STARKVILLE, Miss. – Alabama was tasked with facing yet another ranked opponent in 21st ranked Mississippi State to open SEC play Wednesday night.
The Bulldogs came in with a record of 11-1, their best start to a season since 2003.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Tide stars Mark Sears and Brandon Miller came to play, combining for 39 of Alabama’s 78 points in the win.
The Crimson Tide victory boosts them to a record of 11-2 on the season, with a perfect 4-0 record in true road games.
The tale of the tape was defense for the Tide tonight, holding the Bulldogs to 36% shooting from the floor. Alabama also forced 15 turnovers with six steals.
However, one thing the Crimson Tide cannot defend are free throws, and Mississippi State shot poorly tonight from the line, making just 18 of their 36 attempts. Bulldog forward Tolu Smith was the main source of missed free throws, finishing 3/15 from the charity stripe. Alabama held Smith, the Bulldogs leading scorer at 15.6 points per game, to just five points.
The Crimson Tide’s newcomers were the stars tonight, with Sears going for 20 points, three assists and two steals. Miller, the Tide’s freshman phenom, tacked on 19 points and 11 rebounds giving him his second straight double-double and his third of the season. Miller and Sears accounted for almost all of Alabama’s scoring from beyond the arc making a combined nine threes.
Nick Pringle and Noah Clowney were also big contributors for the Tide, with Clowney tallying 12 points and eight rebounds. Pringle brought a spark off the bench scoring 10 points on perfect 4/4 shooting and tacking on four boards.
Alabama will continue to need unfamiliar faces to contribute offensively with starting guard Nimari Burnett out for the foreseeable future.
The Crimson Tide will enjoy a nice break over the new year and be back in action on Tuesday against Ole Miss in what will be their first conference home game of the year.