Hot Alabama takes 64-56 win over Mississippi State

Alabama center Moussa Gueye (14) and Mississippi State forward Colin Borchert (3) work under the basket during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama center Moussa Gueye (14) and Mississippi State forward Colin Borchert (3) work under the basket during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama center Moussa Gueye (14) and Mississippi State forward Colin Borchert (3) reach for a rebound during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama center Moussa Gueye (14) and Mississippi State forward Colin Borchert (3) reach for a rebound during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama guard Retin Obasohan (32) works around Mississippi State forward Gavin Ware (20) to get off a shot during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama guard Retin Obasohan (32) works around Mississippi State forward Gavin Ware (20) to get off a shot during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) scores easily past Mississippi State guard Fred Thomas (1) during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

Alabama guard Trevor Releford (12) scores easily past Mississippi State guard Fred Thomas (1) during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Alabama Media Group, Vasha Hunt) MAGS OUT

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Rodney Cooper had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Trevor Releford scored 17 to lift streaking Alabama to a 64-56 victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday night.

The Crimson Tide (18-8, 10-3 Southeastern Conference) finished a lackluster second half strong to claim its fourth straight victory. Alabama also closed the gap on SEC-leading Florida (11-2) after the fifth-ranked Gators lost to Missouri Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs (7-18, 2-11) cut a 13-point second-half deficit to four points before losing their 11th consecutive game to match the 1982 team for the second-longest skid in program history.

Cooper was 7-of-10 shooting. Releford had five assists and five steals. Alabama's Trevor Lacey had 11 points before fouling out.

Jalen Steele returned from a three-game suspension for violating team rules to fuel the comeback attempt and score 15 points. Colin Borchert had 14 points and nine rebounds for Mississippi State, which committed 23 turnovers.

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