Alabama beats MSU yet again

Published 9:54 pm Saturday, January 28, 2017

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Braxton Key scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Alabama defeated Mississippi State 71-62 on Saturday.

Quinndary Weatherspoon knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half with 6:08 remaining, but Key responded with a 3 of his own on the other end of the floor.

“Pretty sure we got an offensive rebound, and Dazon (Ingram) had it at the top of the key and I just saw an opening in the corner so I just decided to sprint there and I was wide open,” Key said.

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The Crimson Tide (13-7, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) expanded the lead further with a 13-2 run that happened in large part thanks to five late Bulldog turnovers and six points from Key. He finished the half with 12 points.

Mississippi State (13-7, 4-4) won the battle on the boards (40-37) behind the efforts of Aric Holman, who finished with a team-high nine rebounds.

The Crimson Tide more than made up for it by making 31 of 36 free throws to outscore the Bulldogs by 20 points at the line. Alabama also scored 23 points off of 18 Mississippi State turnovers.

“We really competed, and I really liked the fight in the team,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. “We simply had too many turnovers, and they went to the line too many times. You can’t put a team on the line 36 times. That’s difficult to overcome, especially on the road.”

Lamar Peters scored 13 points to lead the Bulldogs in the loss. Schneider Heard added 12 points and six rebounds, and Weatherspoon had 11 points and seven rebounds.

Mississippi State lost to Alabama for the 10th time in 12 meetings ­— and second time this season — as it continued to slump after a strong start to the SEC schedule.
Since winning three of their first four league games, the Bulldogs have lost three of four. The only win in the more recent streak was at home against last-place Missouri.

Mississippi State plays at archrival Ole Miss on Tuesday night.

“We are playing some really good basketball teams,” Howland said. “Credit to Alabama for getting the ball inside and making free throws.”

In addition to Key, Ingram and Riley Norris scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for the Crimson Tide.

“Overall I’m proud of our team,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “We’ve had a long week for a lot of reasons, because a week ago we weren’t a happy basketball team. The Sunday following that game (at Auburn) we were very dejected, but I like the way they’ve responded.”