News from MSU Media Relations--November 17

The latest sports news from the MSU Media Relations Department...Men's Basketball and Volleyball.

Men's Basketball
Starkville, Miss. - After opening the year with an impressive 77-55 victory against Centenary on Saturday afternoon, Mississippi State looks to improve to 2-0 when Louisiana-Monroe visits Humphrey Coliseum on Monday.

Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Like MSU, the Warhawks began the year on a positive note as they claimed a hard-fought 56-54 victory against Morehead State this past Friday.

Monday's meeting marks the 14th time the two have met, with the Bulldogs holding an 11-2 advantage.

Against the Gents, sophomore guard Ravern Johnson paced the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Barry Stewart added 13, followed by Elgin Bailey with 10. Jarvis Varnado just missed out on a double-double with nine points and 11 rebounds. He also had seven blocked shots and is now just 18 blocks shy of tying Erick Dampier's school record of 249 set from 1994-96.

After Monday, Mississippi State continues its four-game home stand to open the season when it plays North Alabama in the opening round of the Legends Classic at 7 p.m.

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Instate rival Ole Miss turned back a strong Mississippi State challenge in the second set Sunday afternoon and went on to notch a straight-sets win over the Bulldogs (6-22, 1-16 SEC) at the Newell-Grissom Building.

The win (25-19, 25-23, 25-18) gave UM (12-14, 8-9 SEC) a sweep of the two-match series and ended a run of four consecutive home court wins in the series for the Bulldogs.

Junior outside hitter Ioana Demian paced the Bulldogs with nine kills. Ashley Newsome added seven kills and five blocks and Mandy Mellencamp finished with six kills.

Katie Norris delivered a match-high 14 kills while Caitlin Weiss tallied 12 and Emily Jones nine for UM. The Rebels finished with a 48-32 edge in kills.

State jumped out impressively early in the opening set, bolting to a 6-2 with freshman Kelsey Nichols at serve. But Norris halted the MSU spurt with a kill and started a 13-0 Rebel run. Thought State out-pointed UM the remainder of the set 13-10, Ole Miss rode five-kill performances by Weiss and Jones for a tone-setting 25-19 win.

UM sprinted to a 5-2 advantage to open the second set, and with an eight-kill effort by Norris, extended the lead to five points. But the Bulldogs staged a late surge that trimmed the lead to a single point at 24-23 before a Bulldog attack error ended the set at 25-23.

The Bulldogs led twice briefly in the early going of the third set and took a 3-2 advantage on a kill by Mellencamp. But UM scored six of the next seven points to take an 8-4 lead and Weiss stepped up with five kills en route to a match-clinching 25-18 UM win.

State got a match-high 16 digs from Kayla Woodard. Freshman Kellye Jordan added 12 digs and Demian chipped in 11.

"Our freshmen continue to show improvement at different times," said coach Tina Seals. "Grace Hoyt had a good week of practice and played well today, and Kellye Jordan keeps taking steps ahead. But we're not able to get the consistency in play as a team to break through in the close sets."

The Bulldogs resume play this weekend in Gainesville, Fla., opening a season-ending three-match road with a Friday night match (6 p.m. CST) against No. 12 Florida (21-3, 15-2 SEC). Florida dropped out of first place in the SEC volleyball title chase Sunday with a 3-2 loss at Kentucky.

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