TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — When the storm was raging on the court and the offense was getting stifled, Alabama needed the calmness of a veteran prescence.
Jahvon Quinerly delivered.
To say the Alabama offense was struggling for most of the game would be an understatement. The Crimson Tide had made just one field goal almost seven minutes into the game and shot 33 percent from the floor in the first half.
The length of Mississippi State was giving Alabama all sorts of issues. The Crimson Tide had nine first-half turnovers and had its lowest first half scoring output in SEC play with just 29 points at the half.
No. 2 Alabama did not take its first lead of the game until a Rylan Griffen 3-pointer with 9:19 left in the second half. The Crimson Tide briefly gave back up the lead before going on a 15-4 run to finally pull away.
Whether directly from a shot or because of an assist, Quinerly was responsible for 10 of the 15 points during that run on the way to a 66-63 win for Alabama over Mississippi State inside Coleman Coliseum Wednesday night.
Quinerly also finished as Alabama’s leading scorer in the game with 14 points, four rebounds, four assists and just one turnover.
“He ended up leading us in scoring tonight on a night when we needed some scoring,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said after the game. “They did a great job on Brandon and Sears. We needed somebody to step up and score the ball, and JQ’s been able to score for us pretty well in the past. I think we needed him tonight.”
It was the first time this season that Quinerly was Alabama’s leading scorer, and the first time in any game that the highest points scorer came from the bench.
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Alabama’s season scoring leader, Brandon Miller, had 13 points on the night, but the Bulldog defense was able to effectively limit him for most of the game, denying him the ball. He only attempted nine shots from the floor—his second-lowest total in conference play. Mark Sears, the Crimson Tide’s second-leading scorer, had just four points in the game, all coming from the free throw line.
At times when the offense was stagnant, Quinerly was able to get things going.
“He was huge,” Oats said about Quinerly. “He’s got some explosiveness to get to the paint and makes things happen.”
The veteran point guard has now scored in double-digits in five of the last seven games as he continues to get more comfortable in the offense since returning from the ACL injury in January.
After the game, Oats highlighted Quinerly has just one example of Alabama’s depth off the bench that helped the Crimson Tide win the game. Noah Gurley, Dom Welch, Nick Pringle and Griffen all provided key plays down the stretch on both offense and defense to help complete the comeback.
No. 2 Alabama Basketball Overcomes, Outlasts Mississippi State 66-63
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