NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Jaden Shackelford had 13 points, Jahvon Quinerly added 14 off the bench and top-seeded Alabama blew out No. 9 seed Mississippi State 85-48 on Friday in a Southeastern Conference Tournament quarterfinal.
The No. 6 Crimson Tide (22-6) will face the Florida-Tennessee winner in Saturday’s semifinals. MSU (15-14) awaits to see its postseason destination.
Playing as the tournament’s team to beat for the first time since 2002, the Crimson Tide followed a couple of small early runs before going on a 17-0 surge over five minutes for a 43-13 cushion just before halftime. Alabama also swarmed the Bulldogs defensively, scoring 24 of 30 points off 14 first-half turnovers and holding them to 30% shooting overall.
As expected, 3-point shooting propelled the Tide’s explosive attack, with Shackelford and John Petty Jr. leading the way. Shackelford made 3 of 6 from deep in finishing 5 of 12 shooting. Petty hit 3 of 7, including consecutive left-corner jumpers during the big run, for nine points.
Quinerly was 6 of 8 shooting with two 3s. SEC player of the year Herbert Jones had eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks in 17 minutes.
Alabama won its fourth consecutive game and third this season over the Bulldogs.
Iverson Molinar scored 18 points, Tolu Smith had 11 and Abdul Ado grabbed 11 rebounds for MSU, which outrebounded the Tide 43-35 but finished just 1 of 19 from long range and committed 18 turnovers for 30 points.
Mississippi State: A day after owning the paint against Kentucky, the Bulldogs rarely got a chance to establish their presence. They couldn’t match Alabama’s perimeter game on either end, digging a hole too deep to climb from.
Alabama: So much for any notion about the Crimson Tide being rusty from a double bye. Active defense led to easy offensive opportunities and created a lot of second chances as well. Alabama drained 3s in bunches put this game away early. Guard Josh Primo (eight points) left with 12:35 remaining with a knee injury and did not return.