Alabama beats Mississippi State 68-58 behind Johnson, Ingram
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) Avery Johnson Jr. and Dazon Ingram each scored 13 points to lead Alabama to a 68-58 win over Mississippi State in their Southeastern Conference opener on Tuesday night.
Riley Norris added 11 points and Alabama (8-5) out-rebounded Mississippi State 43-26.
Mario Kegler scored 12 points and Tyson Carter added 10 for Mississippi State (9-4).
”It was a little bit of a roller-coaster game for us but we will take it,” said Alabama coach Avery Johnson. ”We got off to a slow start but found a rhythm around the 15-minute mark of the first half. We just locked in, defensively, and that was fun to watch.”
Trailing by 12 at halftime, Mississippi State opened the second half on an 8-0 run and tied it at 44 with 9:30 left. Alabama then went on a 9-2 run and the Bulldogs got no closer than six the rest of the way.
”That was a tough loss and a tough way to start out the conference season,” said Mississippi State coach Ben Howland. ”In the first half we took 28 shots and 14 of them were 3-pointers. We were way too anxious and we don’t understand how we have to play, offensively, as a team.”
The Bulldogs jumped to a 9-3 advantage as Alabama missed its first six shot attempts, but the Crimson Tide scored 11 straight and led 22-13 midway through the first half. Alabama led by as many as 13 and held a 32-20 halftime advantage.
”When we were up by eight at the beginning of the game, we took three really rushed shots,” Howland said. ”That’s way too fast and we have to be smart on offense and limit that.”
Mississippi State shot 25 percent in the first half and made 1 of 14 from behind the arc. Alabama shot 35.5 percent from the field in the first half.
The win marked Alabama’s fourth straight at Humphrey Coliseum, the longest such streak for the Crimson Tide.
”I thought our non-conference schedule was strong enough for us to survive some adversity in a game,” Johnson said. ”We did that tonight and we finished strong.”
Alabama outscored the Bulldogs 38-24 in the paint and also has a 12-5 advantage on the offensive glass. Ingram had a game-high nine rebounds for the Crimson Tide and also had a team-high four assists.
”Our rebounds are always a point of emphasis for us to be successful,” said Ingram. ”Coach Avery wants me to go to the offensive glass when I can and we all did that tonight.”
For the game, Mississippi State shot 36.5 percent and made 4 of 21 attempts from behind the arc. Alabama finished with 17 turnovers while the Bulldogs had 13 turnovers.
Mississippi State: Sophomore Quinndary Weatherspoon entered Tuesday’s game averaging a team-best 19.1 points a game. After scoring a combined 52 points in the previous two games, Weatherspoon had a season-low seven points against Alabama.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide improved to 8-0 when holding their opponent to under 62 points.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs take to the road for the first time in SEC play and travel to LSU on Saturday.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide host their first SEC game of the season and face Vanderbilt on Saturday