TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The No. 2/2 Alabama men’s basketball team battled back from a double-digit second half deficit to earn its ninth consecutive victory, outlasting Mississippi State 66-63 Wednesday night inside Coleman Coliseum.
The Crimson Tide secured its ninth straight win overall and eighth consecutive to begin conference play to improve to 18-2 on the year, however it was not easy. Alabama (18-2, 8-0 SEC) trailed by seven at halftime and by as many as 10 points, 43-33, early in the second half.
Alabama used a 15-3 run to take its first lead of the half at the 9:19 mark. The Tide extended its lead to as many as eight at 63-55 with 3:33 remaining following a 15-4 UA spurt. Alabama was able to hold off an 8-3 Bulldog run to result in the final score.
Mississippi State (12-8, 1-7) was led by Tolu Smith’s 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
HEAD COACH NATE OATS POSTGAME COMMENTS
“I have to give a ton of credit to Mississippi State. They came ready to play and I thought they had a great plan. They improved more than we improved from the first time we played them. I didn’t think we did a great job getting our guys ready to go, and we didn’t do a good job attacking them. We didn’t start the game the way we needed to, but I give our guys a lot of credit in the second half. We found a way to get a win in a tight game. We haven’t had a lot of tight games, so it’s not the worst. We have to figure out how to win close games. I told the guys about the SEC Championship tournament from two years ago. We were down 15 to Tennessee in the semifinal and had to figure out how to win games like that that aren’t going your way. We shot 18 percent from three tonight, couldn’t buy a bucket and still figured out how to beat a pretty good team. I know their record doesn’t say they’re good, but I think they’re a pretty good team and are going to upset some people. They play really hard and they had us down 11 at one point. They’re a quality team, and at this point, we’ll take the win.”
- With the victory, Alabama is now 8-0 in conference play for the second time in three seasons
- The Tide has now won six of its last seven matchups with the Bulldogs, including two victories this season
- After trailing 43-33 with…