Alabama preview

Fred Thomas is averaging 6.8 points against Alabama during his career. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Fred Thomas is averaging 6.8 points against Alabama during his career. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Mississippi State is coming off a dramatic 75-74 buzzer-beating victory over Vanderbilt Tuesday night, having battled back from a 17-point deficit in the second half.

The Bulldogs are hoping to use that excitement and energy of having made plays down the stretch to win a game at Alabama today, something they didn’t do in an 82-80 overtime loss in Starkville on Feb. 2.

“This gives us some momentum going into Alabama, a game we felt we should’ve won,” said MSU coach Ben Howland. “We were up seven with five minutes to go, had a 1-and-1 with 7.8 seconds left and had our opportunities to win the last time we played them.”

Tip-off is slated for 1:30 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.

The Crimson Tide knocked down 11 3-pointers in the previous meeting and were led by senior guard Retin Obasohan scoring 25 points. MSU received a career-high 28 points by Gavin Ware in 29 minutes off the bench in the loss.

Alabama has won six straight over the Bulldogs and also six consecutive wins at Coleman Coliseum. State’s last win in Tuscaloosa came 66-56 in 2008. The Tide lead the series 120-73 overall and are 76-14 at home.

Alabama is 16-9 on the season including a 7-6 mark in conference play. The Crimson Tide are undefeated during the month of February, having reeled off five straight victories.

Alabama is coming off a 76-69 win at LSU on Wednesday with Obasohan going off for a career-best 35 points. He paces the Tide averaging 16.7 points per game.

Ware continues to lead Mississippi State scoring 16 points and grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game. He leads the SEC shooting 62.6 percent from the field and is expected to return to the starting lineup today after coming off the bench against Vandy due to disciplinary action taken by Howland.

Freshman guard Quinndary Weatherspoon, who hit the game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer against the Commodores, scored a personal best 24-points in that game and leads the team with 14.9 points in conference play.

Weatherspoon has scored in double figures in nine of the Bulldogs’ last 10 games. The only contest he came up short was against Alabama in which he was held to eight points.

MSU is 11-14 on the year and are tied for 12th in the league with a 4-9 mark. The Bulldogs are trying to better their seeding for the SEC Tournament with five games remaining in the regular season.

“We still have the last half of the conference season to go to set ourselves up for a good chance in the SEC tournament,” Ware said. “That’s our main focus right now, just have a good spot in the tournament so we can at least have a chance to win it.”

I have covered Mississippi State in some capacity since 2004 and joined the Daily Journal staff in 2013. I enjoy short walks on the beach, performing concerts in my car and watching professional wrestling.

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