January 20, 2010

Bulldogs walking a fine line

Mississippi State is off to an undefeated start in conference play at 3-0 and sit atop the SEC West.

But the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs have been in tight contests in all three matchups with their largest margin of victory coming by five points.

MSU defeated Ole Miss by five, Arkansas by two and Georgia by three to squeak out wins but veteran head coach Rick Stansbury knows those close victories could very easily been defeats if the ball bounced differently on several possessions.

"It's a fine line in all of those games," Stansbury said. "There is very little room for a margin of error. That's just kind of where we are with our team. I wish I could get more productive minutes from Riley Benock, Wendell Lewis or John Riek. Those are three guys that we need to have some more productive minutes from to give us a little more easy going to them substitution-wise."

With a deprived bench due to injury and suspension, Stansbury does not have the same luxury he had last season being able to sub an entire group in. Currently, Phil Turner and Romero Osby seem to be the only two reserves 'adding too'.

"The bench changes the flow of the game and we don't have much of an opportunity to change the flow of the game off the bench," Stansbury said. "Ya'll remember last year how many times our bench came in when we weren't playing great and those guys would change the flow and give you some energy. We don't change the temperament of the game very well right now."

Backup point guard Twany Beckham is out for the season due to multiple hip surgeries leaving the beleaguered backcourt searching for answers. Dee Bost and Barry Stewart are among the league leaders in minutes play averaging 36.7 and 35.7 minutes per game in the SEC respectively.

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