NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The No. 9 seed Mississippi State men’s basketball team fell to top-seeded Alabama 85-48 on Friday in a Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinal game inside Bridgestone Arena.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 15-14 (8-10 SEC), while the Crimson Tide improves to 22-6 (16-2 SEC) and advances to face fourth-seeded Tennessee in Saturday’s semifinals. The Bulldogs await to see its postseason destination.
“There is an outside chance we could be invited to postseason play in the NIT, but we will find out Sunday.” head coach Ben Howland said.
Sophomore guard Iverson Molinar led the Bulldogs with 18 points, while redshirt sophomore forward Tolu Smith had 13 points and six rebounds. Redshirt senior forward Abdul Ado finished with six points and 11 rebounds. His 11 boards contributed to a 43-35 rebounding edge for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs shot 18-for-62 (29.0%) from the field, including just 1-for-19 (5.3%) from 3-point range. In comparison, the Crimson Tide shot 32-for-66 (48.5%), including 13-for-36 (36.1%) on 3-point shots. Alabama also benefited from 18 Bulldog turnovers to outscore MSU 30-11 in points off turnovers.
Alabama was led by sophomore guards Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Shackelford with 14 and 13 pints, respectively. Redshirt freshman forward Juwan Gary had 11.
MSU held an early 4-3 lead before Alabama used a 15-3 spurt to pull ahead 18-7 with 12:11 left in the first half.
A jumper and free throw by Molinar cut it to 18-10 before the Crimson Tide went on a 21-1 run to take a 30-point lead at 43-13 with 2:27 left in the half. The teams went into the halftime break with the Crimson Tide leading 47-19.
Alabama continued its first-half momentum to go on a 10-2 run to take its largest lead of the game at 57-21 with 16:40 to go in the second half.
The Bulldogs used an 8-0 spurt to cut the deficit to 57-29, but the Crimson Tide dominated the rest of the way to an 85-48 victory.