When Ben Howland brings his Mississippi State Bulldogs into Rupp Arena on Tuesday night, he’ll do so without one of his top scorers.
Tolu Smith, who is currently second on MSU in scoring at 13.1 points per outing, is considered week-to-week following a knee injury he suffered on Saturday.
Smith, a 6-foot-11 redshirt junior, suffered the injury during the Bulldogs’ loss to Ole Miss with just over a minute left in the contest. He had to be helped off the floor and back to the locker room. Luckily, an MRI on Sunday morning revealed no structural damage in the knee. However, this means that Smith, in all likelihood, will not play against Kentucky on Tuesday.
Losing Smith will be a considerable hit for Mississippi State. He’s only played in eight games this season due to a stress fracture in his foot that caused him to miss the beginning of the year. Smith later was held out due to a fractured pinky toe before playing the last three outings for MSU. He additionally sat out two games due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
In total, Smith has only played in eight games for the Bulldogs but has been a significant contributor in all of those appearances. He’s averaging 13.1 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds on 61.9 percent shooting from the field.
Smith is now in his second season with Mississippi State after transferring over from Western Kentucky, where he played his freshman season under former MSU head coach Rock Stansbury. He started in all 30 games for the Bulldogs in 2020-21 and is a vital piece to the future of the program when healthy.
Kentucky and Mississippi State will tipoff on Tuesday night at 9:00 p.m. on ESPN inside of Rupp Arena.