For one night at least, the complaint department is closed. The Tide played its most solid all around game in an easy victory over our rivals to the west.
While Releford had an amazing game, it was good to see some other guys step up and help him out. Shannon Hale banked in a couple of midrange jump shots in the first half, and Cooper made a 3 to stretch the lead to 10 for the first time with about 5 minutes remaining the first period. We maintained control from that point on, leading by 12 at the half and stretching it to 23 at one point in the second half.
We out-rebounded them 33-28 and only gave up 6 offensive rebounds. We actually got 4 shots in one possession at one point in the second half, which is something we haven't seen much of this year. While the offense was still slow developing in the halfcourt at times, for the most part we were able to get good looks. We had 4 guys in double digits, Releford, Hale, Cooper, and Obasohan.
The only negative is we still didn't get much from our bigs. We couldn't stop Ware, who scored 18 on us, while Jimmie Taylor fouled out in 9 minutes and Carl had 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 fouls in 12 minutes. There was some confusion on Taylor's first foul. The official reported the State player's number, which we didn't have on the court, and then they changed it to Levi. Levi immediately looked over and told Coach "I wasn't even near anyone." A few moments later, Taylor picked up a foul which led to the first media timeout. I was a little disappointed that both Levi and Coach Grant, at that point, alerted the officials to correct the book. Even though both fouls were on Jimmie, at that point, it would be better to have both Levi and Jimmie with one each than have Jimmie already in foul trouble with 2.
At least Nick Jacobs had a decent game offensively, scoring 8 points in 16 minutes. Fortunately $tate's tatted up, meth-head looking white guy couldn't do much more than talk trash and dribble the ball off of his foot.
In fairness, $tate looked awful defensively most of the night. They repeatedly lost the man running the baseline in their zone, they didn't communicate at all on screens, and they were often caught out of position. Releford torched them for 28 points including 6 for 9 from downtown, and it was good to see Hale and Coop also make some outside shots.
Releford picked up a Technical at one point, but I did not see or hear what he said or did, but thankfully it didn't hurt us, and if anything I think it may have given us a spark. We've had trouble putting games away this year, so I was glad we never let up and allowed them to get back into the game.
Dakota Slaughter and Isiah Wilson even got into the game, and Dakota knocked down a 3 on the final possession to get us to 80.
This is what a Mississippi State team looks like when they don't have $tansbury slinging cash around, and it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch. It's always fun to beat that bunch, even when both programs are somewhat down.
The crowd was rather sparse. Cecil Hurt tweeted during the game that it was probably the smallest crowd for a Bama-$tate game in 25 years. I would estimate only about 5,000 or so were in the house. The student turnout was disappointing, they placed 3,000 shakers in the seats in the student section that ended up only being about half full. In the past, State has brought a large, obnoxious contingent, but they only had about 50 or so of their trashy fans scattered throughout, and they had little choice but to remain mostly silent during the game. Justin Coleman sat in front of us for much of the game. He was there with his family and some of his Wenonah teammates. He appeared to be into the game and having a good time.
Up next, we head to the midwest to take on the Mizzou Tigers in Columbia, MO Saturday at 1 p.m. This would easily be our biggest win of the year so far if we can somehow pull it off. The game will be televised on ESPN2. I apologize in advance for the delay in posting the recap, but we will likely be on the road all day Sunday driving back.