Bama Hoops Hype

RECAP: Alabama Defeats Mississippi State, Extends Winning Streak

Alabama Men's Basketball

TUSCALOOSA – Braxton Key scored a season-high 16 points and the Alabama men’s basketball team extended its winning streak to four games on Saturday night. The Crimson Tide blew a 19-point halftime lead but defeated Mississippi State 68-62 to improve to 13-6 on the season and 5-2 in SEC play.

“Tale of two halves for us,” head coach Avery Johnson said after the game. “But we’ll take the win, any win in the SEC.”

Alabama had its highest scoring first half since the win over BYU in November and had its biggest halftime lead (19 points) since the Tide defeated Alabama A&M. The Crimson Tide shot 51.6 percent in the opening period and made 4-of-8 attempts from beyond the arc. The home team scored 13 points off of State’s 10 first half turnovers.

Alabama led the game by as many as 20 in the game but Mississippi State put together a run midway through the second half. Lamar Peters scored 11 straight points as a part of a 13-1 run for the Bulldogs. Mississippi State never took the lead but tied the game at 54 apiece with 6:50 to go in the game.

The Crimson Tide could not find separation down the stretch until the final minute of the game. Key and John Petty had back-to-back buckets to give the home team a 64-60 lead. Dazon Ingram knocked down two free throws and Herbert Jones added a dunk for good measure to send the fans in crimson home with a win.

It was the first time this season that Key scored in double figures and Alabama needed every bit of it. Collin Sexton missed his second consecutive game with an abdominal injury so the hosts needed to find scoring from somewhere. Key attempted a team-high 13 shots and made six of them, including two 3-pointers. The sophomore added 5 rebounds (3 offensive), 4 assists, 3 steals and 1 block in 28 minutes on the court.

“Braxton Key came alive for us, his best game since he came back,” Coach Johnson said about Key’s performance. “We desperately needed it tonight.”

Daniel Giddens put together his best performance of conference play in his second consecutive start. With Donta Hall limited because of a wrist injury, Giddens stepped in and became a go-to scorer in the first half. He scored 10 of his 13 points in the first 20 minutes and finished 5-of-7 from the field. The Ohio State transfer added 4 rebounds and 3 blocks in 22 minutes.

Ingram only attempted two shots in the game and missed both of them but his production was shown elsewhere. The sophomore scored 7 points and led the team with 8 rebounds and 6 assists. In four games against the Bulldogs in his career, Ingram is 26 of 30 from the free throw line.

The Crimson Tide’s offense certainly slowed down in the second half. Alabama finished 41.7 percent from the field but struggled at the free throw line and from beyond the arc. As a team, the Tide finished 13-for-23 from the charity stripe, which was the team’s fourth worst performance from the line this season.

Mississippi State fells to 14-5 on the season and 2-4 in conference play. Peters finished with 17 points and made four 3-pointers. Aric Holman had a double-double for the Bulldogs, finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Alabama will go back on the road for its next game as it will play at Ole Miss on Tuesday night. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on SEC Network.

Caleb Turrentine is the editor for Bama Hoops Hype. You can follow him on Twitter for in-game updates at @CalebTurrentine.

Facebook Comments

You must be logged in to post a comment Login