STARKVILLE, Miss. — The Mississippi State men’s basketball team is gearing up for its toughest test of the season as the Bulldogs host No. 24 Alabama on Saturday at 5 p.m. CT inside Humphrey Coliseum on SEC Network.
The Bulldogs (11-4, 2-1 SEC) are coming off an 88-72 win over Georgia on Wednesday. Junior guard Iverson Molinar scored a career-high 28 points and dished out a team-high seven assists to lead MSU. Redshirt junior forward Javian Davis produced 12 points off the bench to go with a team-high six rebounds and three blocks, while sophomore forwards Cameron Matthews and Andersson Garcia added 10 points each.
MSU scored a season-high 58 points in the paint despite not having redshirt junior forward Tolu Smith in the lineup. Smith is expected to play in Saturday’s contest but won’t start.
Molinar paces the Bulldogs with 17.5 points and 4.5 assists per game. Smith has put up 14.2 points and 7.8 rebounds in five games played this season. Graduate forward Garrison Brooks (10.8), Junior forward D.J. Jefferies (10.7) and sophomore guard Shakeel Moore (10.5) all average double-digit points.
The Crimson Tide (11-5, 2-2 SEC) is looking to snap a two-game losing streak after a home loss No. 4 Auburn (81-77) and a road loss to Missouri (92-86).
Alabama is led by a pair of top-10 scorers in the Southeastern Conference. Junior guard Jaden Shackleford is averaging 16.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game, while junior guard Jahvon Quinerly is putting up 15.4 points, 4.4 assists and 3.6 rebounds. Senior guard Keon Ellis joins the duo as a double-digit scorer. He averages 12.1 points and a team-high 6.3 rebounds.
Saturday’s game will be the first of two contests between the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide this season. They’re scheduled to play again on Feb. 16 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Saturday’s game will be the 207th meeting for MSU and Alabama on the hardwood. Alabama owns a 129-77 overall series advantage.