Friday in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament, Alabama won convincingly over the Mississippi State Bulldogs 72-49, remaining a perfect 3-0 against the Bulldogs on the season.
After a four-game stint in which Alabama had gotten off to bad starts and struggled shooting the three-pointer, the Crimson Tide came out hot in the first half looking more like they had most of the season. Alabama’s three-point shooting helped bust the game wide open in the first half as Alabama made as many three-pointers, eight, as Mississippi State had field goals, leading to a 20-point margin going into halftime.
During the stretch of games with Alabama struggling on offense, Jahvon Quinerly has had to provide some spark off the bench, but Friday, the SEC Sixth Man of the Year was rewarded with his first start of the season. Quinerly took advantage of the opportunity and provided Alabama with an immediate spark, adding another scorer to the starting lineup. Quinerly finished the game with 10 points and four assists, hitting two of his five attempts from behind the arc.
With Quinerly getting the start, Noah Gurley stepped into the sixth-man role, scoring 11 points off the bench, leading an Alabama bench that outscored Mississippi State’s bench 25-8.
The SEC Player of the Year, Brandon Miller, continued to be excellent, with a game-high 18 points shooting 4-for-9 from behind the arc. Miller also came just one rebound short of a double-double, finishing with nine rebounds.
Over the past four games, Alabama’s offense has been receiving criticism, but the defense was struggling as well, giving up an average of 77 points over that stretch, much higher than their season average of 68 points per game allowed. Friday, along with the offense, Alabama’s defense returned to its normal form limiting Mississippi to just 49 points, their lowest point total of the season.
Having the week off seems to have rejuvenated the Crimson Tide as they are heating up at just the right time.
Alabama will play again Saturday at noon against the winner of Tennessee vs. Missouri.
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