By JOEL COLEMAN
If there was any question about it, Mississippi State’s Quinndary Weatherspoon isn’t a bit happy when he misses a free throw. After missing a pair from the charity stripe during the second half of MSU’s 85-76 win over Morehead State on Thursday, Weatherspoon immediately picked up a steal, advanced back down the court and put in a layup.
“I was mad I missed those free throws,” Weatherspoon said. “I was happy I got the steal to get those two points back.”
Weatherspoon’s pair of misses from the line were about the only thing that the sophomore guard did wrong all night. He scored a career-high 27 points and made a career-best 10 field goals. Weatherspoon’s hot hand helped his team erase a 41-31 halftime deficit to win their fifth game in the last six tries.
Things weren’t going so well for MSU heading into the intermission. After the break though, Weatherspoon scored 15 of his points on 5-of-7 shooting, including a 3-pointer. It was a showing that helped the Bulldogs overcome their early doldrums.
“It’s a big confidence booster,” sophomore forward Aric Holman said of Weatherspoon’s dominance on Thursday. “You don’t have everything on your shoulders. You don’t have to do fantastic things. When he’s hot like that, you basically just play as hard as you can to keep him hot.”
It’s the second-straight game in which Weatherspoon says he has felt comfortable on the floor. Monday night, as Mississippi State dominated Southern Miss, Weatherspoon scored 16 points including going a perfect 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. That performance carried into Thursday.
“I felt good,” Weatherspoon said. “I felt good (the previous game) and I’m just trying to keep working and get better day by day.”
Weatherspoon nearly missed the chance to have games like he has had the last two outings. Earlier this season, he suffered a torn scapholunate ligament in his left wrist. At the time, it was believed to be a season-ending injury. Instead, it kept Weatherspoon out just two games and he is trying to play through the ailment and possibly delay any surgery that might be necessary until the offseason.
“My wrist is still sore a lot,” Weatherspoon admitted. “I’m just going to keep playing through the pain.”
It’s not just Weatherspoon’s wrist that aches. He hurts in multiple spots. It’s a product of his style on the floor MSU head coach Ben Howland says.
“He’s banged up all over because of how he plays,” Howland said of Weatherspoon. “His knees and legs are banged up because he’s always falling with how hard he plays.”
Weatherspoon is finally going to get the chance to lick his wounds with Christmas coming up. MSU will take the next three days off. They’ll return to practice on Monday ahead of a home tilt against Missouri-Kansas City next Thursday.
“These three days off for (Weatherspoon) will be good,” Howland said.
Weatherspoon is just as thrilled for the break.
“I need to recover with my wrist and legs,” Weatherspoon said. “Hopefully I can come back from the break better than ever.”
It’s likely scary for opponents to imagine what a fully rested Weatherspoon might be capable of. Even at far less than 100 percent, he’s still having career nights like Thursday’s.
MSU would love for Weatherspoon to be completely healthy, but that’s not likely to happen this season. Still, as Thursday proved, a banged-up ‘Q’ is better than no ‘Q’ at all.
“We’re lucky he’s playing,” Howland said.