Bulldogs, Ramblers Meet To Celebrate History

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Almost 51 years after that historic day in East Lansing, Mich., Mississippi State and Loyola will meet again on the hardwood this Sunday. Tip-off is set for noon at Humphrey Coliseum. The contest will honor the historic "Game of Change" played between the two schools in the 1963 NCAA Tournament in a halftime ceremony.

After being denied an opportunity to participate in the NCAA Tournament three times due to the possibility of playing against integrated teams, MSU defied a state injunction in 1963 and snuck out of town in order to play the game.

Loyola won the highly-anticipated contest 61-51 at Jenison Fieldhouse en route to winning the national championship, but more importantly the brave decision by MSU officials opened the door for racial reconciliation.

The NCAA named that game as one of the Top 25 defining moments in collegiate sports.

"Our players understand the history and importance of this game," MSU coach Rick Ray said. "All these years later, it's special to be a part of this game."

The squads met last year in Chicago, where the Ramblers claimed a 59-51 victory.

The Bulldogs (4-1) enter the matchup after holding on for a 58-56 win against Jackson State on Wednesday. Craig Sword scored 12 second-half points to help preserve MSU's undefeated home record on the year.

Sword is tied for the team-high with 15 assists while averaging 10.4 points a game. Gavin Ware averages a double-double on the season with 14 points and almost 11 rebounds per outing.

Loyola (3-4) earned a 73-72 win against SIU Edwardsville in its last game. Christian Thomas paces the Ramblers with 14 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Following Sunday's clash, Mississippi State will host TCU on Thursday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The 6 p.m. tip at Humphrey Coliseum will be televised on ESPNU.

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