Alabama uses second half run to hold off Mississippi State
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 25 Alabama men’s basketball team went on an 18-2 second half run to take down Mississippi State, 80-75, Wednesday night inside Coleman Coliseum. It marked the Crimson Tide’s third consecutive victory and fourth win over the last six contests.
Four UA players reached double figures led by Jahvon Quinerly’s 21 points and eight assists while center Charles Bediako scored a career high 15 points, including six dunks, and matched a season-best of six blocked shots. Darius Miles and Jaden Shackelford also scored in double figures with 12 points apiece.
With the win, the Crimson Tide (17-9, 7-6 SEC) and Bulldogs (14-11, 5-7) split its season series with each team winning on its home floor (MSU defeated Alabama 78-76 back on Jan. 15).
HEAD COACH NATE OATS POSTGAME COMMENTS
“Our guys answered the bell tonight. I screwed up with the referees and I got tossed. I thought the staff did a great job. Charlie (Henry), (Antoine) Pettway and Bryan (Hodgson) came together and rallied our guys. After they scored the first two times, we went on an 18-2 run. So, I thought their energy picked up and we played hard. I’m proud of our guys for figuring out a way to win when we didn’t shoot well. We only hit 20 percent from three. Keon (Ellis) and Shack, two of our better shooters, didn’t make a single one. They went 0-of-13 combined from three. Somehow, we still figured out a way to win the game. I thought Quinerly was aggressive tonight and Charles is just getting better and better every game. There’s a lot of positives. We outrebounded one of the best rebounding teams in the league, in the country. Our guards needed to rebound and they showed up big in the rebounding department. We made some free throws late and closed the game out. I’m happy for our guys and with the effort, especially late in the game.”
Quinerly recorded his fourth game this season of 20 or more points and set a career high with two blocks
Mississippi State came into the game as one of the top rebounding teams in the county, however, Alabama owned a 48-36 advantage on the glass as freshman JD Davison led the way with a career-high 10 boards
Alabama outscored Mississippi State 44-30 in the paint
Alabama closed the game by making 8-of-9 free throws down the stretch to seal the win
James Rojas led the Tide with a +12 in plus/minus while Bediako earned the Hard Hat Award
Alabama held a narrow advantage through the opening 10 minutes of play after a three from Quinerly gave the Tide an early 7-4 lead
After four consecutive points from the Bulldogs tied the score at 16-16 at the 10:18 mark, UA went on a 10-2 run to take an eight-point lead (26-18) with 7:54 to play in the half
Alabama would go on to take a 34-30 advantage into the locker room
Eight of the Tide’s 10 first half players contributed to its 34 points led by Shackelford’s seven points and Bediako’s six points, five rebounds and five blocked shots
Alabama made 13-of-31 from the floor, while owning a 24-19 advantage on the glass
UA’s defense kept the Bulldogs scoreless from beyond the arc, as Mississippi State was 0-of-4 from distance
Quinerly paced the team in the opening five minutes, putting up nine of Alabama’s opening 13 points in the second stanza
After a MSU timeout, the Bulldogs went on an 11-4 spurt to tie the game at 47-47 at the 15:08 mark
Mississippi State gained the advantage for the first time since the opening three minutes of action with a 12-2 run over a 3:09 span, taking a 64-57 advantage with 7:45 to play which included four straight free throws followed by a double technical and ejection for head coach Nate Oats with just over eight minutes remaining
Trailing by seven, the Tide scored seven unanswered points which jumpstarted an 18-2 run over the next 6:48 minutes of action to regain the lead at 75-66 with 57 seconds to play
The two teams traded points in final minute with Alabama hitting 5-of-6 from the charity stripe to stave off Mississippi State and take a five-point win