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Bulldogs surrender 14 3-pointers in 81-73 loss at No. 18 Alabama

Bulldogs fall to 9-7.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi State at Alabama Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team couldn’t keep up with 14 made 3-pointers by No. 18 Alabama in Saturday’s 81-73 loss to the Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum.

Mississippi State (9-7, 4-4 SEC) made just 4 of 14 (28.6%) from 3-point range compared to 14 of 34 (41.2%) by Alabama (13-3, 8-0 SEC). Despite the lopsided 3-pointers advantage in favor of the Crimson Tide, MSU was able to hang around all game.

The Bulldogs were a two-man show on the offensive end with redshirt sophomore guard D.J. Stewart Jr. and sophomore guard Iverson Molinar putting up 27 and 19 points, respectively. Stewart was 7-for-7 from the free-throw line and Molinar was 8-for-8.

MSU shot 27-for-61 (44.3%) from the field for the game compared to 28-for-61 (45.9%) by Alabama. The Bulldogs owned a 38-26 edge in points in the paint.

The Crimson Tide was led by senior forward Herbert Jones with 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds and three blocks. Freshman guard Joshua Primo made four triples and finished with 16 points, while senior guard John Petty Jr. added 12 points on four 3-pointers.

Alabama led 8-6 at the first media timeout thanks to a pair of triples by Primo. The Bulldogs used a 13-3 run to go up 17-11 with 12:27 to play.

However, the Crimson Tide answered with a 9-2 run to go up 20-19 with 9:29 left in the first half.

The squads continued to trade baskets in a half that included 13 lead changes and five ties through the first 20 minutes. Five triples by the Crimson Tide in the final seven minutes of the half was enough to give them a five-point halftime lead at 40-35.

Alabama opened the second half on a 9-3 run to take a 49-38 lead at the 17:32 mark. MSU answered with a 13-5 run to cut the lead to 54-51 with 13:35 left to play.

The Crimson Tide then went on a quick 6-0 spurt to grow the lead to 60-51 with 10:30 left in the game. A triple and free throw by Jones then gave Alabama a 69-59 lead with 6:08 left, but the Bulldogs scored the next four points to trim the lead to 69-63 with 4:39 to play.

The Bulldogs cut the lead to five at 73-68 before another Alabama 3-pointer gave the Crimson Tide a 76-68 lead with 1:33 on the clock.

The Bulldogs went on a quick 5-0 run to pull within three at 76-73 with 58 seconds left, but a triple by Petty and a dunk by Primo sealed the 81-73 victory for Alabama.

The Bulldogs return to action Tuesday when they travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to face the No. 6 Tennessee Volunteers. Tip time is set for 6 p.m. CT.