By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Renardo Sidney found himself on the bench again, for far too long.
Just 80 seconds into Wednesday’s game at Alabama, MSU’s 6-foot-10 sophomore picked up two fouls and checked out for the rest of the first half. The Crimson Tide went on a tear and never looked back in the 75-61 win.
Sidney came back in the second half and was strong, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-9 shooting. But it was too late. MSU’s game plan had been shot to bits.
“When he came in, you see what he can do, score at will,” point guard Dee Bost said. “It hurt us a lot. We’ve just got to keep him out of foul trouble.”
In the four previous games, Sidney fouled out twice and reached four fouls twice. He played just 13 minutes in MSU’s last loss, to Vanderbilt.
His absence hurt MSU both offensively and on the glass Wednesday. Alabama out-rebounded State 39-25, and forward Kodi Augustus – owner of seven double-doubles this season – had just one rebound.
“Does that change the outcome of game? I don’t know the answer to that,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. “But we’d much rather have him on the court than sitting beside us.”
– He’s just a freshman, but Alabama point guard Trevor Releford is quickly becoming an impact player. He outplayed Bost, scoring 16 points, many of those on nifty moves to the basket. He also had eight assists and spearheaded Alabama’s pressure defense.
“To have to guard a guy the caliber of Dee Bost and what he’s capable of doing, and then running the team and making decisions on the other end, that combined was a very impressive night for him,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said.
Bost took responsibility for his team’s inability to handle Releford and the Tide’s defense.
“Mainly on me. I made mistakes in the double team. We’ve got to be able to handle the pressure.”
– “You dig yourself a hole on the road and it’s tough to come back, and that’s what we did.” – MSU coach Rick Stansbury
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.