Jan 15, 2014; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide guard Levi Randolph (20) shoots between Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Craig Sword (32) and forward Colin Borchert (3) during the second half at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama won 80-61. Mandatory Credit: Kelly Lambert-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama Downs Mississippi State, 80-61

The Alabama Crimson Tide (8-8, 2-1 SEC) rebounded on Wednesday night against the Mississippi State Bulldogs (11-5, 1-2 SEC) to get its second win in conference play.

Senior guard Trevor Releford once again put the Crimson Tide on his back and carried them to victory. Releford led all scorers with 28 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.

The Crimson Tide was able to control the game from the opening tip-off. Efficiency on offense, an active defense and a positive turnover margin was the difference for the Tide on Wednesday night.

Releford set the tone for Alabama on the offensive side of the ball. He had an extremely efficient 10-of-13 night from the field and tacked on six 3-pointers. Forward Shannon Hale and guard Retin Obasohan followed suit. Hale finished with 12 points on 5-of-9 from the field. Obasohan added 11 points and 4 rebounds.

Rodney Cooper ignited the Tide with 10 points off the bench in 28 minutes on the floor. The large lead in the second half allowed head coach Anthony Grant the chance to play several different players. In all, 11 players saw time on the court including senior guard Isiah Wilson.

Forward Gavin Ware led the Bulldogs with a solid 18 point night in just 23 minutes of play. Ware also led the Mississippi State in rebounds with 6. Guard Craig Sword was the only other Bulldog player to reach double-figures scoring 12 points.

The Crimson Tide once again proved that solid defense, success on the boards and efficiency on the offensive side of the ball are the keys to success.

The Tide shot an astounding 52.6 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. Alabama also out-rebounded Mississippi State 33-to-28.

Free throw shooting still remains a pressing issue for the Crimson Tide. Alabama was just 10-of-16 from the free throw line. Considering that several of the Tide’s games have come down to free throws, this issue must be resolved.

Wednesday’s victory marks only the third time that Alabama has reached the 80-point mark. One of those games being a loss to Drexel in double-overtime.

Although Mississippi State isn’t a premier-win, any win is a good win for the Crimson Tide at this point.

The Crimson Tide will travel to Mizzou Arena on Saturday to face the Missouri Tigers (13-2, 1-1 SEC). The Tigers had a very impressive non-conference campaign, but have had a rocky start to the conference season. Missouri dropped an overtime game against Georgia at home and narrowly escaped Auburn on the road.

Television coverage of Saturday’s game will be provided by either ESPN or ESPN2 and the WatchESPN app. Radio coverage, as always, will be provided by your local CTSN affiliate.

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