The 3-pointer: Three takeaways from Alabama’s win over Miss State

The 3-pointer: Three takeaways from Alabama’s win over Miss State

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. –It wasn’t pretty but Alabama held on to claim its eighth conference win of the season with a 66-63 win on Wednesday.

Here are three takeaways from Alabama’s ninth straight win.

Alabama’s frigid first half

While temperatures hovered just above freezing outside the Coleman Coliseum on Wednesday, it was even colder inside the building.

Alabama shot a cold 33% in the first half en route to scoring just 29 points in the first 20 minutes of play. It was the second time the Crimson Tide had fewer than 30 points this season and the first time since the team beat No. 1 Houston on Dec. 10. In addition to their icy shot from the field, the Crimson Tide converted just three of their 16 3-point attempts in the first half. Brandon Miller led the team in scoring with just six points as Alabama didn’t have a double-digit scorer until Miller did with 11:35 left in the second half.

The team’s unusually cold night didn’t just stay on the offensive end of the floor, Alabama struggled to stop Mississippi State as they shot 56.7% from the floor in first half. The Bulldogs were led by Tolu Smith’s 10 points shooting an effective 5 of 7 from the floor.

Mississippi State dominates in the paint

Part of what made Mississippi State so hard to slow down Wednesday was its ability to score in the paint. For only the third time this season, Alabama dropped the points in the paint battle as the Bulldogs outscored the Crimson Tide 40-26. Against Gonzaga and UConn, Alabama was outclassed in the paint, resulting in its two losses this season.

The Bulldogs opted to use the same strategy to beat Alabama on the inside as they constantly fed Smith and DJ Jefferies throughout the game. The duo combined for 24 points, all of which came from within 15 feet of the basket. However, in the second half, Alabama made adjustments that thwarted the Bulldogs’ offense. After scoring a clip 56 percent from the floor, Mississippi State posted a 34.6 percent shooting percentage in the second half while holding Smith to just five points in that span.

Alabama’s winning streak

Despite struggling throughout the game, Alabama showed signs of a championship team. In the final seven minutes of the game, the Crimson Tide went on a 17-11 streak, which didn’t give Alabama their first lead of the game – it was the only lead they needed to secure his 18th victory of the season.

Jahvon Quinerly pioneered the game-winning run, totaling a team-high seven points, including five from the free-throw line. Quinerly ended up being Alabama’s most consistent offensive threat as he had 14 points and four assists in the win. With Quinerly, Alabama got major contributions from Miller, Mark Sears, Noah Clowney and Rylan Griffen.

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