No. 6 Alabama holds off Mississippi State 64-59 to win SEC

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Mississippi State Guard Iverson Molinar (1) has the ball stripped by Alabama goaltender Keon Ellis (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Starkville, Mississippi on Saturday, February 27, 2021 (AP Photo / Rogelio V. of NCAA College Basketball game in Starkville, Mississippi, on Saturday, February 27, 2021 (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis)

STARKVILLE, Mississippi (AP) – Jaden Shackleford scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half, and the No.6 Alabama defeated Mississippi State 64-59 on Saturday night to win their first Southeastern Conference regular season championship since 2002.

The Crimson Tide (19-6, 14-2) led in double digits for much of the game forward the Bulldogs (13-12, 7-9) closed at 56-53 on Iverson Molinar’s layup with 4:17 left. Mississippi state had a chance to get even closer over the next three minutes, but Alabama came up with some big saves and James Rojas drained a 3 from the right corner to take it to 59-53 with 43 seconds. to play.

DJ Stewart Jr. made four free throws for MSU in the last minute, but Alabama scored 5 for 6 at the start line, including two successful attempts for John Petty Jr. with 11.9 to go.

Jahvon Quinerly had 19 points for Alabama, including 15 before halftime that helped the Tide out of a cold shoot start. Herbert Jones caught 14 rebounds as Alabama enjoyed a 45-40 rebound advantage.

Stewart scored 15 points for the Bulldogs, who had won their last two games games. Deivon Smith had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Molinar scored 11 points.

BIG PICTURE

Alabama: Quinerly’s scoring provided a huge boost for the Crimson Tide, who started 3 of 16 on the field and was 1 of 10 on a first-half stretch. They stayed cool for a while in the second, but came up with several key offensive rebounds to maintain possession and cut the clock ahead of Rojas’ big 3.

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs had a lot of great first-half looks that just didn’t fall. The second half started much better and they were able to come close but couldn’t get that basket of keys or stop Alabama on the glass.

FOLLOWING

Alabama host rival Auburn on Tuesday night, looking for a season sweep.

The State of Mississippi visits Texas A&M Wednesday evening.

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More AP College Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/College-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Source: Twitter AP

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