Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama men’s basketball defeats Mississippi State for third straight win in conference play 

Courtesy of UA Athletics

After Alabama men’s basketball went 8-5 to start the regular season, there were questions as to how this newly formed Crimson Tide squad would shape up against teams in the SEC. So far, however, Alabama has proved more than capable of both winning decisively and winning in tough road environments.  

The Crimson Tide won its third straight game in conference play Saturday night with an 82-74 victory on the road over the Mississippi State Bulldogs.  

Coming into the game, Alabama head coach Nate Oats prioritized what he refers to as “blue-collar points,” which are essentially the number of hustle plays made by the team during a given contest. 

“This is a team [Mississippi State] that is as hard-playing as anybody in the country,” Oats said postgame. “I told them [Alabama] if we can beat them in the blue-collar stuff, we have a good chance of beating them in the game because that’s really what they hang their hat on.” 

The Bulldogs jumped out to an early 9-point lead, but after a 9-0 Crimson Tide run, the game essentially remained neck and neck until halftime. 

Guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr. once again stepped up offensively for Alabama during the first half, hitting three shots from long range, including back-to-back 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run later in the half. The Omaha, Nebraska, native finished with 19 points on 5-9 shooting from downtown.  

“We’ve been battle-tested before, so we know how to get through adversity,” Wrightsell said regarding the Bulldogs’ early lead.  

At the break, the Crimson Tide narrowly led the Bulldogs 40-38. 

After giving up the lead to start the second half, Alabama went on yet another 9-0 run early in the period.  

Mississippi State hung around, however, and even reclaimed the lead at 70-69 with under five minutes remaining. 

After scoring just 5 points in the first half, guard Mark Sears had yet another big offensive half of this season, scoring 17 of his 22. The Muscle Shoals, Alabama, native showed up when it mattered, scoring 6 of the final 8 points for Alabama. 

Despite the focus on hustle plays and rebounding coming into the contest, this game essentially came down to one stat when it was all said and done: free throws.  

Over the whole game, the Crimson Tide shot 22-26 from the charity stripe, compared with the Bulldogs’ 15-27.  

After a Sears floater to give Alabama a 76-74 lead with about three minutes remaining, the Bulldogs missed six straight free throws, allowing Sears and Wrightsell to ice the game from the free-throw line for the Crimson Tide.  

“This is a tough place to get a win,” Oats said. “Coach [Chris] Jans is one of the best coaches in the country with coaching defense and toughness. For us to come in here and get a big win is huge.” 

Alabama will look to win its fourth straight game when the Missouri Tigers travel to Tuscaloosa on Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on the SEC Network at 6 p.m. CT. 

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