- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - Mississippi State couldn’t execute its plan for containing Trevor Releford, and the Alabama star took full advantage.

Releford scored 28 points, nailed six 3-pointers and led the Crimson Tide to an 80-61 win over the Bulldogs on Wednesday night.

“When you don’t carry out scouting assignments against a good player, he’s going to have some success,” Bulldogs coach Rick Ray said. “We wanted to make sure we took away some opportunities from Releford, and we didn’t do that.”

Releford was 10-of-13 shooting for the Tide (8-8, 2-1 Southeastern Conference), which has won a league-high 14 consecutive SEC home games.

Shannon Hale added 12 points for Alabama, Retin Obasohan had 11 and Rodney Cooper 10.

Releford was 6 of 9 from 3-point range and is averaging 22 points over the last five games. Obasohan also had four blocked shots and three steals.

“Offensively the second half we really got into a flow,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “Trevor was tremendous tonight, and not just with the points. I thought he really led our team with the way he played.

“It’s great to see the ball go in and these guys have success.”

Gavin Ware’s 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting led Mississippi State (11-5, 1-2), which was held within three points of its season-low in scoring. Craig Sword scored 12 points.

The Bulldogs had managed 58 in an early win over Jackson State and 63 against Kentucky a week ago. They were coming off a win over rival Mississippi but couldn’t sustain that play. Ray said he didn’t like what he saw even in the pre-game shootaround.

“We’ve got to find a way for our guys to learn how to deal with success,” he said. “We haven’t had a lot of success here, but when we do our guys get so wrapped up in that success and don’t carry it over to the next game and know who we are as a team.”

Alabama shot 52.6 percent (30 of 57) from the floor and made 10 3-pointers.

It was a dominant performance for the Tide, which led by 12 at halftime after scoring just 58 points in a road loss to Georgia.

The Tide has won the last four meetings and six straight over the Bulldogs at Coleman Coliseum.

Releford hit two 3-pointers in a 36-second span and Hale hit a third to give Alabama a 56-37 lead with 12:19 left.

The quick surge came after Releford was called for a technical foul for jawing after making a basket and the Bulldogs followed with five straight points.

“I was very hyped up,” Releford said. “Just a lot of energy. I’m a senior. I shouldn’t get that technical. I should be smarter than that.”

Releford didn’t do much wrong the rest of the night, dishing out four assists against one turnover.

Alabama’s lead ballooned to 23 points on another Releford 3-pointer and a drive by Randolph and Mississippi State couldn’t get it much closer.

The Tide closed the first half on a 9-1 run to take a 38-26 lead and only heated up after that.

Alabama hit 17 of 30 shots (56.7 percent) in the second half and reached 80 points for only the third time this season.

Mississippi State came in averaging a league-best 9.6 steals and had only three, forcing 11 turnovers.

“Their defense, like we try to do, creates offense for them, so we wanted to limit those opportunities,” Grant said.

I.J. Ready played only six minutes before leaving after a collision with Carl Engstrom. Ray said he might have sustained a concussion.

“We need him out on the court because he’s a steadying influence on our team and also can make a shot and he’s our best passer,” Ray said. “Not having him out there was a problem but it shouldn’t be a reason why you lose by 20 points.”

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

blog comments powered by Disqus

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide