STARKVILLE, Miss. - An attractive 15-game home schedule and a Thanksgiving weekend appearance in the inaugural Anaheim Classic highlight Mississippi State University's 2007-08 men's basketball schedule, as announced this week by MSU Director of Athletics Larry Templeton.
In addition, MState's competitive 30-game, regular-season slate will feature as many as 16 outings against opponents that participated in either the NCAA Tournament or National Invitation Tournament a season ago.
Coming off last year's appearance in the NIT Semifinals, coach Rick Stansbury's defending SEC Western Division Champion Bulldogs will tip off the school's 96th season of collegiate basketball competition with a three-game homestand by playing host to Louisiana Tech (Nov. 10), reigning NIT runner-up Clemson (Nov. 15) out of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee-Martin (Nov. 17).
The Bulldogs' first road trip of the campaign will take them to California during the Thanksgiving holiday for the inaugural Anaheim Classic. Set for Nov. 22-25 at the 7,500-seat Anaheim Convention Center, the entire tournament will be aired nationally on either ESPN2 or ESPNU. MSU will open the eight-team, 12-game tournament on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22) by taking on UC Irvine out of the host Big West Conference, while advancing to meet either reigning NCAA Sweet 16 entry Southern Illinois or Chattanooga in Friday's second-round action. With final-round tournament action set for Sunday, the other participating teams in Anaheim include fellow NCAA Tournament participants Southern California and Miami (Ohio), along with South Alabama and San Diego.
After beginning the month of December with another three-game homestand at 10,500-seat Humphrey Coliseum - Murray State on Dec. 1, Southeastern Louisiana on Dec. 8, and ACC foe Miami (Fla.) on Dec. 13 - the Bulldogs will then leave campus for three consecutive games prior to Christmas by traveling to South Alabama in Mobile (Dec. 15), Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles (Dec. 19), and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 21).
Headlined by returning all-SEC veteran standouts Jamont Gordon and Charles Rhodes from last year's 21-14 squad, State will conclude non-conference action by welcoming Big 12 Conference member Missouri to Starkville for a Dec. 29 contest and then taking on Pennsylvania-based Lafayette College of the Patriot League on Jan. 5 in Jackson. This season will mark the fifth time in the last six years that Mississippi State will compete in the state's capital city.
The Bulldogs' 16-game SEC regular-season slate will commence with a Jan. 9 road contest against LSU followed by a stretch of six consecutive televised league contests for MSU. Highlighted by nationally televised (ESPN) home encounters against SEC East powerhouse Kentucky (Jan. 15) and SEC West foe Arkansas (Feb. 16), at least 10 of State's 16 conference games are slated for either national or regional television.
This year's SEC Men's Basketball Tournament will be held March 13-16 at Atlanta's Georgia Dome.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Katelyn Graben's goal with four minutes remaining broke a 1-1 tie and gave Mississippi State a 2-1 victory over Kennesaw State in the opening game of the Samford Barber's Invitational.
Hadley Gable dribbled down the right side of the field and sent a shot from the right corner. KSU goalkeeper Katie Piotrowski made the initial save, but Graben knocked in the rebound for the winning goal.
MSU got the first scoring attempt less than three minutes into the game. Bethany Frazier sent a pass to Jessica Davis in front of the net, but Davis shot sailed high. Davis had another opportunity second later, but again sent the ball over the net.
The Owls had a prime opportunity to score in the 15th minute. Bridget Gaughan sent a corner kick towards the far post, where Caitlin Dingle was there to connect with it. But, her shot hit the post, and MSU sent the ball out of the zone.
KSU struck first in the 22nd minute. Dingle sent a pass to Annie Phillips, who got behind the defense and slipped a shot past goalkeeper Taryn Holland. However, she hit the post, only to get the rebound and send the ball into the open net.
The Bulldogs tied the game 13 minutes later. Off a corner, Caitlin Gallagher dropped a pass off to Frazier, who sent a cross towards the net from 25 feet out, where Treena Ferguson headed the ball into the net.
The second half started with a flurry. Less than a minute in, State was called for a foul in the box, giving Kennesaw State's Caroline Austin a penalty shot. Austin tried to go left, but Holland timed it, made the save and corralled the rebound, keeping the game knotted at one. The teams battled back and forth for the rest of the half until Graben's game-winner.
"I thought it was a very physical game," said MSU head coach Neil MacDonald. "I thought that we matched them in every area. I was very pleased with the way we possessed the ball. I thought that we worked it around well, creating a lot of good chances, particularly in the second half. I thought it was a very evenly matched game, but over the course of it I thought we deserved to win it."
Mississippi State returns to action this Sunday at 11:30 a.m. (CT) when it closes out the tournament against Georgia Southern.