NCAA BK

Mississippi State beats Florida Gulf Coast 66-53

Share This Story

   
 

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP)

Mississippi State made sure Florida Gulf Coast didn't come close to living up to its high-flying nickname.

Craig Sword scored 17 points, I.J. Ready added 12 and the Bulldogs clamped down on FGCU's offense during a 66-53 victory on Thursday night.

Florida Gulf Coast earned the moniker Dunk City last year thanks to its acrobatic dunks during a run to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16. But the Eagles rarely ran and had zero dunks against the Bulldogs, who made an obvious effort to get back on defense and squash any fast-break attempts.

''Dunk City feeds off their dunks so we came out tonight and said they weren't going to get any,'' Mississippi State guard Fred Thomas said.

Without them, Florida Gulf Coast's offense went flat. The Eagles had only four fast-break points the entire night.

Mississippi State (8-2) has won three straight. The Bulldogs received plenty of help from their bench - with 10 points each from Thomas and Roquez Johnson - outscoring Florida Gulf Coast's reserves 25-4.

FGCU (5-6) has lost five of its last six games. Brett Comer led the Eagles with 15 points while Chase Fieler added 11. The Eagles shot just 3 of 18 (16.7 percent) from 3-point range.

The 53 points were Florida Gulf Coast's fewest of the season. The Eagles had 21 turnovers - struggling to convert opportunities in their half-court sets - and trailed for good after Mississippi State's Thomas hit a 3-pointer to make it 10-8 with 14:41 left in the first half.

''I thought this was our best defensive effort of the year,'' Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said. ''I thought it was the best we've played (this year).''

Sword continued his terrific and efficient December, shooting 6 of 8 from the field against the Eagles. The 6-foot-3 sophomore is averaging 20.6 points over his last five games and has made 35 of 49 shots (71.4 percent) from the field over the same span.

Sword's only issue on Thursday night was at the free-throw line, where he made just 5 of 11 attempts.

But that's a small complaint for a guy that's been the catalyst for just about everything the Bulldogs have done this season. He's also arguably the team's best defender, and added a pair of steals against the Eagles.

''He's a good basketball player and when it's all said and done that's what you need,'' Ray said. ''We can X and O until the cows come home, but you need guys who can make plays.''

Gavin Ware also added 10 points and six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who out-rebounded Florida Gulf Coast 33-30.

Ray was pleased his team had such a defensive focus against the Eagles and hopes that effort will carry over as Southeastern Conference play quickly approaches.

''I would hope that they don't want to get dunked on any game,'' Ray said laughing. ''But I think that Florida Gulf Coast is really lethal in transition. We made a point of that - we can't let these guys get in transition.''

Florida Gulf Coast kept it close for much of the night, pulling within 49-41 on Bernard Thompson's 3-pointer with 8:58 remaining, but couldn't overcome the constant turnovers and missed opportunities.

Comer shot 7 of 13 from the field and had three assists. Jamail Jones scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds but also had seven turnovers.

''When you're throwing the ball the other way it's hard,'' Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley said. ''I thought from a passing and catching standpoint, we were very poor.''

-----

Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

Tagged: Mississippi State, Florida, Mississippi, Florida Gulf Coast

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..