Alabama Snaps Bulldogs' Three-Game Winning Streak
The Bulldogs fell to a hot-shooting barrage by the Crimson Tide. A 27-3 run stretching over both halves removed all doubt as Mississippi State dropped a 75-43 decision to Alabama.
For MSU, it was their worst home loss to Alabama and second-worst loss ever at home. The Maroon and White had won 12 of the previous 15 meetings between the longtime rivals in this facility.
"They got the rebounds, they got every second shot," MSU junior guard Jalen Steele said. "For whatever reason, everybody was together over there and we played well. Tonight, we had problems. We made turnovers. They made shots. Alabama played a fast-paced game and it messed us up."
MSU fell to 7-8 overall and 2-1 in league play. The Bulldogs remain tied for fourth place in the conference standings. Alabama improved to 10-6 overall and 2-1 in league play. The teams meet again Feb. 20 in Tuscaloosa.
"I was disappointed in how we competed," MSU head coach Rick Ray said. "You could tell in practice the last couple of days, the kids were satisfied with the 2-0 start (in SEC play). For the first time this year, I was disappointed in our competitive nature. We have beaten on the floor in some games, but I thought we always competed.
"In this game, we played as individuals. As individuals, we are not very good."
The Bulldogs grabbed their longest lead of the game at 10-6 on a Fred Thomas 3-pointer with 14:30 left before halftime. The contest was nip-and-tuck and intensely physical early. MSU held tough through 3-point shooting. Alabama was making the most of second chance shot opportunities.
Alabama took the lead for good on a Levi Randolph jumper with 7:02 left before halftime. That basket gave the Crimson Tide a 20-19 advantage. From there, UA closed the half on a 10-3 run to grab a 30-22 halftime advantage.
Things unraveled quickly for the Maroon and White to start the game's final half. Alabama hit five consecutive 3-point shots to open the half. That 15-0 run completed the game-changing 27-3 run and placed the Crimson Tide on top 45-22 with 17:04 left in regulation.
From there, the Crimson Tide's full-court pressure and continued strong shooting snuffed any hopes of a rally.
"We really didn't handle the pressure," Ray said. "We did a poor job of helping our teammates out. That is what I am talking about when I talk about playing as individuals. Sometimes, our guys didn't work hard enough to get to the ball. Basketball on the offensive end is about having some calmness. We weren't very calm today.
"They sped us up. We were sped up and it lasted the entire game."
The lead grew to 30 at 59-29 on a 6-0 run, capped by a Retin Obasohan layup with 10:46 remaining. Alabama would lead by as many at 37 in the game's final half.
For the contest, the Bulldogs hit 16 of 45 shots from the field (35.6 percent), 5 of 18 shots from 3-point range (27.8 percent) and 6 of 8 shots from the foul line (75.0 percent). The Crimson Tide hit 31 of 58 shots from the field (53.4 percent), 8 of 13 shots from 3-point range (61.5 percent) and 5 of 8 shots from the foul line (62.5 percent).
Alabama held a 35-23 rebounding advantage. For MSU, the 23 rebounds was a season low. The Bulldogs had six assists and 21 turnovers, while the Crimson Tide had 12 assists and 12 turnovers.
Thomas led MSU with 10 points.
Alabama placed four players in double figures. Randolph had 18 points, while Rodney Cooper scored 17 points, Nick Jacobs scored 16 points and Trevor Lacey scored 11 points. The Crimson Tide played without leading scorer Trevor Releford, who was out because of injury.
MSU returns to the road for a Saturday afternoon encounter with Tennessee. Game time is 3 p.m. CT in Knoxville, with a regional telecast available on the SEC Network.