The Crimson Tide (10-6, 2-1 SEC) rolled into Starkville with one thing on their mind on Wednesday night, win. Alabama did just that and much more as they defeated Mississippi State (7-8, 2-1 SEC) in dominating fashion, 75-43.
Even without leading scorer Trevor Releford, who missed the game with an ankle injury, the Tide was still able to roll against the Bulldogs. Alabama was firing on all cylinders in Humphrey Coliseum. The press defense was smothering and the Tide shot lights out from three point range. This complete effort by Alabama will go down in the record books as Mississippi State’s second-worst loss in Humphrey Coliseum history.
Four Crimson Tide players finished in double figures. Rodney Cooper led the way with 19 points, Levi Randolph added 18 points, Nick Jacobs finished with a season high 16 points, and Trevor Lacey added 11. Freshman forward Devonta Pollard added 7 points, 2 steals, and one rebound in his return to his home state.
Alabama was 31-59 (.525) from the field and an astonishing 8-12 (.667) from behind the arc. Anthony Grant has to be proud of his team in what could be their best offensive performance in his tenure at Alabama. Let’s not overlook the Tide’s defensive performance. Anthony Grant bases his coaching strategy around solid defense. The Tide was able to hold Mississippi State to 43 points on the night, including only 21 points in the second half. Wednesday night’s defensive performance was also a season best for the Tide. Before Wednesday the Tide had only held one other team to less than 50 points (Charleston Southern).
So, in less than two weeks has Alabama gone from the lowest of the low to climbing back to the top? Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Although Mississippi State started off their conference schedule with two straight victories, the Bulldogs aren’t among the conference’s elites. Although it is obvious that the Crimson Tide is improving since losing six of eight before winning against Tennessee on January 12.
The Tide will once again face a tough test on Saturday in Tuscaloosa when the Texas A&M Aggies come to town. Just an interesting note, the Aggies have to play Thursday night against No. 10 Florida. Texas A&M will then have to make the trip to Tuscaloosa in less than forty eight hours to play Alabama. Saturday’s game will tip off at 5pm CST in Tuscaloosa. TV coverage will be provided by FSN, and the CTSN will have radio coverage as always.
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