No. 18 Alabama wins 9th straight, 81-73 over Mississippi St

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Herbert Jones had 17 points and seven assists to help No. 18 Alabama keep its winning streak going with an 81-73 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday night.

The Crimson Tide (13-3, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) won its ninth straight overall and has won eight consecutive SEC games for the first time since starting league play 8-0 in the 1986-87 season.

The Bulldogs (9-7, 4-4) cut an 11-point second-half deficit down to three in the final minute, but John Petty Jr. answered with a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left.

Alabama entered the weekend with a two-game SEC lead.

Freshman guard Joshua Primo scored 16 points and made four first-half 3s for the Tide, which finally faced a challenge after winning its past three games by an average of 27 points.

Jones also had four steals and three blocked shots. Petty scored 12 points on four 3-pointers and Jaden Shackelford also had 12 for the Tide. Alex Reese scored 11.

D.J. Stewart Jr. led Mississippi State with 27 points and Iverson Molinar added 19, but Stewart shot 9 of 21 and Molinar just 5 of 19.

Tolu Smith had eight points and nine rebounds.

Cameron Matthews stole a long inbounds pass and made a layup with 58 seconds left for Mississippi State before Petty’s back-breaking 3.

The home team has won the last eight meetings.

The Tide’s nine-game winning streak marks its longest since opening the 2002-03 season 9-0. That team eventually reached the program’s only No. 1 ranking.

BIG PICTURE

Mississippi State: Bounced back on offense after scoring a paltry 46 points in a loss to rival Mississippi, but still shot just 4 of 14 on 3-pointers.

Alabama: Didn’t cool off much after making an SEC-record 23 3-pointers Tuesday against LSU. The Tide went 14 of 34 from 3-point range and had nine by halftime.

ROJAS OUT

Alabama forward James Rojas missed the game with an unspecified “medical condition,” according to a spokesman. Rojas is averaging 3.6 points and 4.0 rebounds per game, mostly off the bench.

UP NEXT

Alabama hosts Kentucky on Tuesday night, having won the first meeting this season 85-65 at Rupp Arena.

Mississippi State plays another Top 25 team on the road, visiting No. 6 Tennessee on Tuesday night.

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More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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