Alabama Does Its Version Of 'Hustle'

Anthony Grant of Alabama -- and most every other basketball coach in the world -- calls them "50/50 plays." Fans and media call them "hustle plays." Coaches chart them, media writes about them. Fans adore them.

"Hustle plays" are things like second chance points, fast break points and loose balls recovered by dives on the floor. Such plays played a big role in Alabama's 75-61 win over Mississippi State Wednesday night at Coleman Coliseum.

Perhaps a fellow writer put it best when he tweeted: "The Alabama basketball team's hobbies include picking up loose balls." That sums it up nicely.

Here's how Bama did in the three categories that are fairly simple to keep up with: Alabama led State in second chance points 16-3, in fast break points 11-0, and in offensive rebounds, 12-5.

"They're big every game," said Grant. "Any time you face an opponent in the SEC, you have to try to win the 50/50 hustle stats. I thought our energy was very good getting to those balls tonight, for the most part, especially in the first half.

"I think there were a couple of defensive plays that were momentum changers in the second half. That's what you want to see out of your team. I thought we had a couple of guys tonight that stepped up, and made some plays that we needed them to make."

Bama won the overall battle of the boards, 39-25.

Said Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury: "(Alabama) played hard. They made the plays you've got to make to win the basketball game. That's why their sitting where they're at (in first place in the SEC overall standings).

"We turned it over in the first half way too many times. We all got shook a little bit when they jumped on us. You just don't get a lot of easy stuff on them. They've got good athletes."

Hustle plays are known to cause turnovers. State gave the ball up 14 times.

"We just wanted to dig, and make them make plays," said Charvez Davis.

NOTES: Mitchell's 23 points tied his career high.

One of the top unsigned recruits on the Bama hoops recruiting board was in attendance: five star guard Trevor Lacey of Huntsville's Butler High. Bama and Kentucky are battling for his John Hancock.

Tony Mitchell continues to throw down some of the SEC's nastiest dunks. He had four more Wednesday, and leads the team with 40.

JaMychal Green of Bama and Renardo Sidney of State have now engaged in two epic battles this year. This go-round, Green out-scored Sidney 15-11 and out-rebounded him 11-3. Foul trouble -- induced by a heavy dose of Green -- limited Sidney to 19 minutes, and he lasted but 80 seconds in the first half.

Bama is now a perfect 12-0 at home this year.

Mitchell got poked in the eye with less than 30 seconds left, but shook it off to stay in the game and make both free throws.

The Tide now has six SEC wins, matching its season total last year.

Mississippi State is the 12th straight opponent and 18th this season to score 30 or fewer points in the first half.

The Tide has now won four straight games and eight of nine overall.

Freshman point guard Trevor Releford dished out a career-high eight assists versus just two turnovers.

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