Tide Gets By Mississippi State

The Alabama men's basketball team of Coach Mark Gottfried, ranked 16th in the nation, connected on 28 of 34 free throws Saturday night and foul shots were the margin of victory as the Crimson Tide defeated Mississippi State, 85-73, in sold-out Coleman Coliseum.

The victory pushed Alabama's record to 16-3 overall and 4-1 in Southeastern Conference competition.

Bama now gets a little break. The Tide does not play again until meeting Kentucky at 8 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. CST next Saturday, January 26, a game that will be telecast by ESPN from Lexington.

Erwin Dudley scored 24 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Rod Grizzard had 22 points to pace the Alabama attack. Kenny Walker had 16 points, while Mo Williams had 15, including eight-of-eight free throws. Williams connected on four straight free throws five minutes into the second half when the Mississippi State bench was hit with back-to-back technical fouls. Grizzard then scored a field goal, giving Alabama a six-point possession and Bama went from a six-point lead to a 12-point lead.

Alabama scored the first nine points of the game and the game was never tied and Mississippi State never led. The Bulldogs, who fell to 15-4 overall and 2-3 in SEC play, pulled to within one point a few times in the first half before the Tide took a 31-24 lead at intermission. The visitors drew within four points in the second half and Alabama built leads of as much as 15.

Although Mississippi State started a slightly bigger line-up than Bama, the Tide had a 36-29 rebounding advantage. That was approximately the difference in "points in the paint," too, with Alabama getting 36, Mississippi State 28. Both teams scored 16 second chance points. The Tide scored 19 points off State's 19 turnovers, while Bama had 15 turnovers and the Bulldogs converted them into 12 points.

In addition to his 15 points, Williams had four steals, three assists, only three turnovers, and six rebounds. Walker had seven rebounds and two blocked shots for the Tide.

Mario Austin led the Mississippi State attack with 19 points and seven rebounds. Austin did not get into double figures in scoring until the final 4:12, when he scored eight of his points.

While Alabama scored two more field goals than the Bulldogs, State actually scored the same number of points from the field by virtue of connecting on four more three-point shots. Alabama had a respectable 49 per cent shooting night, but hit only three of 11 three-point tries, 27 per cent. State hit 45 per cent from the field. State was very good on free throws, 16 of 18 for 89 per cent. Alabama hit 82 per cent from the foul line, but took 16 more free throws.

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