9:00 PM ET, November 12, 2004
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- Mississippi State survived another game without Lawrence Roberts.
The Bulldogs (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) struggled again offensively without its preseason All-America, this time in a 55-48 victory over Birmingham-Southern on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.
Roberts says he expects to play next Thursday when the Bulldogs (2-0) play No. 6 Syracuse at New York's Madison Square Garden in the semifinals.
"This was another one of those struggles where we had to fight just to find a way to win," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "We've got to be able to score on the blocks against a zone, but for two games now we haven't been able to do that."
Roberts missed the 53-49 opening-round win over Fairfield on Thursday as he served a one-game suspension from the NCAA over his expenses to attend a tryout before the NBA draft. The 6-foot-10 senior didn't play against Birmingham-Southern because of a broken nose suffered last week in practice.
Winsome Frazier stepped up for the Bulldogs against Birmingham-Southern (1-1), scoring 18 points, including Mississippi State's last 10 of the game.
"When the shots aren't falling, you can count on him to be out there playing hard to make things happen," Stansbury said of Frazier. "When the shots start falling, he can have a great game and really turn a game around like he did tonight."
Against Birmingham-Southern, the Bulldogs started slowly, shooting just 34 percent from the field and 6-of-13 from the free throw line in taking a 25-22 halftime lead.
Birmingham-Southern took its first lead at 38-37 midway through the second half, but Frazier scored 14 points over the last 10 minutes to help put the game away.
The Panthers pulled within four points in the final 2 minutes, but Frazier went 5-for-5 from the free throw line.
"It wasn't a pretty win, but I thought we showed a lot of guts," Stansbury said. "It will get prettier as the season goes, so I'm happy with the guts we showed. We couldn't hit a foul shot to start the game, but we finished strong and hit the free throws we needed to win the game."
Gary Ervin scored 13 points and Shane Power added 10 for the Bulldogs.
James Collins led Birmingham-Southern with 14 points, while Shema Mbyirukira added 10. Thomas Viglianco had 12 rebounds for the Panthers.
"We got zero in the post in both of these games," Stansbury said. "A lot of that credit goes to Birmingham-Southern. They are a good, experienced team, but we are going to have to get more production out of our post."
Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||15-43 (.349)||17-51 (.333)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-18 (.278)||4-20 (.200)|
|FT Made-Attempted||20-33 (.606)||10-18 (.556)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||16 (0/0)||22 (0/0)|
|» Nov 12, 2004||MSST 55, @BSC 48||Recap|