STARKVILLE, Miss. — After taking the short trip from Tuscaloosa to Mississippi State University, Alabama went long range to beat the hometown Bulldogs.
The Crimson Tide nailed its first five 3-point tries in the second half and ran away from Mississippi State 75-43 on Wednesday night.
Trevor Lacey, who didn’t score in the first half, knocked down three 3-pointers after intermission. Levi Randolph hit one, and Rodney Cooper added another, capping a 15-0 run and turning an eight-point halftime advantage into a 45-22 lead. Alabama poured it on from there.
“I thought the story tonight was defense,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “As well as we played offensively, I thought it was our defense that was good. ... Our energy on defense in the second half was higher.”
Before the game, Humphrey Coliseum endured a power outage of about 45 minutes, with the lights not returning until about 45 minutes before tipoff. The game wasn’t delayed, but MSU remained in the dark the rest of the way. Alabama scored more points in the second half (45) than Mississippi State managed all night (43).
Cooper led Alabama (10-6, 2-1 SEC) with 19 points, while Randolph matched his career high with 18 points, which he also produced last year against Mississippi State (7-8, 2-1). Nick Jacobs had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
“I challenged our guys defensively before the game,” Grant said. “It’s no secret the last two games we weren’t where we needed to be defensively. Our guys took the challenge defensively and did a better job.”
The Bulldogs held their last lead with a little more than seven minutes left at 19-18. The Crimson Tide then got baskets from Randolph, Nick Jacobs and Rodney Cooper each hit 2-pointers, and Alabama never trailed again.
Alabama did it without leading scorer Trevor Releford, a 6-foot-0 guard who averages 16.3 points a game. He injured his ankle during Monday’s practice and struggled to get through warmups. He was labeled as “doubtful” for the game by Tide coach Anthony Grant.