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January 14, 2012

Tide falls to MSU on the road

STARKVILLE, Miss. | The Mississippi State Bulldogs didn't have much besides Arnett Moultrie and Dee Bost on Saturday afternoon - but that, and a couple of Brian Bryant baskets - was all they needed.

Moultrie and Bost combined for 42 points, including three clutch 3-pointers by Bost in the game's final five minutes, to take a 56-52 win over the University of Alabama. It was the first Southeastern Conference defeat for Alabama after a pair of league wins.

Despite a difficult day offensively, UA had a chance in the final minutes but, according to coach Anthony Grant, "didn't make the plays we needed to play at the end."

The Crimson Tide led 48-45 and had possession of the basketball with three minutes remaining, but a JaMychal Green turnover led directly to a game-tying 3-pointer by Bost, who knotted the game at 48-48 with 2:27 to go.

After Green missed a heavily guarded jumper at the Crimson Tide end, Bost hit another 3-pointer with 1:35 remaining, and Alabama never pulled even again.

"I had made a couple of shots before that, so I took it straight up," Bost said.
"Bost has made a career of that," Grant said, noting that MSU had missed its first 14 3-point attempts before Bost's late flurry.

That doesn't mean the Crimson Tide didn't have more chances. Green hit two free throws with 1:20 remaining then Tony Mitchell blocked Bryant's jump shot. But Green came up short on a heavily contested jumper with 43 seconds remaining, and after State used most of the shot clock, Bryant hit a runner in the lane to give State a 53-50 lead with 10.1 seconds remaining.
Rather than attempting a 3-pointer against a defense with two fouls to give before the bonus, Alabama attacked the basket, with Trevor Lacey hitting a layup with 3.4 seconds to go.

Alabama then applied pressure on the in-bounds play, but Bost hit Bryant at midcourt with a baseball pass and he streaked for the clinching layup and free throw.

"I told (Bryant) to go long and he did," Bost said. "I put some touch on it. I knew how far to throw it. He got some separation between himself and the defender."

"That was a typical hard-fought defensive SEC game," MSU coach Rick Stansbury said. "Dee Bost is one of those guys who can step up and make shots. He got on a roll at the right time for us, and Arnett was a warrior inside. He also did a great job on Mitchell defensively."

Moultrie was dominant for the first 25 minutes of play, although he did not score a points in the final 13:40, finishing with 25 points and 13 rebounds for MSU (15-3, 2-1 SEC).

Green scored 14 points to lead Alabama (13-4, 2-1 SEC). Mitchell added eight points and 10 rebounds.

Reach Cecil Hurt at cecil.hurt@tuscaloosanews.com or 205-722-0225.

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