TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — No. 22 Mississippi State men’s basketball had a strong second half to erase a 12-point halftime deficit, but the Bulldog comeback came up short as MSU fell to Alabama 83-79 Tuesday night at Coleman Coliseum.
The Bulldogs fall to 15-5 (3-4 SEC), while the Crimson Tide improve to 13-7 (4-3 SEC).
MSU struggled to shoot the ball in the first half. The Bulldogs shot 11-32 (34.4 percent) and saw themselves trailing 41-29 at the break. To make things worse, late in the first half Nick Weatherspoon had a play where he went up for a dunk and came down awkwardly on his left leg. He later returned on crutches.
The second half is when the Bulldogs began their comeback. They shot 55.3 percent on 21 made field goals in the second half. In the opening minutes, MSU trailed by 14 points. Then with 13:46 left in the game, MSU went on a 9-0 run to come within three points to make it 51-54.
MSU was within three points on five occasions, four times of which were inside the final minute, but Alabama iced the game with late-game free throws.
Alabama found much of its success in the paint and held a 54-44 edge in the paint, however both teams struggled from beyond the arc. State shot 3-19 from three and Alabama shot just 1-of-15 from three. Free throws were also a key part of this ballgame as MSU shot just 12-22 (54.5 percent) from the charity stripe and Alabama shot 22-36.
Reggie Perry led the Bulldogs with a career-high 18 points on 9-12 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and two blocks in the contest. 14 of those points came in the second half when the Bulldogs were making their comeback.
Quinndary Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters both put up 14 points and Aric Holman chipped in with 12 points, eight rebounds and two assists. MSU out-rebounded Alabama 43-39 and held a 19-18 second chance points advantage.
Peters led the team with four assists.
The Bulldogs will now look to bounce back Saturday when they travel to Oxford, Miss. to face rival Ole Miss at The Pavilion. MSU fell to the Rebels 81-77 on Jan. 12 in Starkville. Tip time is set for 2:30 p.m. CT and will be televised by SEC Network.