Alabama got physical with Mississippi State and won a hard-fought battle on the road Saturday night 82-74 to advance to 3-0 in the SEC.
Alabama and Mississippi State are two NCAA tournament teams that play contrasting styles. Alabama likes to run, and Mississippi State likes to play tough inside. On Saturday, Alabama’s style was on full display, but they also showed that they can battle down low and be a physical team.
Here are a few takeaways from the game.
Wrightsell Provides a Spark Off the Bench
Latrell Wrightsell, Jr. came into Saturday’s matchup averaging just six points a game. Off the bench, he provided some needed offense for the Crimson Tide dropping 19 points. Wrightsell did most of his damage from behind the arc, draining five of his nine three-point attempts.
Nelson Excels on Defense
Grant Nelson has had his struggles on the offensive end of the court during SEC play. Nelson was held to nine points on Saturday but contributed heavily on the defensive end for the Crimson Tide. Nelson finished the game with a team-high nine rebounds and three blocks. He also held his own inside battling the bigs of Mississippi State.
Alabama likes to run, and that’s exactly what the Tide did Saturday night. Alabama ran every chance it could, and it showed in the discrepancy in the fastbreak column. A big difference maker in the game was the Crimson Tide scoring 18 fastbreak points to Mississippi State’s zero points off the fastbreak.
Sears Comes Alive in the Second Half
It looked like Mississippi State had figured out how to shut down the SEC’s leading scorer, limiting Mark Sears to just five points in the first half. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, in the second half, Sears hit one of his scoring runs where he takes over the game. Sears scored eight straight for the Crimson Tide in the second half on his way to finishing the game with a game-high 22 points.
Alabama returns back home to face Missouri on Tuesday at 6 p.m. CT.
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