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Ole Miss, Mississippi State out to halt losing streaks

Jan 3, 2023; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs forward Tyler Stevenson (14) moves the ball against Tennessee Volunteers forward Julian Phillips (2) during the first half at Thompson-Boling Arena. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Southeastern Conference rivals Ole Miss and Mississippi State square off Saturday afternoon in Starkville, Miss, with both coming off back-to-back losses to nationally ranked teams.

Mississippi State (11-3, 0-2 SEC) has lost its past three, including an 87-53 setback to No. 8 Tennessee Tuesday night. Tyler Stevenson scored 15 points in that loss and is confident the Bulldogs will right the ship.

“We are going to respond, and this is definitely not a good feeling,” Stevenson said in a postgame news conference on Tuesday. “We are going to pick up the intensity in practice. We have to stay together and play hard and everything else will take of itself.”

While Stevenson came through with his second double-digit effort in the past four games – the 15 points were a season best – Tolu Smith continues to lead the Bulldogs. Smith is averaging 14.4 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. D.J. Jeffries is second on the team in scoring at 9.4 points per game.

Dashawn Davis is third with 8.2 points per game but is hitting 45.9 percent of his shots from long distance.

Mississippi (8-6, 0-2) has lost its past three games and is coming off an 84-62 loss to Mo. 7 Alabama on Tuesday.

The Rebels are led by Matthew Murrell, who is averaging 14.4 points per outing. He also averages 3.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

The key for the Rebels is getting back on track offensively. Mississippi hasn’t scored more than 65 points in a game since a 98-61 win over Valparaiso on Dec. 10. They are 1-4 since that game.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said reversing that trend comes down to one thing.

“Making open shots,” Davis said in a postgame press conference after the loss to Alabama. “Offensively, I think what we are doing is good. We just have to make shots and keep giving guys confidence.”

Mississippi State leads the all-time series, 147 games to 119.

–Field Level Media

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