No. 20 Mississippi St. 56, Alabama 52

Arnett Moultrie did the dirty work. Dee Bost got all the


But there was no jealousy during the postgame celebration after

No. 20 Mississippi State rallied in the final minutes to beat

Alabama 56-52 on Saturday.

”This is (Bost’s) team. He’s the head of our snake,” Moultrie

said with a wide grin. ”As he goes, we go.”

Moultrie scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against a

stingy Crimson Tide defense for his ninth double-double of the

season, but it was three clutch 3-pointers from Bost in the final

minutes that pushed Mississippi State (15-3, 2-1 Southeastern

Conference) to the victory.

Moultrie didn’t mind deferring during the most important part of

the game. The way Bost was shooting, no one was going to argue.

”Bost is one of those guys who can step up and take shots,”

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. ”We live with the bad

shots he takes because he can get on a roll and he did that today

at a critical time.”

Alabama trailed 33-23 early in the second half but methodically

worked its way back into the game with timely baskets and lockdown

defense. The Crimson Tide came into the game with the SEC’s best

defense, giving up 55.7 points per game.

Alabama pushed ahead 46-42 with 5:40 left, but then Bost’s

3-point barrage began. His last one – when he was falling away and

shot over a defender – gave the Bulldogs a 51-48 lead with 1:32


JaMychal Green led Alabama (13-4, 2-1) with 14 points. Tony

Mitchell and Trevor Lacey each added eight points, but it wasn’t

enough as the Tide’s winning streak was snapped at five games.

The Tide didn’t have a bad game, shooting 23 of 51 from the

field (45.1 percent) and forcing Mississippi State’s guards to take

tough shots for the majority of the afternoon. But Bost willed the

Bulldogs to victory, and now the Crimson Tide will have to bounce

back from their first conference loss of the season.

”That’s life in the SEC,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant


Green pulled Alabama to 51-50 with 1:20 left after making two

free throws. Mississippi State’s Brian Bryant responded with a

short running jumper – his first basket of the game – to give the

Bulldogs a 53-50 lead with 10 seconds remaining. Bryant also made a

layup on a full-court pass from Bost with 1.2 seconds left that

sealed the victory.

Bost’s 3-pointers might just be the signal that a lengthy

shooting slump is over. He shot just 21 of 76 from the field (27.6

percent) over the past six games, and was having another rough game

before the scoring outburst, missing his first four 3-point


Bost was key in the clutch, splashing home three straight from

beyond the arc as the crowd in a sold-out Humphrey Coliseum


He finished with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 3 of 7

from 3-point range.

Until the frantic final minutes, it was a grinding, halfcourt

game that focused on each team’s post players.

Moultrie got the best of the matchup, with 14 points and seven

rebounds in the first half. His tip-in at the buzzer gave the

Bulldogs a 27-21 lead.

”He was really active,” Alabama’s Andrew Steele said. ”With

his length he was really tough to deal with.”

The 6-foot-11 Moultrie has been one of the SEC’s most productive

players, averaging 15.9 points and 10.8 rebounds, and he gave the

Crimson Tide plenty of problems with his athleticism and touch

around the basket. He made 10 of 14 shots from the field and 5 of 7

from the free throw line.

”Arnett was a man today, and we were very conscious about

trying to get him the basketball,” Stansbury said.

He was quiet in the game’s final minutes, but that was because

Bost was taking – and making – all the shots.


Follow David Brandt on Twitter: (at)davidbrandtAP