TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (Courtesy U of A Athletic Dept.)– The Alabama men’s basketball team (16-10, 7-7 Southeastern Conference) dropped Saturday’s home contest to Mississippi State (12-14, 5-9 SEC) by a final score of 67-61 in front of a sold out crowd inside Coleman Coliseum. The Crimson Tide struggled to consistently make baskets, especially from deep, and left 10 points at the foul line.
Alabama took an early 11-4 lead, but a 16-4 run by Mississippi State put the Bulldogs in front 20-15 at the 8:19 mark. The Tide hit four of its first five shots, but followed that up by making only two of its next 20 attempts. Mississippi State would lead by as many as nine with less than four minutes remaining, but junior Shannon Hale scored nine points in less than two minutes and senior Retin Obasohan knocked down a jumper at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 32-29 at the break.
The second half got off to a tense start, as each team picked up a technical foul before the first media timeout. The Bulldogs played with the lead the entire way, responding to every rally attempt Alabama put together. The Tide closed to within one at 41-40 with 14:42 on the clock, but Mississippi State scored the next six points. Alabama got within one point again (58-57) with less than five minutes to play. Following a timeout called by the visitors, the Bulldogs scored nine of the final 13 points to secure the victory.
Hale and Obasohan ended the game with 22 points each while Arthur Edwards pulled down a team-best seven boards.
Alabama will be on the road for its next context, traveling to Lexington, Ky., to take on No. 14/14 Kentucky on Tuesday, Feb. 23. The game is set for a 6 p.m. CT tip and will air live on ESPN.