 7 after hitting 6 of 7 in the first scrimmage. Even Mario got into the three-point scoring act by hitting 1 of 3.

Coach Stansbury mentioned the consistent play of both players.

"Timmy Bowers had another outstanding game," said Coach Stansbury. "Timmy Bowers has really shown that he doesn't make mistakes and plays with a lot of poise. I have really been impressed with him.

"Mario Austin is going to shoot the three-pointer," Coach Stansbury continued. "That is something that no one saw last year. We have taken about 31 pounds off of him and that has made a huge difference in his play and energy level."

While mentioning Austin and Bowers, Coach Stansbury also said he likes the offense of the entire team. "I feel good offensively, because we have some guys who can score."

The team not only has some players who can score from the field but also seems to have some players who can shoot it from the free throw line as well (41 of 58 attempts (73%) were made from the charity line during yesterday's scrimmage).

Coach Stansbury also believes this team has the potential to be a good three-point shooting team. He explained the reason for this. "I think we have more guys who are capable of making (three-pointers). But at the same time, I think you can get a higher percentage three-pointer when you have more skill level on the court. I think that is what helps this team right now. I think we have some guys who have very good skill. Most of our three-pointers were good shots."

True freshmen Winsome Frazier and Marcus Campbell once again had good days on the offensive side of the court. Both scored 14 points a piece after scoring 18 and 11 points in the first scrimmage.

Both caught Coach Stansbury's eye. "(Frazier) had another good scrimmage. He plays with a lot of confidence for a freshman. I thought Marcus Campbell did some things well."

Besides Austin, Bowers, Campbell and Frazier, several other players scored in double figures. Marckell Patterson scored 31 points, while Derrick Zimmerman continued to show that he has really improved offensively by scoring 22 points. Following them, offensively, were Lincoln Smith with 18 points, Ontario Harper with 14 and Guy Gardner with 13.

One player who did not participate in yesterday's scrimmage was Michael Gholar. "Michael Gholar had a bad case of athletes foot and did not scrimmage today," said Coach Stansbury.

The Bulldogs take the court again next Saturday in a 7 p.m. exhibition game against BWB of California.

[The stats in this article came from the ones that Mary Ann and I kept for the scrimmage. Because of that, they may not match to the exact point the ones from the official site. - Gene Swindoll]


Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.


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