Rick Ray is off to his best start as the Mississippi State head coach.
The Bulldogs moved to 4-0 for the first time since the 2010-11 season as they struggled to a 59-46 victory over Clayton State at Humphrey Coliseum Monday evening.
“I’m disappointed with the way our guys approached this game,” Ray said. “I knew when we played Clayton State, I knew it would be a challenge to get our guys up for the game.
“I talked to our guys about going into this game and seeing how they handle any kind of success and we did a poor job of that.”
It is the seventh 4-0 start for an MSU team in the last 20 seasons.
Ray’s best start was 3-0 and that happened last year. The Bulldogs beat Prairie View A&M, Kennesaw State and Mississippi Valley State before losing to Utah State on the road in his second season.
This year the Bulldogs have knocked off Western Carolina, Mississippi Valley State, Utah State and now the Lakers.
For the fourth-straight game, Roquez Johnson and Gavin Ware scored in double digits. Johnson had 15 points, while the former Starkville High School standout Ware had 11 points. Guard Trivante Bloodman added 12 points.
The Bulldogs shot a season-low 38 percent (19-of-50) from the field, but held Clayton State to just 35 percent. MSU failed to make a 3-pointer, while the Lakers made just four in 21 tries.
“It felt like a loss the way we came out and played,” Bloodman said. “We felt real sluggish.”
The Bulldogs scored 38 of its 59 points in the paint. The other 21 points came from the free throw line.
“In the second half, we only shot one 3,” Bloodman said. “We kept trying to feed the ball into the post and work our way out.”