Bulldogs Open SEC Tournament Play Against South Carolina

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Roquez Johnson has scored in double-digits the last three games for Mississippi State.
Photo Courtesy of Bill Simmonds

STARKVILLE, Miss. - Following a successful conclusion to the regular season, Mississippi State looks to continue its winning ways in the Music City as it begins Southeastern Conference Tournament play against South Carolina on Wednesday.

The SEC Network will televise the 6:30 p.m. showdown at Bridgestone Arena. Dave Neal, Jon Sundvold, and Shannon Spake will provide courtside analysis for the tournament's opening game.

Wednesday's contest will serve as a rubber match between the Bulldogs and the Gamecocks. MSU (9-21, 4-14) earned a 56-54 victory in Starkville on Jan. 9, while USC (14-17, 4-14) returned the favor with a 79-72 win last week in Columbia.

Mississippi State won its last two home games to gain a sense of momentum heading into the postseason, including a thrilling 74-71 overtime victory against Auburn on Saturday.

Colin Borchert recorded his first career double-double by netting 20 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Craig Sword's 19 points and six assists helped him earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the second time this season.

South Carolina fell 74-64 at Vanderbilt on Saturday. Brenton Williams scored 17 points for Coach Frank Martin's squad.

Sword paces the Bulldogs with 10.3 points per game, while Williams leads with Gamecocks with 11.1 points an outing.

Wednesday's matchup boasts two of the league's best young rebounders with USC's Michael Carrera (7.3) and MSU's Gavin Ware (6.4) ranking first and second, respectively, in rebounding among active SEC freshmen.

"Frank Martin's team is going to play hard and compete," MSU head coach Rick Ray said. "We've got to find a way to not turn the basketball over and guard Brenton Williams, and I think we have a chance to beat them."

The winner of Wednesday's clash will advance to face Tennessee on Thursday at 2:30 p.m.


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