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November 19, 2013
Bulldogs Jump on Ware's Back to 3-0 Start
Gavin Ware. On Tuesday night, the Bulldogs (3-0) did that early and often as they rolled to victory over Mississippi Valley State (1-2) 94-72 on Tuesday night.Rick Ray talked last week about the importance of getting the ball to his sophomore center
"That was one of the things coach stressed in pregame," Ware said of the mismatch. "I just commend our guards for getting me the ball and just trying to get me open. It's not my effort, I believe in the team. I give credit to them."
Mississippi State started the game with back-to-back buckets from Ware and one of two free throws as he had MSU's first five points and a 5-2 lead. That would be the closest that the Delta Devils would draw all night as MSU used strong defense and 13 and 10 points respectively from Ware and Sword on their way to a 44-29 halftime lead.
Ware stood just two rebounds shy of the double-double in the first half as MSU out-rebounded MVSU 22-11 and shot 59%.
It was much of the same in the second half early as the Bulldogs maintained the double-digit lead, but with 15:17 left in the game, the Delta Devils showed signs of life with a 6-0 run to cut the score to 52-43. MSU then began to take over stretching the lead out to 14 over the next three minutes and they would never look back.
As MVSU began to get in foul trouble, the Bulldogs continued to hit their free throws as Ware and Johnson hit theirs. Ware also put in a couple of more baskets culminated by a slam with 7 minutes left that gave him a new career high, 23 points. At that point, he also had his second double-double of the season.
MSU's defense continued to turn up the heat and MVSU was no match as the Bulldogs extended the lead to 22 with 4:12 remaining. It was smooth sailing from there on out as the Bulldogs would see that as their final margin of victory in a 94-72 win.
"Everything was flowing," point guard Trivante Bloodman said. "Everything is a push ahead and a kick ahead to attack the basket and that's what we were doing. It worked out great in transition."
The win put MSU at 3-0 for the first time since 2010 and the three-game winning streak was tied for the longest under Ray. MSU was led by Ware who recorded his second double-double of the season with 23 points and 11 rebounds. They also had double-digit efforts out of Colin Borchert (14), Johnson (12) and Sword (10). The Bulldogs out rebounded their opponent 41-27 to cruise on the boards.
"Coach Ray gets on us a lot about rebounding," Johnson said. "Me, Gavin and Colin try to do our best to get those rebounds and we have the guards come down and help us too."
"Always good to get a win," Ray said after the ball game. "I thought we did a good job force feeding Gavin in the post to open up the game and we did a good job not just posting up to get the ball to Gavin but to Roquez and Colin as well. Those guys have some ability to score down there we just have to get the ball to them. I think the thing that I'm still really concerned with is their field goal percentage is way too high. I think they shot 45% in the first half from the field and then 50% from the field in the second half. We've got to do a better job at guarding the basketball."
MSU now heads to Utah State (3-0) and a tough environment in Logan, Utah. Game time is set for 6 p.m. CT on Saturday night.
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