College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, December 22, 2011
On a night in which three starters - Dee Bost, Rodney Hood and Jalen Steele - were a combined 8-for-31 from the field, Mississippi's State's junior forward, Arnett Moultrie, put his team on his back and delivered one of his finest performances of the season.
Moultrie hit eight of 11 field goals, was 8-for-8 from the foul line for 24 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished four assists - each game highs - as the Bulldogs outlasted Northwestern State, 82-67, for their 11th straight win and an overall 12-1 record. Their only loss was to Arkon, 68-58, in their second game of the season.
At 6'11", Moultrie present a difficult match-up for most teams, but Moultrie really had his way against the undersized Demons. Thursday marked the 7th time this season he's recorded a double-double and he's only played in 10 of the Bulldogs' 13 games.
Mississippi State has been on the cusp of breaking out the past two seasons - going 17-14 last season, without Moultrie, and 24-12 in 2009-10 - though they're still awaiting an NCAA tournament bid. With their hot start and Moultrie on his game, the Bulldogs appear poised to challenge Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt in the SEC when conference play begins in January.
Next up for the Bulldogs will be their toughest test of the year, as they host unbeaten Baylor on December 28. The Bears are 11-0 and ranked #6 in the AP Poll. The game will be televised on ESPN, starting at 9:00 pm ET.