January 11, 2010

Stansbury set to open SEC home slate

Mississippi State bounced back from a disappointing loss on the road to Western Kentucky last week to knock off then 14th ranked Ole Miss in Oxford to begin conference play.

The Bulldogs jumped out to a quick 12 point lead on Saturday only to find themselves down by as many as nine points in the second half. But MSU switched to a zone defense against the Rebels that made all the difference coming away with an 80-75 victory.

"We worked on our zone going into that game," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury. "We've worked on it off and on but we just haven't played it a whole lot. You have to pick your moments to use it. Even though it's the first time that we've done it, we just felt like it was time to try to use it because we couldn't guard them off the dribble."

Another huge factor in the Bulldogs win was sophomore point guard Dee Bost. Bost scored a career-high 25 points which included 17 second half points. He drove to the basket drawing fouls and went to the charity stripe converting 9-of-13 on the day.

Stansbury encouraged Bost to step up his game during a timeout late in the Western Kentucky game which appeared to carry over into Saturday's win as well.

"Dee always responds well," Stansbury said. "I really haven't had many times that I've had to get on Dee but when I do he responds in a positive way. He's a competitor and he will fight back. That's just what he does."

Bost was one of the SEC's top freshmen last season and has only gotten better during his sophomore campaign. Stansbury attributes Bost's improvement to experience and hustle on the defensive end of the floor.

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