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100th Year Of Mississippi State Basketball Begins


STARKVILLE, Miss. – Not only does Mississippi State usher in a new season on Monday against Eastern Kentucky, the Bulldogs officially launch their 100th year of basketball in what will be a year-long celebration.
The game at Humphrey Coliseum, scheduled to tip at 7 p.m., is part of the 2011 2K Sports Classic that continues on Wednesday at 6 p.m. against Akron on ESPNU and concludes the following week at Madison Square Garden in New York City against a field that features Texas A&M, Arizona and St. John’s.
The Bulldogs open the 2011-12 campaign after posting a 2-0 record in exhibition play following Friday’s 94-70 victory against defending NAIA national champion Pikeville.
“It all counts now,” said 14th-year MSU coach Rick Stansbury, who currently ranks 11th in SEC history with 272 victories, just six shy of moving into the Top 10. “As I’ve said many times, I like the talent we have, and we have the type of schedule that will test us early.”
The Bulldogs, who are 23-2 all-time against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference, are coming off 17-14 year that ended without a postseason bid for the first time in five years. Two starters return from that unit in senior guard Dee Bost and junior forward Renardo Sidney, along with a list of other players that saw ample playing time in Brian Bryant, Wendell Lewis, Jalen Steele and Shaun Smith.
“Our focus has been great,” said Bost, who in October was voted co-captain. “Everyone is on the same page our goal is to win a championship.”
The Bulldogs face a Colonels team that returns two starters from last year’s 15-16 squad. Monday also marks just the second meeting between the two schools, with MSU claiming a 75-62 victory in Stansbury’s first year at the helm.
“They run that Princeton style offense,” Stansbury said of EKU. “They offset what they don’t have by spreading you out on defense and shooting 3s. It is different when a team has their five position player shooting 3s against you. It can present some problems.”
Under Stansbury, the Bulldogs are 10-3 in season openers. Overall, MSU is 77-22 in lid-lifters and has won 21 of its last 26 dating back to the 1985-86 campaign.
Monday also marks the earliest Mississippi State has ever opened a season, topping the previous mark of Nov. 10, 2007, vs. Louisiana Tech at the Hump.



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