No. 24 Alabama tries to reverse course at Mississippi State

After a home loss to rival Auburn on Tuesday, No. 24 Alabama will aim to get back on track in a road contest at Mississippi State on Saturday in Starkville.The Crimson Tide (11-5, 2-2 SEC) have lost two straight games now. In the 81-77 loss to No. 4 Auburn, Alabama shot just 34.8 percent from the floor and 22.6 percent from 3-point range. The Tide also missed five free throws and had 12 turnovers.For Alabama, the loss to Auburn snapped a 17-game winning streak at home in Tuscaloosa, Ala.”I thought our guys fought hard to get back in the game at the end,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said, referencing the 14-point deficit the Tide battled back from. “We needed to play our best game in order to win that one and we didn’t… We didn’t execute like we needed to down the stretch.”Jaden Shackelford and Jahvon Quinerly — the Tide’s top two scorers — were held to a combined 27 points on 8-of-33 shooting, a 24.2 percent clip. Shackelford and Quinerly average 16.1 and 15.4 points per game this season, respectively.Keon Ellis has led Alabama in rebounding this season, and he grabbed his 100th board of the year against Auburn. Ellis averages 6.3 boards and 12.1 points per game. He’s also made a team-best 43 of 49 free throws this season.Against Auburn, though, Darius Miles led the Tide on the glass with nine boards while also scoring 10 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Oats was impressed with his play.”Darius is huge for us. Darius is practicing harder and is practicing with more consistency,” Oats said. “He’s always had the physical tools to be great for us. Skilled player. I think he’s done that these last couple weeks.”Mississippi State (11-4, 2-1) is coming off an 88-72 home victory over Georgia and is looking to put another tally in the win column.Against Georgia, Mississippi State had 21 assists to just eight turnovers and shot an impressive 52.9 percent from the field. Additionally, Mississippi State outscored Georgia in the paint by a wide margin, 58-28.