The Alabama men’s basketball team won its fourth consecutive game in Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville against Mississippi State Tuesday as the Crimson Tide opened Southeastern Conference play with a convincing 68-58 win over the Bulldogs.
Alabama fell behind quickly by 6 points early in the game, but rallied to take the lead and held a 32-20 lead at halftime. Mississippi State came out hot in the second half, scoring 11 points on its first four possessions, and eventually tied the game at 42-42 midway through the second half.
With the score tied at 44, Alabama scored seven straight points to take a 51-44 lead with 8:19 remaining. That helped the Tide outscore the Bulldogs, 26-16, over the final 10-plus minutes of regulation to cruise to result in the final score.
Redshirt freshman Dazon Ingram led the Tide with 13 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while sophomore Avery Johnson Jr. also had 13 points to go along with five boards. Junior Riley Norris added 11 points to give the Tide three players in double figures.
“We got off to a really slow start tonight,” Coach Avery Johnson said. “We couldn’t dig in defensively, but we started to get into a rhythm somewhere after the 15-minute mark in the first half. Our guys just locked in defensively, and it was fun to watch.
“We went into halftime with a 12-point lead, and I didn’t know if that was good or bad,” Johnson said. “Sometimes we can’t protect leads, but we showed some maturity tonight. I thought that our non-conference portion of the schedule was strong enough that we could survive some adversity through the course of a game, and we did that tonight. We finished the game strong, and I thought these two guys (Riley Norris and Dazon Ingram) played some outstanding defense on some perimeter players from Mississippi State. I’m really proud of our team and our coaching staff for getting our players ready to play.”
Alabama shot 44 percent from the field in the 40 minute contest and dominated the rebounding game by an imposing 43-26 margin. The Tide scored 38 of its points in the paint, while limiting the opposition to just 24 points in the lane.
Bama improved to 8-5 while the Bulldogs fell to 9-4.
Alabama returns to action Saturday with its SEC home opener against Vanderbilt. Tipoff in Coleman Coliseum will be at 6 p.m. CST and will be televised by ESPNU.