Bulldogs Continue Homestand Against Mountaineers

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Kodi Augustus recorded his third-career double-double against Tennessee State with 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Photo Courtesy of hailstate.com

STARKVILLE, Miss. – After opening the season a week ago with a 10-point victory against Tennessee State, Mississippi State returns to action at 7 p.m. on Friday in a key showdown against Southern Conference foe Appalachian State.

It will be the first meeting between the two schools, and the Mountaineers are one of four teams this season MSU is facing for the first time.

“It was good to get that first win, but we had a lot to work on this week in practice,” 13th-year Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury said. “As I’ve said all along, until we get all of our pieces in play, it’s going to be a work in progress.”

Mississippi State rallied from a 5-point deficit to upend Tennessee State and did so behind the play of Ravern Johnson and Kodi Augustus, in addition to solid free throw shooting in the closing minutes.

Johnson scored a career-high 32 points and drained 13 of his 14 free throws, while Augustus recorded his third-career double-double with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Johnson’s 32 points and Augustus’ 14 boards were tops in the SEC.

“By the second half, I kind of understood how their defense was working, so I knew I had to be aggressive and get to the line,” Johnson said.

In the final three minutes, Mississippi State was 11 of 12 at the charity stripe and Johnson was 4 of 4.

The senior guard from Lyon, Miss., also reached a major milestone as he became the 32nd player in school history to score 1,000 points for a career. The feat was achieved with 18 seconds to play when he made both of his free throw attempts.

The game also featured three players making their first-career starts – guards Riley Benock and Twany Beckham and forward Elgin Bailey. In addition, freshmen Jalen Steele and Shaun Smith and junior college transfer Brian Bryant made their collegiate debuts.

“I got all of the jitters out last week, so, I was ready to go,” said Bryant, in reference to the exhibition outing against Lindsey Wilson.

The Mountaineers enter the game sporting a 2-0 ledger with wins at Tulsa and at home against Montreat.

Through two games, ASU is averaging 95 points, paced by Omar Carter’s 27.5 clip.

After Friday, the Bulldogs have a quick turnaround as Detroit visits Humphrey Coliseum at 7 p.m. Monday. Tickets are available for both games and can be purchased for $5 on game day at the coliseum ticket office.

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