College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, January 27, 2011
Jeffrey Taylor lit up the Mississippi State Bulldogs' phantom defense for 25 points and stole a win on the road, 81-74, reinvigorating the Commodores with their first SEC road win after a couple of tough losses at Georgia and Tennessee in recent weeks.
Boosting the record to 3-2 in the conference, the Commodores remain two games behind SEC East leader Florida (5-1) and tied with Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee, though the way they played against the Bulldogs - regarded as one of the best in the SEC West - they may be on the verge of breaking away from the pack.
Taylor, the 6'7" junior forward, who also had 3 steals and 5 boards, scored from everywhere on the floor, hitting three treys and a number of in-close baskets by hitting the offensive boards. The game was close throughout, but Vandy showed considerable grit in the closing minutes, making shots while Dee Bost and the Bulldogs were missing theirs.
Ranked #19 in the AP poll, the Commodores return home to face Arkansas on Saturday before a key test at Florida on Tuesday, Feb. 2nd.
Notable: Proving that the Big East has no lock on upsets, the Indiana Hoosiers downed #20 Illinois, 52-49, and Michigan upset #25 Michigan State, 61-57, in Big Ten action. For the Spartans, the loss was their 4th in the conference, evening their record at 4-4, but it probably marked the end of their being ranked, as they drop to 15-8.
Head coach Tom Izzo dismissed guard Korie Lucious from the team for undisclosed violations of team rules. Lucious was leading the Spartans in assists ad was usually the first man off the bench. with his departure, Michigan State can probably be moved from NCAA bubble team to definitely out of the tournament this year, just a season removed from a Final Four appearance.