Sophomore guard Justin Coleman was considered a “game time decision” as to whether he would play after he missed some of Alabama’s practice this week while nursing a toe injury. Crimson Tide Coach Avery Johnson made what proved to be the right decision as Coleman played and hit key shots in Alabama’s 82-80 overtime win over Mississippi State in Starkville Tuesday night.
The win improved Alabama to 12-9 overall and 3-6 in SEC games. Mississippi State fell to 9-12 and 2-7.
It was the sixth consecutive win for Alabama in the series, the longest streak in Bama vs. Bulldogs since the Tide won six straight, 1985-87. Alabama has now won three in a row and four of the last five in Starkville.
Alabama led for most of the game, and when Colman hit a three-pointer to ignite an 8-0 Tide run, Bama had its biggest lead at 51-42 early in the second half. But Mississippi State went on a 14-0 run to take the lead at 53-52 with just over 10 minutes to play. Bama was down by 7 points with five minutes to play, but rallied to tie at 65-65 on a baseline drive, reverse layup by Coleman with 1:43. Both teams scored one more basket to send the game to overtime.
State scored the first four points of the overtime, but helped by a Riley Norris three-pointer Bama tied it up 73-73. Retin Obasohan scored a field goal and free throw for a 76-74 Alabama lead. State tied it. Coleman then drained a three-pointer and Alabama was good on 3-4 free throws in the final seconds to secure the win.
Obasohan, who had 16 points as Bama had a 38-34 lead in the first half, finished with 25, the 10th game this season he has scored at least 20. Norris had 16 points, Coleman 15, and Arthur Edwards 12. Obasohan also had 8 assists and 3 steals for Bama. Jimmie Taylor had 8 points and 6 rebounds. Gavin Ware had a career-high 28 points to lead the Bulldogs.
Alabama returns home to host the Missouri Tigers on Saturday 2 p.m. CST. The SEC Network will televise the game.