No. 25 Mississippi State looks to stay unbeaten when it hosts Nicholls on Friday afternoon in Starkville, Miss.
The Bulldogs (5-0) are coming off a 66-57 win over Northwestern in the Hall of Fame Tip-Off tournament in Uncasville, Conn.
Mississippi State received a huge effort from freshman Josh Hubbard, who poured in a career-high 29 points off the bench in the win. He made 9 of 14 shots from the floor — including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. He also drained all seven of his shots from the free-throw line.
It’s the fourth consecutive double-digit performance by Hubbard, who credits his teammates for his success.
“My teammates trust me,” Hubbard told hailstate.com. “We built a lot of chemistry over the summer. And we practice hard. We practice really hard. God blessed me with some ability, and we have a great coach who is a leader that knows how to lead us to wins.”
Head coach Chris Jans can’t say enough good things about Hubbard.
“The kid’s got a ton of confidence,” Jans said. “I talked about him (a lot) already in his infant career, but I don’t get tired of talking about him because he’s all about the right stuff.
“He’s earned these moments already because of his work ethic, because of the type of kid he is, the quality of his character and the work that he’s put in prior to coming here. He’s ready for this stage, it’s very obvious. He’s just mature beyond his years.”
Hubbard is averaging a team-best 16.4 points per outing, while Jimmy Bell Jr. and Dashawn Davis are contributing 9.8 and 9.2 points, respectively. Bell has started 39 straight games over the last two seasons between West Virginia and Mississippi State. Davis, in turn, has recorded double-digit scoring totals in each of his last two games.
The Bulldogs have recorded an average margin of victory of 17.2 points per contest this season.
Mississippi State has won 17 of 19 games against nonconference opponents under Jans. In addition, the Bulldogs have held 15 of those 19 foes to 60 points or fewer during his watch.
Nicholls (3-3) is coming off an 86-56 win over Blue Mountain Christian College on Tuesday.
Five players scored in double figures in the win, including Michael Gray Jr., who drilled six 3-pointers and scored a career-best 18 points.
Micah Thomas and Jamal West Jr. each added 16 points. West is averaging a team-best 18.5 points on the season.
The Colonels already have a win over one Southeastern Conference team, edging LSU 68-66 on Nov. 10.
“Our guys have a high belief system in themselves and in each other,” head coach Matt Saddler told The Nicholls Worth. “They understand the things we preach, and most importantly, they work. We don’t skip any steps. We do it the right way.”
–Field Level Media