Mississippi State ends a busy season-opening stretch Tuesday night when it hosts Missouri-Kansas City at Humphrey Coliseum.
The 14th-ranked Bulldogs (4-1) are playing their fourth game in six days and enter off a 98-69 romp over Nicholls State in their home opener Sunday. Lawrence Roberts, the defending Southeastern Conference player of the year, recorded 18 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds for the first triple-double by a Mississippi State player in 93 years. Roberts, playing with a plastic mask to protect a broken nose, scored 13 points in the second half and led five players in double figures.
“I played him fatigued,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said of Roberts. “When he wanted to go out a couple of times, I turned my head. I didn’t look at him.”
Winsome Frazier contributed 13 points, while reserves Jamall Edmondson and Ontario Harper each added 12 for Mississippi State, which shot just under 51 percent (35-of-69). The Bulldogs got points from 13 different players and outrebounded Nicholls State, 41-33.
Mississippi State suffered its first loss to No. 4 Syracuse last Thursday in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The Bulldogs rebounded the following night with a 67-54 win over Saint Mary’s and do not play again until hosting South Alabama on December 2.
Missouri-Kansas City (0-0) is playing its season opener after splitting a pair of exhibition games. Most recently, the Kangaroos posted a 91-53 victory over Colorado-Colorado Springs on November 9. Senior guard Brandon Temple averaged 21 points in the two exhibition contests.
The Kangaroos are just 4-13 all-time in season openers with their last victory coming over Wisconsin-Green Bay, 48-47, in 2001. Missouri-Kansas City opens the season with three road contests before hosting Northern Iowa on December 11.
The Bulldogs and Kangaroos have split two previous meetings, with Mississippi State notching an 83-61 win here on February 2, 1994 in the last matchup.