By Brad Locke | NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Dee Bost emerged from his slump at just the right time.
His flurry of late 3-pointers helped No. 20 Mississippi State finish with an offensive flourish in what was mostly a defensive struggle, taking a 56-52 win over Alabama at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.
Entering this game, Bost had made only 7 of 37 from behind the arc over the previous seven games, and he missed his first four attempts against Alabama.
MSU (15-3, 2-1 SEC) missed its first 14 shots from 3-point range Saturday, but then Bost drained one with 4 minutes, 24 seconds left end a 15-2 Alabama run and spark a rally.
The senior point guard tied it at 48-48 with his second three, and then gave State a 51-48 led with 1:35 to go.
“I had hit two previous shots, and I felt like I was going to make a big play at some point in the game, and I did it,” said Bost, who finished with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
Alabama cut it to 53-52 with 3.4 seconds left, but then Bost found Brian Bryant downcourt on the inbounds for a layup and free throw to seal it.
“We live with some of his bad shots he takes, because you never know when he’ll get on a roll,” MSU coach Rick Stansbury said of Bost. “And he got on a roll at the right time for us.”
Forward Arnett Moultrie, going up against a tough Alabama frontcourt, had 25 points and 13 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. He was 10 of 14 shooting.
“From the get-go we wanted to get that ball inside,” Stansbury said. “We got it to him, and he went to war.”
He also played tough defense on Tony Mitchell, who was held to eight points.
JaMychal Green had 14 points to pace the Crimson Tide (13-4, 2-1), which had its five-game winning streak snapped. He had a tough time getting good looks inside, thanks in large part to the defensive effort of Renardo Sidney.
“Sidney with a big body like that will bang you, and Moultrie is athletic,” Green said. “That’s like a one-two punch.”
MSU established a 27-21 halftime lead and pushed that to 33-23 in the second half. Alabama, which allows the fewest points per game in the SEC, eventually clamped down and held MSU scoreless for a span of 6:31 to take a 46-42 lead.
Bryant had just five points, but they all came in the final 10 seconds of the game, and came after his layup with a minute to go was blocked.
“You can’t look back on the last play,” he said. “I just told myself that I had to get it back.”
MSU has won two straight – both by four points – after losing at Arkansas. The Bulldogs visit Ole Miss on Wednesday (8 p.m., CSS).