No. 24 Alabama thrashes Miss. State, 99-67

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 04 Feb, 2024 at 04:59 AM

Credit: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Mark Sears scored 21 points Saturday night and No. 24 Alabama remained atop the Southeastern Conference by squashing visiting Mississippi State 99-67 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Aaron Estrada added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Crimson Tide (16-6, 8-1 SEC), while reserves Jarin Stevenson and Mouhamed Dioubate each tallied 14 points.

Alabama got going after a slow start to hit 44.6 percent of its field goal attempts, connecting on 18 of its first 20 2-point shots.

More impressive was the Tide's defensive effort, which discombobulated the Bulldogs (14-8, 3-6). They limited them to 40 percent accuracy from the field and also forced 18 turnovers that they converted into 27 points.

Tolu Smith III scored a game-high 23 points for Mississippi State, while Shakeel Moore added 13 and Shawn Jones Jr. hit for 10 points. But the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer, freshman guard Josh Hubbard, was held to seven on 1-of-9 shooting.

Mississippi State, which remained winless in true road games, managed to hang around for the first 10 minutes by slowing the pace against the nation's highest-scoring team. But once Alabama got its offense that averages 89.4 point per game in gear, it ran away and hid.

Beginning with Sears' 3-pointer off an Estrada assist at the 8:53 mark, the Tide peeled off an 8-0 run that Stevenson capped with a 3-pointer with 6:59 left to make it 26-16.

But the spurt that decided the game occurred after Smith made two free throws to pull the Bulldogs within 29-22.

Dioubate started the run with a layup and then followed a Sears' 3-pointer with an old school three-point play. It grew from there into an 18-2 avalanche that Stevenson finished with a layup, turning a competitive game into a 47-24 blowout at the half.

It got no better for Mississippi State in the second half. Estrada made a layup at the 13:29 mark to push the advantage to 30 for the first time and Alabama kept rolling. The margin reached 34 twice in the final minute.

--Field Level Media