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Mississippi State Gets the Win It Had to Have, Take Down Alabama 81-62

Ben Howland told the media after Saturday’s loss to Kentucky that Mississippi State’s game on Tuesday against Alabama was a must win, a game the Bulldogs had to have if they wanted to put together a push that got them back into the NCAA Tournament. That message was obviously heard by his team, as MSU played with great energy from the opening tip to claim a 81-62 win over the Crimson Tide. State pushed out to an early lead, had a double digit advantage nine minutes into the game, and never led Alabama get closer than 9 points in the second half. Lamar Peters led the Bulldogs with 22 points, Quinndary Weatherspoon added 20, which came on 8-10 shooting, and Reggie Perry clamied another double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.


Two weeks ago, Alabama controlled the paint against Mississippi State, rolling up 54 points in total down low. This time, State upped the aggressiveness on defense, holding the Tide to 24 points in the post, while the Bulldogs claimed 40. State also had huge advantages in points off turnovers (28-5), and second chance points (19-9), while forcing 18 Alabama turnovers. Howland said in his post game press conference that this was the best game MSU had played while he has been head coach, and it started with the energy the Bulldogs had on the defensive end.


There may not be a more consistent player in the SEC this year than Quinndary Weatherspoon. It seems every night he is finding his way to the rim, hitting big three point shots, and all in all driving the engine of Mississippi State basketball. Weatherspoon had a slow first half with only 6 points, but he would tally 14 more in the second half to go with 6 assists for the game. I’ve been so impressed with how easily he seems to get himself high percentage shots by taking his man off the dribble, it seems as if four or five times a game he’s barreling into the lane for a bucket or drawing a foul. MSU can only go as far as Weatherspoon takes them, and he looks set to make a push here as the season’s stretch run arrives.


Arkansas took a surprising loss to Missouri on Tuesday night, so the Razorbacks will be a desperate team when the Bulldogs arrive in Fayetteville. State will need another effort like they put out tonight, as a loss to the Hogs will bring down that all important NET rating. Tipoff is set for 7:30 PM as State tries to grab a win at a location where historically they have struggled.

We’ll take a lot more about this game and what it means for MSU on the Thunder & Lightning Podcast and on SportsTalk Mississippi.

Photo courtesy of Mississippi State athletics

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