The Humphrey Coliseum isn’t far from home for the University of Alabama men’s basketball team — but it definitely isn’t home.
The Crimson Tide, coming off its most significant road win of the season against Florida on Saturday, stays on the road Tuesday night against a Mississippi State team that is suddenly hot and trying to play its way into NCAA Tournament contention. The Crimson Tide won last month’s meeting in Tuscaloosa, 68-62, on January 20, but since that loss, the Bulldogs are 3-1 with consecutive victories over Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia. They are 15-1 overall at home with the only loss coming against SEC leader Auburn.
“They made a big comeback against us in the second half, and they’ve kept on playing well,” said Alabama coach Avery Johnson. “They are a really good team. Lamar Peters (MSU’s sophomore point guard) put on a show against us. We couldn’t guard him. He’s showing now why people have been talking about him and the (NBA) draft. Their inside players are strong. (Aric) Holman and Abdul Ado were both good against us. They got steals on us in their comeback so we have to take care of the ball, something we didn’t do in the first half of our last game.”
The Bulldogs are also getting solid production from the Weatherspoon brothers, sophomore Quindarry and freshman Nick, in the backcourt. Nick Weatherspoon was named the SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday after averaging 15.5 points per game in the wins over South Carolina and Georgia.
Alabama, with Collin Sexton sitting out due to injury, built a 19-point lead (41-22) at halftime in the first MSU game. State rallied to tie the game with just under three minutes to play but Alabama made free throws down the stretch to hold off the Bulldogs. Braxton Key led Alabama with 16 points in that game.
Sexton will be back for this game and is likely to start, although Johnson did not name a definite starting lineup on Monday. Alabama used both its post players, Donta Hall and Daniel Giddens on Saturday.
Reach Cecil Hurt at firstname.lastname@example.org or 205-722-0225.