MSU to Host Southeastern Louisiana

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Looking to bounce back from their first setback of the young basketball season, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State (3-1) continue their current five-game homestand Monday evening by playing host to the Southeastern Louisiana University Lions (1-1) on the MSU campus. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.

In the midst of playing their first six games of the season in a 12-day span, coach Rick Stansbury's 3-1 Bulldogs squandered a 21-point halftime lead this past Saturday night in dropping a 76-75 overtime home decision to preseason Southland Conference favorite Northwestern State. In addition to snapping MSU's 18-game home winning streak versus non-conference opponents, Saturday's setback to the NSU Demons also marked both the largest halftime lead and largest lead overall (21 points) surrendered in a loss since Stansbury took over Mississippi State's head coaching duties in 1998. Now 6-7 in overtime contests during the Stansbury era, Saturday's game marked MSU's first overtime decision since falling to Vanderbilt during the 2004 SEC Tournament played in Atlanta, Ga.

Continuing to rank high among the SEC's team statistical leaders in scoring defense (56.2 ppg), field-goal percentage defense (33.3%) and three-point field goal percentage defense (19.0%) on the year, Mississippi State opened the 2005-06 regular season with home triumphs over Chattanooga (64-48) and Arkansas State (68-63) before extending its road winning streak against non-conference opposition to 15 consecutive games with last Wednesday's 53-38 victory at Charlotte. In the Charlotte contest, State held the 49ers to their lowest single-game scoring total and worst shooting effort from the field (21.7%) in the school's history.

Individually on the season, freshman swingman Jamont Gordon enters the week's activity leading the Bulldogs in scoring at 12.3 points per game. Rated as one of the nation's top 11 freshmen of impact this season by CBS, Gordon totaled 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals in Saturday's overtime loss to Northwestern State. Veteran guards Dietric Slater and Jamall Edmondson are also averaging in double figures at 11.5 and 11.3 points per contest, respectively. On the heels of recording his first collegiate double-double with career highs in both points (13) and rebounds (11) this past Saturday, senior center Wesley Morgan leads State in rebounding at 7.8 boards per outing along with contributing 6.3 points per game.

Guided by first-year head coach Jim Yarbrough, the Lions of Southeastern Louisiana have captured at least a share of the past two Southland Conference regular-season titles. A year ago, Southeastern claimed a share of the regular-season league crown with Northwestern State en route to winning the SLC Tournament and making the school's first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. This season, the Lions have opened the campaign by splitting a pair of home decisions. After a surprising 76-69 home setback to Texas Wesleyan in the opener, Southeastern bounced back to post a 71-68 home victory over Sun Belt Conference newcomer Troy this past Friday in Hammond. The Lions are led by senior forward and reigning Southland Conference Newcomer of the Year Ricky Woods, who tops the club in scoring (18.0 ppg), rebounding (12.0 rpg) and blocks (7). Junior college transfer guard Daryl Cohen scored 18 points on 5-of-10 three-point shooting in his Southeastern debut this past Friday against Troy, while senior center Jonathan Walker is also averaging a double-double on the young season at 12.5 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest.

Mississippi State's busy week of basketball action continues on Wednesday, as the University of New Orleans - MSU's third straight Louisiana-based opponent - visits Humphrey Coliseum for a 7 p.m. contest against the Bulldogs. The Privateers out of the Sun Belt Conference will bring a 1-2 record to Starkville for Wednesday's contest. The Bulldogs will then close out the week by playing host to the Santa Clara Broncos of the West Coast Conference in a Saturday afternoon tilt set to be televised regionally by Fox Sports Net South/Sunshine Network beginning at 1 p.m. on the MSU campus.

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