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Bulldogs Set Sights On Second 5-0 Start In Three Years

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STARKVILLE, Miss. – Digging deep into the record books to find the last time Mississippi State started the season 5-0 wouldn’t be a laborious task, as it occurred in the 2008-09 campaign.

Tuesday, the Bulldogs have a shot at achieving the feat again when Florida Atlantic visits Humphrey Coliseum for a 7 p.m. showdown. Tickets are available and can be purchased at a special price of only $5.

If MSU wins, it would mark the fifth time with Rick Stansbury at the helm the team has started 5-0.

“Well, No. 1, Florida Atlantic is a good team,” the 13th-year coach said. “They played at Florida last week and had chances to win. No. 2, we need to come out more focused than we did the last time, mentally and physically.”

The Bulldogs collected their fourth win of the young season by posting a 93-83 come-from-behind win in overtime against Troy. And it was quite the rally.

With just under 10 minutes to play, the Trojans led 63-52. Leading the charge was senior standout guard Ravern Johnson, who scored a career-best 33 points and drained seven 3-pointers. It was the second time this season the Lyon, Miss., native eclipsed the 30-point mark, and as a result, he leads the league and is fifth nationally with his 27.3 scoring clip.

He was one of five players scoring in double-digits, as Brian Bryant totaled 15, followed by Riley Benock (12), Kodi Augustus (11) and Jalen Steele (10). Augustus also had 11 rebounds to give him his third double-double of the season, which ties him with Kentucky’s Terrance Jones for the most in the SEC.

“Right now, I realize most of the scoring load is put on me,” Johnson said. “That is something I am glad to accept. We just have to keep getting better at the little things, and keep improving as a team.”

The Bulldogs also overcame a 9-point deficit in the second half against Appalachian State, a trend Benock said doesn’t need to become a constant theme.

“That is something we don’t want to get used to doing,” he said.

The Owls come to Starkville with a 3-4 ledger and looking to snap a three-game losing skid. They are led in scoring by Greg Gantt and Dennis Mavin at 16.0 and 11.4 points, respectively.
It will be the first meeting between the two schools.

After Tuesday, the Bulldogs don’t play again until Dec. 11, the start of five games in five days before the team heads to the Bahamas to begin a five-game road swing that include stops in Hawaii and Las Vegas.


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