(12) Mississippi St 67

(3-1, 2-0 away)

Saint Mary's 54

(2-2, 0-2 home)

    7:00 PM ET, November 19, 2004

    Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

    1 2 T
    #12MSST 34 3367
    SMC 23 3154

    Top Performers

    Mississippi St: S. Power 10 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 2 Stl

    Saint Mary's: E. Rowland 19 Pts, 7 Reb, 4 Ast, 3 Stl

    Roberts rebounds with 20 points for Bulldogs

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Mississippi State had Lawrence Roberts back in a familiar role and the Bulldogs went to a rarely used defense.

    Roberts, playing in just his second game of the season, scored 20 points and Mississippi State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) used an effective zone defense in a 67-54 victory over Saint Mary's on Friday night in the third-place game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

    The 6-foot-9 senior, a first-team All-America last season and a preseason choice this year, missed the Bulldogs' opener because of an NCAA suspension over payment of a trip to an NBA pre-draft tryout. He missed the second game as he continued to recover from a broken nose and a bad fall in practice.

    He made his first appearance of the season in the 71-58 loss to No. 5 Syracuse in Thursday's semifinals at Madison Square Garden and struggled, shooting 2-for-9 and finishing with nine points and 12 rebounds.

    Despite playing with a face mask, Roberts looked a little more like himself against the Gaels (2-2), finishing 6-for-18 from the field and getting seven rebounds in 31 minutes.

    "We weren't sure how much Roberts would play and you could see he was not at his best, he still wasn't comfortable," Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury said. "He gave us 20 points and seven rebounds."

    Mississippi State (3-1) closed the first half on a 13-5 run -- that included the 50th 3-pointer of Roberts' career -- to take a 34-23 lead. The Bulldogs opened the second half with a 14-3 run that started and ended with three-point plays by Roberts.

    The Bulldogs took their biggest lead at 53-31 on a 3-pointer by Winsome Frazier with 12:33 to play. Saint Mary's got as close as 11 points twice the rest of the way.

    Frazier finished with 12 points.

    E.J. Rowland had 19 points for Saint Mary's, which struggled with its shooting (16-for-47, 34 percent) and taking care of the ball against Mississippi State's zone defense. The Gaels committed 20 turnovers, which the Bulldogs converted into 21 points.

    "We didn't play that much zone last year," Stansbury said. "We normally don't play defense until the middle of December but we had to do it in this kind of competition."

    Saint Mary's, which upset California in the quarterfinals of the 16-team tournament, lost 81-66 to Memphis in the semifinals.

    "Before tonight we saw only two possessions of zone, and their zone killed us," Saint Mary's coach Randy Bennett said. "Blame me for not adjusting."

    Still, the chance to play two ranked teams was something special for a mid-major program from the West Coast Conference.

    "We got a chance up close and firsthand to learn what we have to do for the rest of the year," Rowland said. "We're not as good as we thought we were."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 67 54
    FG Made-Attempted 24-55 (.436) 16-47 (.340)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-12 (.417) 7-21 (.333)
    FT Made-Attempted 14-21 (.667) 15-23 (.652)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 14 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 22 3

    2004-05 Season

    » Nov 19, 2004 MSST 67, @SMC 54Recap