STARKVILLE, Miss. — Alabama’s road woes resurfaced once again as another sloppy offensive performance gifted host Mississippi State a 81-62 victory Tuesday night inside Humphrey Coliseum.
The Crimson Tide coughed up 18 total turnovers — including 15 steals by the Bulldogs — that Mississippi State transformed into a dominating 28-5 advantage on points-off-turnovers to avenge its loss in Tuscaloosa just two weeks ago.
The turnover troubles spoiled an otherwise balanced scoring night by Alabama (15-9, 6-5 SEC), which had four players in double figures led by a team-high 17 points from freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr., 13 from junior wing Tevin Mack, 12 from junior guard Dazon Ingram and 11 from senior center Donta Hall. Lewis and Mack combined for all but one of Alabama’s 3-pointers in a difficult 7-of-24 effort from deep Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Bulldogs veteran guards Lamar Peters and Quinndary Weatherspoon led the MSU (17-7, 5-6 SEC) with 22 and 20 points, respectively. Freshman forward Reggie Perry added a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as Mississippi State also controlled the boards with a 35-28 rebounding advantage.
Alabama returns to Coleman Coliseum on Saturday for a game against Florida (12-11, 4-6 SEC) at 1 p.m.
Here are three takeaways from Tuesday night’s road loss against Mississippi State:
1. Turnover woes
A little more than a week after a season-high 21 turnovers doomed the Tide on the road at rival Auburn, Alabama’s sloppy play reared its ugly head once again.
The Crimson Tide turned the ball over nine times in the first half and nine more in the second, helping the host Bulldogs to a commanding 16-2 advantage in points off turnovers in the opening period.
Alabama’s offensive mistakes started early Tuesday as Tevin Mack, Herbert Jones and Dazon Ingram turned the ball over on three straight possessions in the first 3½ minutes.
That help spark Mississippi State on a 14-3 scoring run that included two more Tide turnovers, including a scoop-and-score by Bulldogs guard Nick Weatherspoon of Alabama’s Donta Hall for a 22-10 lead with 10:29 left in the first half.
MSU senior guard Quincy Weatherspoon also added a pair of steals in the final 5:25, the last of which led to a 3-pointer from Lamar Peters for a 34-20 advantage with 4:03 remaining in the opening half.
2. Rebounding woes
Still one of the top rebounding teams in the SEC, Alabama has struggled to control the boards for much of the last two weeks, losing the rebounding battle in four of its last five games.
That was especially evident Tuesday night as Mississippi State’s freshman duo of 6-10 forward Reggie Perry and 6-7 wing Robert Woodard II combined for 19 of its 35-26 rebounding advantage.
The differential was once again noticeably heavy on the offensive end, as the Bulldogs held a 14-8 advantage on offensive rebounds, which it turned into a 19-9 advantage in second-chance points.
3. 3-point woes
Alabama's inability to establish any consistency from outside has been an issue much of the season and has been especially costly on the road this season.
Kira Lewis and Tevin Mack each contributed three 3-pointers on a combined 6-of-16 from beyond the arch, but the rest of the team was a combined 1-of-8, including 0-of-2 from sophomore wing John Petty.
Meanwhile, Mississippi State’s Lamar Peters and Quinndary Weatherspoon were a combined 6-of-10 from 3-point range as the Bulldogs finished 7-of-15 from deep.