Mississippi St.-Detroit Preview

Mississippi State is off to its best start in eight seasons and

could look even better in its first true road game.

The 17th-ranked Bulldogs should have two key players back as

they try to stretch their win streak to 10 games Saturday against

Detroit.

Mississippi State (10-1) will play its first game away from home

since beating then-No. 15 Texas A&M and then-No. 19 Arizona in

New York in November at the 2K Sports Classic. The Bulldogs went

4-5 on the road last season.

“This will be a good test for us,” leading scorer Dee Bost told

the Bulldogs’ official website. “It will be a tough environment. We

have to be ready and focused.”

The Bulldogs played without starters Brian Bryant and Arnett

Moultrie in Tuesday’s 75-68 victory over Florida Atlantic. Bryant

served the last of a three-game suspension while Moultrie, the

SEC’s top rebounder with 11.3 per game, was out with knee

tendinitis.

Bost helped Mississippi State overcome those absences with 22

points.

“Somebody had to step up and we were without our two main guys,”

Bost said.

While Bryant is sure to return, there is a strong possibility

that Moultrie could play as well. Moultrie averages 17.1 points for

the team’s second-highest mark behind Bost’s 18.5.

While Mississippi State avenged a surprise loss last season to

Florida Atlantic in its last game, the Bulldogs are wary of Detroit

(5-7) after these teams also met in 2010-11. Bost and starting

forward Renardo Sidney were suspended for that 82-76 home win over

the Titans.

Detroit returns four players who started in that game. That

includes Eli Holman, who has returned from suspension to play the

last two contests.

The Titans are playing an SEC foe for the second straight time

after falling 62-54 at then-No. 16 Alabama on Sunday.

“They are coming off an eight-point loss at Alabama, and we all

know that’s not an easy place to play,” Bulldogs coach Rick

Stansbury said. “And for the first time this year, they have

everybody back and healthy. It’s going to be a tough test for

us.”

Mississippi State has held its first 11 opponents to 68 points

or less for the first time since 1947-48.

Detroit, meanwhile, allowed Alabama to shoot 48.0 percent and

owns the fourth-worst defensive field-goal percentage in the

Horizon League at 43.4.

“I mean defense is who we are, and defense is what we stand

for,” Holman said. “If we can defend, then I believe we can beat

anybody in the country.”

The Titans are the Horizon’s worst 3-point shooting team at 27.5

percent after missing all 12 attempts Sunday. They fell behind by

16 points at halftime and never recovered.

“It took us a while to settle down and find a rhythm,” coach Ray

McCallum said. “But I think they had a lot to do with that with

their length and their ability to speed you up. We got caught up

playing their game.”

Detroit’s three starting guards – Chase Simon, Ray McCallum, Jr.

and Jason Calliste – combined for 53 points last season against

Mississippi State.