The Bulldogs are 0-2 on hardwood after opening week

Published 3:00 pm Friday, November 27, 2020

The Mississippi State Bulldogs have started the basketball season with an 0-2 record for the first time since 1967 after losing both of their games in the Space Coast Challenge this week.

Wednesday against Clemson the Bulldogs struggled shooting the ball as they went 8-of-27 from the foul line and 4-of-13 from the 3-point line in a 53-42 loss.

The tournament was originally scheduled to be played in Cancun but was moved and rebranded due to COVID-19.

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The location change to Melbourne, Florida, had the teams playing in a community college gym on the campus of Eastern Florida State College.

MSU committed 19 turnovers against Clemson as they started a pair of true freshmen in Cameron Matthews and Deivon Smith.

Coach Ben Howland has a very young team in 2020 as redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart and redshirt senior forward Abdul Ado are the most experienced returning letter winners.

In last week’s NBA draft, MSU saw two of last years starters — Robert Woodard and Reggie Perry — have their name called as second round selections.

Tolu Smith led the Bulldogs with a double-double of 12 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to Clemson.

A 6-foot-10 sophomore who had to redshirt last season after transferring from Western Kentucky, Smith is a native of Hawaii who played his sophomore and junior seasons at Bay High in Bay St. Louis.

Stewart also added 12 points against Clemson and he and Smith again led State in scoring Thursday night as they each chipped in 20 points apiece in an 84-73 loss to Liberty.

MSU led 41-40 at halftime but were buried under a landslide of Liberty 3-pointers.

The Flames set a program record with 19 made 3s as guard Darius McGhee made seven by himself.

The last time the two teams met was in the 2019 NCAA tournament when no. 12 seeded Liberty sent no. 5 seed MSU home with an 80-76 loss.

Howland will try again for career victory no. 500 when MSU is scheduled to host Texas State in Starkville on Monday, Nov. 30.

The Bulldogs are also set to host North Texas on Dec. 4 and Jackson State on Dec. 8.