STARKVILLE, Miss. – No more scrimmages. No more exhibitions. Now, every game counts.
Mississippi State opens its 102nd season of basketball on Friday night as it hosts SWAC foe Prairie View A&M. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. at Humphrey Coliseum and the game can be viewed via audio and video streaming by HailStateTV subscribers.
The Bulldogs are 78-23 all-time in season openers and have won 22 of the last 28 dating back to the 1985-86 campaign.
In his second season as head coach, Rick Ray returns seven players from last season’s squad, including SEC All-Freshman Team members Craig Sword and Gavin Ware. Ray also welcomes talented newcomers in freshman point guard I.J. Ready and injured returnees from last season in Dre Applewhite and Jacoby Davis.
On Sunday, Mississippi State faced Auburn Montgomery in exhibition action and raced out to an 86-57 victory. Senior forward Colin Borchert led the way with 23 points, while Ware posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Prairie View A&M enters the contest coming off a season that saw them fall just short of claiming an NCAA Tournament berth, as they reached the SWAC Tournament Championship Game for the first time since 1998. The Panthers lost their top two scorers from last year, but return the SWAC Preseason Defensive Player of the Year in Jules Montgomery. Coach Byron Rimm's squad was predicted to finish fourth in the season’s SWAC Preseason Poll.
MSU has only faced Prairie View A&M once, a 97-52 victory in 1992 as part of the Louisiana Classics Tip-Off.
Following Friday’s lid-lifter, the Bulldogs host Kennesaw State on Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.