The Mississippi State basketball team could not have gotten off to a worse start to the Gildan Charleston Classic. Both in terms of the tournament start and the actual game.
Ben Howland and company surrendered 53 first half points to the Central Florida in their first game in the tournament. The Bulldogs were led by Quincy Weatherspoon who finished with 19 points in the game. But the team’s poor defensive start left them in a big hole it could never get out of as Mississippi State won 86-61.
The Bulldogs had no answer for Central Florida’s 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall, as the sophomore finished the game with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Mississippi State was playing without two players, as freshman Abdul Abo was ruled ineligible earlier this week and the Bulldogs were without freshman Lamar Peters due to a coach’s decision.
Player of the game: Guard, Quincy Weatherspoon
Weatherspoon did all he could to keep the Bulldogs in the game. He led Mississippi State in scoring as he finished with 19 points. Weatherspoon also grabbed seven rebounds. The sophomore finished with 12.0 points last season as he made the All-SEC freshman team.
Stat line of the game: Rebounding edge
Mississippi State got dominated on the glass as the Knights held a 49-35 edge in the category. That tends to be the case when the opposing team can trout someone like Fall. UCF also got another 13 rebounds from forward Nick Banyard
Turning point: The 40-15 run
Mississippi State fell behind and trailed for the entire game. The Bulldogs never had a lead and that’s largely due to Central Florida’s 40-15 run over the first 13 minutes of the game. The run was capped off by a Fall dunk. It’s hard to win games when you fall behind like that to start a game.
What’s next for Mississippi State basketball
The Bulldogs take on the loser of the College of Charleston Boise State game. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET on Friday and can be seen on ESPN3/WatchESPN. The tournament is hosted by the College of Charleston.
Mississippi State and Central Florida box scores: