Rick Ray

Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray apologizes for cursing at Marshall Henderson


With 6.3 seconds remaining, Ole Miss guard Marshall Henderson exited the floor with the Rebels holding a sizable lead over in-state rival Mississippi State.

Henderson headed to the bench jawing it up, whether it was to his teammates or two his opponents I’m not sure. Either way Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray wasn’t pleased and let Henderson know it. I’ll let you all guess as to what he said.

Following Mississippi State’s 82-63 loss on the road at Ole Miss, Ray issued a statement, apologizing to Henderson for his actions. The statement, sent from the coach’s Instagram account read:

 “I responded inappropriately to an Ole Miss player yesterday in our game. I reached out to Coach Kennedy immediately to apologize and subsequently to the player too. There is no reason for a coach to ever have interaction with an opposing player, ever, regardless of he circumstances. I was upset more with our performance than the player, I was totally at fault.”

Ray is right, he was at fault, but it was a classy gesture to acknowledge his mistake and offering an apology. And it did seem likely that he was more frustrated with his team than with Henderson. But let’s face it, Henderson is a pretty easy person to direct your frustration toward. Ironically, this incident between Henderson and an SEC opponent came almost to the day of his infamous interaction with the Auburn fan section last year.

Hopefully this doesn’t overshadow the work Ray has done with the Bulldogs. In his second season, Mississippi State currently has three more wins this season than it had in the entire 2012-2013 campaign.

Mississippi State and Ole Miss split the season series this year.

Marcus Paige, Joel Berry lead No. 9 North Carolina past No. 2 Maryland

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — He’s back.

For the first time this season — and for the first time in more than a year that he hasn’t been hampered with some kind of foot or ankle injury — Marcus Paige donned a North Carolina jersey, and it didn’t take him long to find the form that made him the NBCSports.com Preseason National Player of the Year.

On the first Tar Heel possession, Paige came off of a ball-screen, drove the lane and found Kennedy Meeks at the rim for a layup. Not 30 seconds later, he came off of a down screen and buried a three. Paige would finish with 20 points and five assists as No. 9 North Carolina put together a fairly resounding win over No. 2 Maryland in the Dean Dome on Tuesday night, winning 89-81.

Paige finished 7-for-12 from the floor and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc, hitting a number of threes in the second half that helped hold off a Maryland push sparked by their own all-american point guard, Melo Trimble.

Trimble was erratic early on, committing three turnovers in the first six minutes and eight on the night, but it was his play at the end of the first half and early second half that kept North Carolina from blowing their doors. At one point, Maryland was down 32-19 and in danger of getting run out of Tobacco Road.

In total, Trimble finished with 23 points and 12 assists, hitting four big threes during that stretch. He either scored or assisted on 11 of Maryland’s first 12 second half field goals.

As good as Paige was, the bigger story may actually be Joel Berry II. He took two dumb threes in the first half — which played a role in Maryland being able to make this a game — and he missed a few free throws late, but overall he was terrific. He finished with 14 points and five assists, making 3-of-5 threes and turning the ball over just twice. He’s clearly beat Nate Britt out at the point guard spot, and his ability to take pressure off of Paige as a secondary ball-handler and playmaker is huge.

(More to come from Chapel Hill…)

VIDEO: Melo Trimble drops Nate Britt with a crossover

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North Carolina is hosting No. 2 Maryland in a heated contest in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Terps sophomore guard Melo Trimble is playing very well and part of his performance was dropping North Carolina’s Nate Britt with a crossover in the second half.

(H/T: The Cauldron)