February 25, 2010

Varnado, Stewart make a name for themselves

In 2006 Rick Stansbury signed a rail thin 6-foot-9, 180-pound center and his two-star AAU teammate to come play for him at Mississippi State.

It may not have seemed like a big deal at the time but fast forward to Jan. 24, 2010 and those same players left the court together regarded as two of the greatest players to ever don a Bulldog uniform. It was on that night that Jarvis Varnado became the NCAA's all-time leading shot blocker and Barry Stewart broke the school's all-time record for 3-pointers.

"Coming in we were roommates and have been around each other since day one here," Stewart said. "To both break records on the same night, that's speechless. It's fun doing something with somebody that you like and someone that you've been through hard times with. It's a great thing."

Both records were shattered in the second half of MSU's 74-66 win over Alabama. Varnado entered the game needing eight blocks to surpass former Louisiana-Monroe standout Wojciech Myrda's mark of 235 career swats. Varnado tied the record with just under 11-minutes to play and brought the crowd to their feet once more sending Mikhail Torrance's shot flying with 4:36 to play.

"I just saw Torrance coming down in the hole and I knew he was about to try to shoot that floater," Varnado said. "I just went up and got it. I am glad it is over now so we can just focus on making the tournament. I knew I broke the record when I got it."

Stewart was already tied with sharp-shooter Daryl Wilson with 258 career treys. But Stewart took over the top spot on the list with just under 10 minutes to play when he drop stepped behind the arc putting up his patented fadeaway shot that touched nothing but the bottom of the net.

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