LSU takes down Bulldogs
By By Richard Dark / EMG staff writer
Jan. 12, 2003
BATON ROUGE Before this week, the Mississippi State Bulldogs had not been ranked as high as seventh in the Associated Press poll ins 40 years. Any more weeks like this one and they may not be back to this spot for quite a while.
The Bulldogs were outgunned in very hostile territory by the LSU Tigers 85-72, in front of 11,653 here at the Pete Arabic Assembly Center Saturday night.
The loss was the second straight for the Bulldogs (10-3, 0-2) who are still searching for their first SEC win.
tate didn't get much production out of the center spot from former Sumter County standout Mario Austin. Still gimpy from a bruised kneecap he received in Tuesday's loss to Florida, Austin put in a courageous effort with 17 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes of work.
But Austin was no where near the defensive force he has been too this point of his collegiate career, as LSU's front line players were able to exploit the middle and control the tempo and flow of the contest.
The other Bulldogs didn't fare much better, as LSU recorded a 63 percent shooting performance that included 50 per cent from the land of three. The Bulldogs could only muster 46 percent.
The Tigers (11-2, 1-1 in SEC) lead throughout, save for the opening minutes of the first half. Forward Jaime Lloreda paced the Tigers offensive attack with 19 points, but it was a big 3-pointer by LSU guard Torris Bright (17 pts, 10 asts.) that gave the hosts a 12-point cushion with 3:48 to go in the first half. Michal Ignerski scored 11 of his 14 in the first half.
But MSU got back into it with a 6-0 run which was fueled by a pair of treys by Timmy Bowers. Bowers had the hot hand for State all night with 5-of-8 from beyond the arc on the way to a 17-point night.
He continued to keep the Bulldogs within shouting distance, despite a big burst to start the second half by LSU.
Lloreda may have been the game's best player, as he was all over the place in the opening minutes, single-handedly ballooning a six-point halftime lead to 10, despite a pair of buckets by Austin.
After Austin's free throws pulled State to within eight, Derrick Zimmerman and Ontario Harper helped the Bulldogs grind the lead down to just three, much to the chagrin of the partisan crowd.
After Winsome Frazier's triple got MSU to within 58-55 at the 10:18 mark, the Tigers ran away on a 12-5 tear.
The end had to be painfully ironic for the Bulldogs, as Biloxi native Ronald Dupree was the Tiger that stuck the final dagger in with a bucket and fast break dunk to push the margin to 17 with 2:35 left.
MSU shot 8-of-10 from the foul line and the Tigers won the rebounding war by a 31-24 count.