February 22, 2010

Stansbury, Dogs battling for West crown

Mississippi State is in first place in the SEC Western Division, right where many experts predicted in the preseason.

But the way the Bulldogs have gone about getting there certainly could not have been foreseen by anyone. Through season-ending injuries, suspensions, ineligibility, big wins and tough losses, MSU is still is position to claim their fifth West crown since 2003.

"If you told us before the season and you told us that we were going to play without Renardo Sidney, Elgin Bailey, Twany Beckham and Shaun Smith and with four games left, two weeks left and we have a chance to compete for a championship, I think we all would have taken it," said MSU head coach Rick Stansbury.

The Bulldogs sit at 7-5 in league play and 19-8 overall as they enter the final stretch of the regular season. State is coming off one of their most dramatic wins of the year as Phil Turner trey with only a few ticks remaining on the clock lifted his team over LSU 60-59.

"I was wanting to go down there and do exactly what we did which was win by one point if we had to," Stansbury said. "That's one of those survival games where you go and find a way to get it done."

Saturday's win over the Tigers also marked the return of leading scorer Ravern Johnson to the court. Johnson served a one-game suspension in the overtime loss to Kentucky for what Stansbury deemed 'an attitude detrimental to the team'.

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