Recapping MSU’s 75-43 loss to Alabama at Humphrey Coliseum on Wednesday.
• The buzz: A tight game for most of the first half was blown open in the second half, as Alabama came out of the locker room and drained five straight 3-pointers to stake a 45-22 lead. And that was that. MSU (7-8, 2-1 SEC) could never figure out Alabama’s full-court press and got killed on the boards. MSU saw its three-game winning streak snapped. Alabama (10-6, 2-1) was playing without point guard Trevor Releford (ankle), who was available but never entered the game.
• Turning point: Alabama made a late push to make it 30-22 going into the break, then Trevor Lacey buried three consecutive 3-pointers to open the second half and spark what wound up being a 21-0 run going back to the first half. MSU went scoreless for nearly eight minutes during the run.
• MVP: Guard Fred Thomas was the Bulldogs’ only double-digit scorer, with 10 points. Eight of those came in the first half.
• MSU leaders: Thomas 10 points (4-8 FGs, 2-4 3FGs), 5 rebounds; Craig Sword 9 points (4-10 FGs, 0-2 3FGs, 1-2 FTs).
• Alabama leaders: Levi Randolph 18 points (7-9 FGs, 2-2 3FGs, 2-2 FTs), 8 rebounds; Rodney Cooper 17 points (7-14 FGs, 3-5 3FGs); Nick Jacobs 16 points (8-10 FGs, 0-2 FTs), 11 rebounds; Lacey 11 points (4-8 FGs, 3-4 3FGs), 6 assissts.
• Key stats: Alabama out-rebounded MSU 35-23 and had 13 second-chance points. … Bama shot 53.4% overall and 61.5% from 3-point range. … MSU shot 35.6% overall and 27.8% from 3-point range. … Alabama outscored State in the paint, 38-18. … MSU committed 21 turnovers to Bama’s 12.
• Highlight reel: Lacey provided it, shooting over MSU’s zone at will. MSU called a timeout after the third one.
• Quotable: “Reading press clippings is like drinking poison. The poison can’t hurt you unless you drink it.” – MSU head coach Rick Ray, on his team’s complacency
• Bottom line: It’s no secret MSU has trouble handling pressure, and Alabama took full advantage of that. The Bulldogs settled for a lot of outside shots and could never get center Gavin Ware and the post game going. Ray was not pleased at all with the way his team competed and said the Bulldogs had lost their edge during practices this week.
• Up next: MSU travels to Knoxville on Saturday to battle Tennessee (3 p.m., SEC Network).