STARKVILLE — Mississippi State basketball will play a charity exhibition game against Southern Miss at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29 with proceeds benefitting tornado victims in the Mississippi Delta, a USM spokesperson told the Clarion Ledger.
The Mississippi Delta is still recovering from a March 24 tornado that devastated Rolling Fork and Silver City. The death toll reached 17 while at least 165 others were injured.
It will mark the first meeting between the programs since 2017 and MSU's first trip to Hattiesburg for the rivalry since 1995. Talks of reigniting the in-state matchup started with MSU coach Chris Jans and USM coach Jay Ladner looking to schedule a regular season game, according to a report from Mississippi Today. When that didn't work, the discussions shifted toward a closed scrimmage before coming together on the charity event.
"There’s two things," Ladner said Tuesday. "One, we’re doing the right thing by raising some money to give to the tornado victims up at the delta. The second thing it’s gonna do is it’s going to help both of us prepare for our seasons, and you can do it in such a way it’s gonna be very intense, a very good environment I’m predicting. It will help us and help them to get ready to play in the regular season and doing so without having an official win or loss. It’s exciting and I’m very appreciative of Mississippi State to be willing to do that."
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The Bulldogs are 16-4 against the Golden Eagles. Jans is entering his second season after leading MSU to an NCAA Tournament appearance. Ladner is going into his fifth year at Southern Miss and led USM to the regular season Sun Belt title last season.
"I’m very thankful for coach Jans," Ladner said. "I think it will be a great basketball game that will do a lot of good for us so hopefully people will come out and hopefully we can fill this place up."
The game will be played at USM’s Reed Green Coliseum.
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State basketball, Southern Miss playing charity exhibition