Bulldogs Face Providence In SEC/Big East Challenge

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Mississippi State and first-year coach Rick Ray play Providence at 11 a.m. CT Saturday in the SEC/Big East Challenge.
Photo Courtesy of Russ Houston

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Road games have been the norm in the early portion of the schedule, and Saturday is no different as Mississippi State travels to Providence for the SEC-Big East Challenge.

Tip at Dunkin' Donuts Center is set for 11 a.m. CT, and the game will be televised by ESPNU with Mike Crispino and Kara Lawson handling the broadcast.

It's the first meeting between the two programs.

"It's another opportunity for us to get better," said MSU coach Rick Ray, whose team is playing its fifth game away from the friendly confines of Humphrey Coliseum. "It's a challenge we are looking forward to."

In this event, MSU is 2-1. Last year, the Bulldogs upended West Virginia, 75-62. Overall, Mississippi State is 10-14 against the Big East.

The Bulldogs, 2-4, travel to Rhode Island looking to win their second-straight game after upending Alcorn State on Tuesday, 60-42. In that contest, MSU dominated the boards, 50-20, it's highest margin since out-rebounding Arkansas-Little Rock by 32 (55-23) in December of 2003.

Freshman Gavin Ware paced MSU on the glass with 12 rebounds, while Roquez Johnson grabbed 7. Johnson, a sophomore from Montgomery, Ala., leads MSU in scoring (15.2) and is second in rebounding (6.6), while Ware is tops at 7.7.

"We have to continue to improve and understand our roles on the team," said Ware, who is also averaging 9.0 points an outing.

The Friars sport a 5-2 ledger following its 61-42 win against Holy Cross, it's fifth-straight victory at home. Bryce Cotton paced Providence with 27 points and six assists, while LaDontae Henton poured in 19 points.

Cotton leads the Friars in scoring with his 24.3 clip, while Henton is second at 16.1.

After Saturday, the Bulldogs return to action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday at home against Texas-San Antonio.


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