The Crimson Tide's Trevor Lacey had other ideas.
The 6-foot-3 sophomore hit three straight 3-pointers early in the second half to blow open a tight game, and Alabama went on to an easy 75-43 road victory over Mississippi State on Wednesday at Humphrey Coliseum.
"Guys found him," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "It was obvious that our guys were looking for where he was and they did a great job getting him the basketball. He was able to open it up for us."
Levi Randolph scored 18 points and Rodney Cooper added 17 as Alabama won its second straight game. Nick Jacobs added 16 points and 11 rebounds while Lacey scored 11 and dished a team-high six assists.
Alabama (10-6, 2-1 SEC) opened the second half with five consecutive 3-pointers — including the first three from Lacey — to push a 30-22 halftime lead into an insurmountable 45-22 advantage. It was part of a 21-0 run dating back to the first half.
The Crimson Tide made 8 of 13 shots (61.5 percent) from 3-point range and 31 of 58 (53.4 percent) from the field. Jacobs was especially accurate, making 8 of 10 field goals.
"The guards made it easier on us (by hitting shots)," Jacobs said. "That really opened up the paint."
Mississippi State (7-8, 2-1) had its three-game winning streak snapped. Fred Thomas led the Bulldogs with 10 points while Craig Sword added nine. The Bulldogs were outrebounded 35-23 and committed 21 turnovers.
Thomas broke out of a shooting slump with two early 3-pointers, but like the rest of the Bulldogs, he went cold in the second half as Alabama cruised to the surprisingly easy win.
"Whether it was the press or the half-court defense, we felt we really needed to get after them," Grant said. "So that was really our focus and I was really proud of the effort our guys gave. Whatever defense we were in, we had pretty good focus."
Mississippi State coach Rick Ray said his team was too complacent after two straight SEC wins.
"I didn't feel there was one aspect of the game where we competed," Ray said. "I also thought we played as individuals and not as a team."
Alabama played without leading scorer Trevor Releford, who sat on the bench in uniform but missed the game because of a sprained ankle suffered in practice earlier this week. The 6-foot junior averages more than 16 points per game — including 20.5 points in two SEC games — and the Crimson Tide obviously missed him early in the game, with several empty possessions and poor decisions.
But the offense slowly found its way, and Alabama closed the first half on a 6-0 run to take a 30-22 halftime lead. Randolph led the Tide with 11 first-half points.
Then the floodgates opened early in the second half, with Lacey nailing three straight 3-pointers to give Alabama a 39-22 lead with 18:11 remaining. Mississippi State's usually stingy defense broke down, with Lacey getting wide-open looks on all three shots.
Ray called timeout to try and stop the momentum, but Alabama responded with two more 3-pointers by Cooper and Randolph to push the lead to 23 points.
It was a reality check for the Bulldogs, who started SEC play with two straight victories against South Carolina and Georgia. But they had no answer for Alabama's superior height and athleticism, struggling to rebound and handle the basketball.
"In this game, a lot of stuff was going wrong," MSU junior Jalen Steele said.
Mississippi State shot just 16 of 45 (35.6 percent) from the field and Alabama outscored the Bulldogs 38-18 in the paint.
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