Although Alabama had a horrible shooting day and Mississippi State, taking advantage of very lax Alabama defense, had an excellent shooting game, the Crimson Tide had a chance to win the game before the Dogs began to pull away in the final 10 minutes.
Alabama had been hoping to equal the record of the 1976 Alabama team in taking the longest to get to its fourth loss. Bama is now 20-4 overall and is 8-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Tide continues to lead the SEC. State is now 18-6 overall and 5-5 in SEC play.
Alabama had defeated Mississippi State, 86-73, in an earlier game this season in Tuscaloosa.
Next up for the Tide is another tough SEC road game. Bama will be at South Carolina at 8 p.m. EST (7 p.m. CST) Wednesday. Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum next Saturday, February 16, hosting Tennessee in a game that will tp off at 2 p.m. CST and be regionally telecast by Jefferson Pilot.
Bama trailed by seven points at halftime, 41-34, but outscored the Bulldogs, 9-2, in the opening moments of the second half to tie the game. It was tied for the final time at 48-48. State went on a 12-2 run at that point to put the gameBulldogs led by as many as 16 points in the final seconds.
While Alabama hit only 35 per cent of its field goals, the Bulldogs connected on 56 per cent. A big difference was in three-point shooting. Alabama missed its first 11 three-point tries and finished making only 3 of 24, 12.5 per cent. Mississippi State made 12 of 19 treys, 63 per cent. The shooting enabled the Bulldogs to overcome Alabama winning the rebound battle, 36-29, and State making more turnovers, 17 to the Tide's 13.
Erwin Dudley was the only Bama player in double figures, scoring 23 points.
"Mississippi State played exceptionally well," said Gottfried. "They have not shot the ball that well before tonight. We played hard, but State's shooting made it a hard day. We had good shots and just had one of those days where we weren't making them."
The coach added, "This was the start of a tough stretch, three out of four games on the road. And we've got to find a way to win on the road. I think our guys are going to be pretty hungry."