Braxton Key scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Alabama defeated Mississippi State 71-62 inside Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.
Quinndary Weatherspoon knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the second half with 6:08 remaining, but Key responded with a 3 of his own on the other end of the floor.
The Crimson Tide (13-7, 6-2 SEC) expanded the lead further with a 13-2 run that happened in large part thanks to five late Bulldog turnovers and six points from Key who finished the half with 12 points.
Mississippi State (13-7, 4-4) won the battle on the boards (40-37) behind the efforts of Aric Holman who finished with a team-high nine rebounds behind only Alabama’s Bola Olaniyan (11).
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Lamar Peters scored 13 points to lead the Bulldogs in the loss. In addition to Key, the Crimson Tide had two players match or exceed that point total as Dazon Ingram and Riley Norris scored 15 and 13 points, respectively.
One week after the Crimson Tide’s biggest loss of the season – a 20-point defeat at Auburn – the team outscored its last two opponents by a total of 29 points.
After scoring 84 points or more in five of the last six games, the Bulldogs offense struggled inside the confines of Coleman Coliseum on Saturday.
The victory allows the Crimson Tide to hold onto its No. 4 spot in the SEC ahead of a road showdown on Wednesday with an Arkansas Razorback team sits only one game back.
The Bulldogs can match last season’s win total with a victory over in-state rival Ole Miss in Oxford on Tuesday.