Inside My Head

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Posted by Kevin on January 16, 2008

Jarvis Varnado

Sophomore Jarvis Varnado, appropriately nicknamed Swat, turned in just the third triple-double in MSU hoops history last night as the Bulldogs beat visiting Kentucky 69-64. Varnado had 12 rebounds, 10 points, and 10 blocked shots. Varnado also entered last night’s game as the nation’s leading shot blocker. Varnado now averages 5.47 blocks per game on the season (93 blocks in 17 games. Varnado bested the previous single-game block record (8 blocks held by three different players) earlier this season with 10 against Miami. He also had 10 blocked shots against Georgia.

Varnado is currently second all-time for single-season blocks at 93 this season (Erick Dampier had 106 blocks in 1995-96) with 13 regular season games remaining. He is also fifth on MSU’s career blocks record, just three shy of moving past Rickey Brown into fourth place. With a career .634 shooting percentage, Varnado is now MSU’s career leading in shooting percentage with a minimum of 200 career field-goal attempts.

In posting his seventh 20-point outing on the season – 18th of his career – junior Jamont Gordon scored 24 points to move ahead of Jack Bouldin and into 13th place on MSU’s all-time scoring list with 1,271 career points scored. Gordon also matched his career high of five 3-pointers made.

State has now won seven straight games, matching a seven game winning streak dating back to last year’s non-conference schedule. State has also now won six straight SEC conference games dating back to last February.

State is off to its first 3-0 conference start in fourteen seasons. That 1993-94 team started 5-0 in the conference and finished with a 9-7 record.

Coupled with last year’s 84-82 overtime win over Kentucky in the SEC tournament, last night’s win makes just the second time in school history that State has posted back-to-back wins over Kentucky (1962 & 63).

With 15 blocked shots in the game (one shy of a school-record set the week before against Georgia), State has now blocked 10 or more shots in eight games on the season. Having entered the game second in the nation behind UConn, State now averages an even 9.00 blocked shots per game on the season, including an average of 12.75 blocks in the last four games.

Having entered last night’s game leading the nation in field-goal percentage defense, State held Kentucky to 38.3% field goal shooting to mark the 11th time this season that the Bulldogs have held an opponent under 40% shooting.

As good as all of that sounds, State is completely the opposite when it comes to closing out games from the free throw line. Of State’s five losses thus far, they have had the lead late in the game only to see it dwindle away when they failed to connect on the front end of 1-and-1 foul shooting. Through 17 games, State has made just 60% from the charity stripe and missed at the worst times. Defense wins championships, but not making free throws loses them.


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