Alabama Men’s Basketball Falls to Mississippi State, 67-61
The Alabama men’s basketball team fell to Mississippi State, 67-61, in front of a sellout crowd at Coleman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. Junior forward Shannon Hale finished with a season-high 22 points, but a late run by the Bulldogs helped snap a six-game losing streak to the Tide in the series.
“They just did a great job,” head coach Avery Johnson said. “We found out that (Mississippi State guard) Malik Newman was going to be scratched with some sort of injury before the game, and I don’t know if that made us relax a little bit more. I thought that we didn’t have our best game and Mississippi State had a lot to do with that. We weren’t as sharp as we have been on both ends of the floor. We weren’t as consistent as we’ve been in certain situations. But let’s tip our hats to Mississippi State. It is not always about necessarily what we did wrong, even though we had some malfunctions, but they had a lot of energy. We didn’t have the type of energy that we normally have in games recently. “
Playing in front of its fourth home sellout of the season, the crowd was on its feet when Alabama (16-10, 7-7 SEC) cut the Mississippi State lead to one point, 58-57, late in the contest. However, the Bulldogs (12-14, 5-9) went on 9-4 run the rest of the way to seal the win.
Senior guard Retin Obasohan scored 22 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals. It marked his 12th game of scoring 20 or more points and 20th double-figure scoring game of the year. Combined, Obasohan and Hale scored 44 of Alabama’s 61 points.
The Bulldogs pulled away with a 15-3 run over 9:19 in the first half to take a 27-18 lead with 3:28 on the clock. Alabama battled back and Obasohan hit a buzzer-beating shot to trim the Bulldogs lead to 32-29.
The second half began with a pair of technical fouls on each team. Mississippi State’s Gavin Ware was called for the first one with 17:46 to play. Just 15 seconds later, Alabama head coach Avery Johnson was whistled for his first technical foul of the season. That seemed to ignite the Tide, as it used a 7-0 run to pull within one point at 41-40 with 14:42 remaining.
However, Mississippi State immediately answered with a 6-0 run of their own to stretch its lead back up to seven, 48-41, with 11:02 left.
Trailing 58-51 with 6:05 left, Alabama refused to go away and rallied for six consecutive points late to make it a one point game with 4:27 to play. But the Tide could not get any closer as Mississippi State claimed its first win in Tuscaloosa since Jan. 19, 2008.
Junior forward Jimmie Taylor added eight points and five rebounds, while senior Arthur Edwards pulled down a game-high seven boards. Alabama won the battle of the boards, 36-33, losing for just the second time this year when outrebounding its opponents (12-2).
Quinndary Weatherspoon led the Bulldogs with 15 points, followed by Craig Sword with 13 and Ware with 12. Travis Daniels recorded six rebounds for Mississippi State.
The Tide will next head to Lexington, Ky., to take on the No. 14 Kentucky Wildcats on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The contest is set to tipoff at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET) on ESPN.