Rested Bulldogs Host Troy University

STARKVILLE, Miss. - After playing their first seven games of the season during a busy 15-day span, the Bulldogs of Mississippi State (5-2) return from a week-long break for final exams to conclude their current five-game homestand by playing host to the Troy University Trojans (3-2) Saturday evening on the MSU campus. Tip-off for the seventh renewal of the MSU-Troy hoops series - the first hardwood meeting between the two teams in a decade - is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum.

Coach Rick Stansbury's 5-2 Bulldogs have put together a two-game winning streak after dropping back-to-back home decisions to non-conference opponents for the first time in 20 years. Mississippi State opened its current five-game, two-week homestand by falling to a pair of Southland Conference foes, first losing, 76-75 in overtime, to preseason league favorite Northwestern State on Nov. 26 and then falling, 57-46, two nights later (Nov. 28) to reigning NCAA Tournament participant Southeastern Louisiana. The Bulldogs have since rebounded to record consecutive home triumphs over New Orleans (67-59) and Santa Clara (82-69 in OT) on Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, respectively.

As a team, MSU has bounced back from its lowest scoring output (46 points vs. Southeastern Louisiana) since the 2003 NCAA Tournament and its worst single-game shooting effort (25.5% vs. SLU) in nearly a decade by registering the team's two-best shooting performances to date this season in last week's victories over UNO and SCU. In the recent home wins over New Orleans and Santa Clara, the Bulldogs combined to hit 51.0 percent (53-of-104 FGs) of their overall field goals and also 51.0 percent (25-of-49 treys) of their 3-pointers as a team. After shooting 48.9 percent (23-of-47 FGs) from the field, including 52.4 percent (11-of-21 treys) from beyond the arc, against UNO, State followed with a season-best 52.6 percent (30-of-57 FGs) field-goal accuracy mark, including matching a single-game school standard with 14 made 3-pointers (in 28 attempts), during last Saturday's overtime home triumph over the Broncos of Santa Clara.

For the season, Mississippi State continues to lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense (58.6 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (34.8%) in addition to ranking second in the league in three-point field-goal percentage defense (25.6%) and rebounding (41.3 rpg).

Individually, senior playmaker Jamall Edmondson heads a trio of double-digit scorers on the year for the Bulldogs. Having recently set new career highs with 26 points against New Orleans and eight assists (and 19 points) versus Santa Clara, Edmondson currently tops the SEC in minutes played (36.9 mpg) along with ranking 12th in scoring (14.9 ppg) and seventh in free-throw percentage (78.1%). Current SEC Freshman of the Week Jamont Gordon ranks second on the team in scoring (13.4 ppg; 18th in SEC), rebounding (6.1 rpg; 14th in SEC), assists (2.4 apg) and steals (1.0 spg). Standing as the lone league player to rank among the SEC's top-four freshmen leaders in scoring, rebounding and assists, Gordon most recently totaled season highs in points (20), rebounds (9), assists (5) and blocks (2) in Saturday's overtime win over Santa Clara.

Marking MSU's third and final Sun Belt Conference opponent of the regular season, first-year league member Troy University is 3-2 on the season after claiming an 87-66 home victory over Stillman this past Saturday. Guided by 24th-year head coach Don Maestri, the Trojans have dropped road decisions to Southeastern Louisiana (71-68) and Columbia University (73-71). With five players averaging 9.6 points per game or better on the year and averaging 86.2 points per contest as a team, Troy is paced by the senior backcourt tandem of Jacob Hazouri and Bobby Dixon, who are averaging 16.6 and 16.0 points an outing, respectively, on the season.

Upon wrapping up their current five-game homestand on Saturday, the Bulldogs will next take on Jacksonville State this coming Thursday (Dec. 15) at Jackson's Mississippi Coliseum. Tickets for next Thursday's MSU-JSU game in Jackson are available at the Mississippi Coliseum Box Office and at all Ticketmaster locations. MSU will then participate in the San Juan Shootout, Dec. 19-21, in Puerto Rico to close out its pre-Christmas slate.

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