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01/14/2012 7:02 PM EST
Moultrie leads No. 20 Mississippi State over 'Bama
MISSISSIPPI ST 56, ALABAMA 52
By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Arnett Moultrie did the dirty work. Dee
Bost got all the glory.
But there was no jealousy during the postgame celebration after
No. 20 Mississippi State rallied in the final minutes to beat
Alabama 56-52 on Saturday.
"This is (Bost's) team. He's the head of our snake," Moultrie
said with a wide grin. "As he goes, we go."
Moultrie scored 25 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against a
stingy Crimson Tide defense for his ninth double-double of the
season, but it was three clutch 3-pointers from Bost in the
final minutes that pushed Mississippi State (15-3, 2-1
Southeastern Conference) to the victory.
Moultrie didn't mind deferring during the most important part of
the game. The way Bost was shooting, no one was going to argue.
"Bost is one of those guys who can step up and take shots,"
Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. "We live with the
bad shots he takes because he can get on a roll and he did that
today at a critical time."
Alabama trailed 33-23 early in the second half but methodically
worked its way back into the game with timely baskets and
lockdown defense. The Crimson Tide came into the game with the
SEC's best defense, giving up 55.7 points per game.
Alabama pushed ahead 46-42 with 5:40 left, but then Bost's
3-point barrage began. His last one - when he was falling away
and shot over a defender - gave the Bulldogs a 51-48 lead with
JaMychal Green led Alabama (13-4, 2-1) with 14 points. Tony
Mitchell and Trevor Lacey each added eight points, but it wasn't
enough as the Tide's winning streak was snapped at five games.
The Tide didn't have a bad game, shooting 23 of 51 from the
field (45.1 percent) and forcing Mississippi State's guards to
take tough shots for the majority of the afternoon. But Bost
willed the Bulldogs to victory, and now the Crimson Tide will
have to bounce back from their first conference loss of the
"That's life in the SEC," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said.
Green pulled Alabama to 51-50 with 1:20 left after making two
free throws. Mississippi State's Brian Bryant responded with a
short running jumper - his first basket of the game - to give
the Bulldogs a 53-50 lead with 10 seconds remaining. Bryant also
made a layup on a full-court pass from Bost with 1.2 seconds
left that sealed the victory.
Bost's 3-pointers might just be the signal that a lengthy
shooting slump is over. He shot just 21 of 76 from the field
(27.6 percent) over the past six games, and was having another
rough game before the scoring outburst, missing his first four
Bost was key in the clutch, splashing home three straight from
beyond the arc as the crowd in a sold-out Humphrey Coliseum
He finished with 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 3 of 7
from 3-point range.
Until the frantic final minutes, it was a grinding, halfcourt
game that focused on each team's post players.
Moultrie got the best of the matchup, with 14 points and seven
rebounds in the first half. His tip-in at the buzzer gave the
Bulldogs a 27-21 lead.
"He was really active," Alabama's Andrew Steele said. "With his
length he was really tough to deal with."
The 6-foot-11 Moultrie has been one of the SEC's most productive
players, averaging 15.9 points and 10.8 rebounds, and he gave
the Crimson Tide plenty of problems with his athleticism and
touch around the basket. He made 10 of 14 shots from the field
and 5 of 7 from the free throw line.
"Arnett was a man today, and we were very conscious about trying
to get him the basketball," Stansbury said.
He was quiet in the game's final minutes, but that was because
Bost was taking - and making - all the shots.
Follow David Brandt on Twitter: (at)davidbrandtAP
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