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01/16/2013 11:19 PM EST
Alabama beats Mississippi State 75-43
ALABAMA 75, MISSISSIPPI ST 43

By DAVID BRANDT
AP Sports Writer

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) -- Levi Randolph scored 18 points, Rodney
Cooper added 17 and Alabama coasted to a 75-43 victory over
Mississippi State on Wednesday night.



Alabama (10-6, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) opened the second
half with five consecutive 3-pointers - including the first
three from Trevor 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 overall.



Nick Jacobs added 16 points and 11 rebounds while Lacey scored
11 points and had a team-high six assists.



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 its second straight victory.



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 coach Rick 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.



Mississippi State shot just 16 of 45 (35.6 percent) from the
field.



-----



Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP

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