Bulldogs Welcome The Harlem Globetrotters

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Tabbed with a No. 12 preseason national ranking in this week's Associated Press Top 25 poll, the Mississippi State Bulldogs close out their exhibition basketball slate by playing host to the Harlem Globetrotters Thursday evening on the MSU campus. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum, and tickets are available at $12 apiece.

Also ranked 13th in the preseason ESPN/USA Today Top 25 coaches' poll, coach Rick Stansbury's Bulldogs opened preseason competition this past Saturday night with an 80-56 home victory over the Branch West Basketball Academy of California. Sophomore center Marcus Campbell paced a half-dozen Bulldog double-digit scorers with 14 points on 7-of-10 field-goal shooting against BWBA, along with collecting 10 rebounds in the contest. Senior forward Michal Ignerski also registered a double-double for the winners with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds to help MSU maintain a 46-33 advantage on the boards.

For the third consecutive year, the Harlem Globetrotters are challenging some of the nation's top collegiate teams by embarking on a nine-game, 18-day 2002 Fall College Tour. After opening their current tour with consecutive wins over Purdue (83-64 on Nov. 5), St. John's (86-61 on Nov. 8 at Madison Square Garden) and Western Kentucky (69-54 on Nov. 9), the 3-2 Globetrotters have since dropped decisions to Vanderbilt (70-68) and reigning national champion Maryland (97-79) this past Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Following their Thursday outing in Starkville, the Globetrotters' 2002 Fall College Tour will conclude with contests against Connecticut (Nov. 16 at the Hartford Civic Center), Central Connecticut State (Nov. 19 at the Mohegan Sun Arena) and Ohio State (Nov. 22).

Guided by former Eastern Michigan head coach Milton Barnes (1996-2000), who last year led the Greenville Groove to the NBDL title in the league's inaugural season, the Harlem Globetrotters presently have three former NBA players listed on their collegiate tour roster in Cedric Ceballos, Olden Polynice and ex-Arkansas standout swingman Todd Day. Current Globetrotter guard Brandon Dean also starred at Arkansas, completing his career in Fayetteville last year ranked 21st on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,130 career points.

The Bulldogs will tip off their 91st season of collegiate basketball competition with a six-game homestand - their longest season-opening homestand since the 1944-45 campaign - by first playing host to Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday, Nov. 23. Tip-off for MSU's regular-season opener at Humphrey Coliseum is set for 6 p.m., following the Bulldogs' 1:30 p.m. home football clash against the Arkansas Razorbacks.

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