Frazier Lights Up K.C. With Career Night

Winsome Frazier has been giving Mississippi State offense this early season. Through five games he was contributing 11.6 points, and it was his timely baskets that ticketed the Bulldogs for the New York City rounds of the Coaches Vs. Cancer Classic. But Frazier had yet to really light up a scoreboard this November.

Tuesday night he took care of that business with the best outing of his college career.

The senior guard poured in 30 points, and hit eight three-point goals to lead State past visiting Missouri-Kansas City 82-64 in Humphrey Coliseum. The Bulldogs ended the first month of their season 5-1 and on a three-game win streak. The Kangaroos left town with a loss in their first game of the season.

"It's an early Thanksgiving present," Frazier said. "It's the best game I've had in my life."

That certainly was a statistical fact. Frazier had spent five games struggling to find his perimeter touch, with just 36% accuracy so far and only eight treys to-date. With UMKC playing the same type of zone everyone else has against State, though, the Bulldogs looked to their senior shooter for outside help.

Frazier delivered. "When he gets into a groove this is what happens," Coach Rick Stansbury said, after the Miami native tied the MSU game record of eight treys already shared by Darryl Wilson, Marckell Patterson, and Antonio Jackson.

"He's a streak shooter sometimes," the coach noted. "The other night he couldn't by a shot. Tonight he couldn't miss a shot."

Frazier did miss some shots, but an 11-of-19 overall, and 8-of-15 at the arc, evening left little to critique. Which, it turns out, some of his teammates had been doing. "We'd been getting on Winsome all week," point guard Gary Ervin said. "The other day he went 2-for-11, so yesterday after practice he stayed and shot some. And he came out on fire tonight."

Not that Frazier needed the extra work as motivation to light his fuse Tuesday night. "As a shooter you've always got to have confidence, you've got to want to shoot." And he did, shrugging off a couple of early misses before burning holes in the Kangaroo zone and scoring 19 of his points in the first half.

UMKC did give the home team all State could handle for the first 15 minutes, with 6-10, 320-pound Aaron bulling inside for baskets and their entire backcourt popping away from the perimeter. The Kangaroos converted on enough opportunities to stay in front from 15:35 to 6:45, with as much as a six-point lead at 11-5 and 19-13.

Frazier did not get on the board for the opening five minutes, but at 14:14 he hit his first three. The next came 46 seconds later. He turned a steal into a dunk at 9:10 to briefly get State within a point, 19-18, and hit another longball at 7:27 to keep the margin at one.

It was free throws by Marcus Cambpell at 6:45 that gave the Bulldogs the lead, 23-22. But it was mostly Frazier's shooting that stretched the margin to as much as 11 points. He tipped in a missed trey by Harper, then hammered home his fifth three-ball of the half for a 38-27 lead. It took a 24-footer by Mark Huppe to keep the Kangaroos within eight at intermission, and a basket to open the half had the deficit down to 38-32.

But any notion the Mid-Continent Conference club would keep this a contest lasted only as long as it took Frazier to stick another trey, this on the turnaround at 19:03. The acrobatic shot helped spread the zone out and opened up the inside for MSU postmen. Center Campbell and forward Lawrence Roberts took advantage, scoring 16 of the next 20 Bulldog points as the lead inflated to 61-44 by the ten-minute mark.

"We made some adjustments," Stansbury said, "and Gary did a good job getting in the gaps and creating some plays for Lawrence and Campbell."

A trey by guard Shane Power pushed the lead to 20 at 9:10, and the margin would reach as much as 24 points with two minutes still to play. Frazier stayed in long enough to finish his night in personal-best style. He surpassed his previous best effort, 26 points against Auburn last March, with a bomb from the left wing at 4:58. For good measure Frazier threw in one last longball, the career-best eighth, at 2:34, and then took his seat.

Roberts was not able to repeat his historic ‘triple-double' of Sunday, but he did get a ‘double-double' with 15 points and 13 rebounds. It was the 40th of his college career, which leads all active NCAA players. Campbell had a career night of his own, giving State 18 points with nine rebounds and making eight of his ten shots. "It was good tonight to see him productive," Stansbury said. "This is by far the most effective he's been against zones." Ervin finished with 10 assists, his own college best, but nobody's numbers matched what Frazier did. "We wanted to make them shoot jump shots all night," UMKC Coach Rich Zvosec said. "It worked for about 15 minutes."

Now the Bulldogs, who don't play again until hosting South Alabama on December 2, can take a holiday break of sorts. It's been a busy few weeks to open the season, and Stansbury thought his team was showing some strain. "I thought we came out and played like it was the sixth game in 12 days, and fourth game in six days," Stansbury said. "I didn't think we had the zip. Luckily enough Winsome loosened up and made some shots."

State will have a Wednesday practice, pause for Thanksgiving, and be back on the practice floor this weekend. "It ended up being a nine-day break," Stansbury said. "But we need it."

The Dogs also end the month on a winning note, something Stansbury teams have been good at. In his seven Novembers, the coach has built up a 26-5 record. Now, he can start thinking of December.

"No question there are a lot of areas we have to work on, but at this point we have played enough games against the right kind of competition that we have had some things exposed. That is a plus for us right now."

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