Resilient Alabama upsets No. 22 Mississippi State, 83-79

The Crimson Tide holds off strong comeback attempt by Bulldogs in win

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Alabama men’s basketball squad upset No. 22 Mississippi State 83-79 in Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday.

While at one point the Crimson Tide led by 14 points in the first half, the Bulldogs came roaring back in the second, cutting the lead to three points a couple of times in the final minutes.

Fortunately for Alabama, stout defensive play and clutch blocks by freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. and sophomore guard Herbert Jones in the final minute were key in holding off Mississippi State, putting the game away for good.

Senior forward Donta Hall led the Crimson Tide with 19 points, while sophomore guard John Petty and veteran forward Riley Norris also registered double-digit points with 13 and 11, respectively.

In was Alabama's seventh consecutive home victory over an AP Top-25 team, and third in the month of January.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Alabama coach Avery Johnson said. “We had quite a few guys offensively contribute tonight. When you have eight guys in your rotation with six or seven or more points, it’s kind of hard to scout where our offense is coming from.

“We talked about the good, the bad, the ugly, and we’ll get back to work on Thursday."

In addition to a well-rounded offense, Alabama played solidly on defense as well. Jones and junior guard/forward Tevin Mack led the team in blocks with three apiece, with Hall and Lewis registering two and one, respectively. The Crimson Tide also grabbed 27 defensive rebounds, opposed to the Bulldogs’ 24.

“Give them credit,” Mississippi State coach Ben Howland said. “Alabama is a really good team, very well coached. They played very tough defensively tonight.”

Mississippi State sophomore guard Nick Weatherspoon, who has had a dynamic season so far for the Bulldogs, left late in the first half with an apparent knee injury. He will undergo further examination and an MRI on Wednesday, according to Howland.

The Crimson Tide is now 13-7 on the season, and 4-3 in SEC play. The Bulldogs fell to 15-5, 3-4 in the SEC.

Alabama’s next game will be at in-state rival Auburn on Saturday. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. CT tip (ESPN2).