March 18, 2005
By JENNA FRYER
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Winsome Frazier is back at the top of his game just
in time to help Mississippi State make up for last year's NCAA tournament
Frazier made six 3-pointers and scored 20 points Friday night to lead the
Bulldogs to a 93-70 win over Stanford in the first round of the NCAA
The ninth-seeded Bulldogs (23-10) advanced to play No. 1 Duke in Sunday's
second round. Mississippi State will try to atone from last year's collapse
when it had the highest seed in school history at No. 2 only to lose to Xavier
in the second round.
Lawrence Roberts, the 2004 Southeastern Conference player of the year, led
the Bulldogs with 23 points and 14 rebounds. But it was Frazier who provided
the spark they needed to get past Stanford (18-13).
Expected to be as solid as they were a year ago, the Bulldogs hit a rocky
stretch when Frazier went down with a broken foot on Jan. 8. They went 5-3 in
his absence, and when he returned on Feb. 15, he wasn't quite the same.
Frazier did not score more than 13 points in his last eight games, and was
held to just six in Mississippi State's loss to Florida in the quarterfinals of
the SEC tournament.
But he bounced back at the perfect time, opening the second half with
consecutive 3-pointers to pad Mississippi State's lead. Frazier finished 7-of-9
from the floor, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range.
Shane Power added 14 points for Mississippi State.
Chris Hernandez led Stanford with 17 points. Rob Little and Matt Haryasz had
14 each and Fred Washington finished with 12.
The game opened as if it would be a battle of big men, with Little scoring
Stanford's first eight points and Mississippi State pounding the ball inside to
Roberts. But when Little went to the bench with two fouls midway through the
period, the Cardinal had to push the ball out to the perimeter.
Haryasz and Hernandez used long jumpers and backdoor cuts to the basket to
open up a 12-point lead.
But the Bulldogs began hitting from the outside - making four 3-pointers in
the final 5:08, including three straight in a 17-4 run to close the half and
take a 44-43 lead into the break.
Frazier came out firing at the start of the second half with back-to-back 3s
for Mississippi State, including an off-balance fadeaway off of one foot that
made it 50-44.
Stanford struggled with its long-range shots, missing the first five
3-pointers it attempted in the second half. It allowed the Bulldogs to open up
their lead following a basket by Power that drew a foul. He missed the free
throw, but Marcus Campbell tipped it in.
Campbell then blocked a Stanford shot at the other end, and Mississippi
State pushed the ball up court for Dietric Slater's fastbreak basket that gave
the Bulldogs a 63-53 lead with 11:21 to play.
The Bulldogs pulled away from there, handing Stanford yet another NCAA
The Cardinal hasn't made it past the second round of the tournament since
the 2000-01 season, despite some very high seeds - including last year's early
exit as the top seed.
The Cardinal then spent much of this year regrouping following the defection
of coach Mike Montgomery and star swingman Josh Childress to the NBA. Then new
coach Trent Johnson got Stanford off to a slow start - the Cardinal opened
conference play 0-3.
Stanford rebounded to finish third in the Pac-10, despite losing leading
scorer Dan Grunfeld to a knee injury on Feb. 12.