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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, November 21, 2:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400) -- Maui, Hawaii. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: MSU 1-0, Texas 2-0. Away Record: MSU 0-1, Texas 0-0. Neutral Record: MSU 0-2, Texas 0-2. Conference Record: MSU 0-0, Texas 0-0. Series Record: Texas leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: After both teams dropped their first two games of the tournament, the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Texas Longhorns will meet in the seventh-place game of the Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Leading up to this event, Mississippi State split a pair of games against Sun Belt Conference foes, losing to Troy in the opener (56-53) and beating Florida Atlantic (78-58). The Bulldogs had the unfortunate duty of facing North Carolina in the opening round of this event, and they were blown out of the building, 95-49. The results on Tuesday weren't much better, as they lost to Marquette, 89-62, to fall to 1-3 on the season.
Texas won both games during its opening homestand over Fresno State (55-53) and Coppin State (69-46) before running into hard luck in Maui. The Longhorns were upset in the opening round by Division II Chaminade, 86-73, and then dropped an overtime bout with USC, 59-53, to fall all the way to this seventh- place game.
Texas has a 4-3 advantage in the all-time series with Mississippi State, with the last meeting coming in 2002.
The Bulldogs have not started the year off the way they had planned, as they are shooting less than 40 percent from the field and are being outscored by an average of 14 ppg. Their latest matchup with Marquette was no different, as they made only 38.5 percent of their field goal attempts as they got down by as many as 25 in the first half and never recovered. Fred Thomas paced MSU with 17 points and he drained four three-pointers, but he made just 6-of-15 field goal attempts overall. Thomas is one of only two players to average double figures on the season (11.0 ppg), but it's come at a big price as he's shooting a lowly 31.9 percent from the field. Roquez Johnson tallied 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, while Gavin Ware came off the bench to score 11 points. Johnson is the team's leading scorer with 15.0 ppg and he's grabbed 5.7 rpg as well.
The Longhorns have struggled shooting the ball this season, as they're hitting just 41.8 percent of their field goal attempts, including a dismal 21.5 percent of their three-pointers. Things were even worse against USC, as Texas made just 37 percent of its total shots. Julien Lewis did all he could to lift his team to victory with 17 points on 6-of-8 from the floor, but one of his few misses came from beyond the arc at the end of regulation that would have won the game. Sheldon McClellan came off the bench to tally 11 points and seven boards, Ioannis Papapetrou scored 10 points, and Javan Fox recorded six points, six rebounds and eight assists. On the season, McClellan is averaging 17.5 ppg and he has drained 30-of-33 from the foul line (.909). Felix (8.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 5.8 apg) contributes across the board, and Jonathan Holmes grabs a team-high 9.5 rpg.
Neither team wants to be the lone squad to leave Hawaii without a win. The Longhorns are a much better team than they've shown in this tournament, and they should be able to get right against a Mississippi State squad that is expected to struggle all season long.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas 78, Mississippi State 63
11/21 10:36:52 ET
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