January 20, 2008

Report card: MSU 66, Alabama 56

Perimeter Offense
As it has since the SEC season started, Alabama's dysfunction on offense begins here. It was another cold-shooting night from the outside, and there was very little penetration. The trio of Alonzo Gee, Rico Pickett and Mykal Riley combined for a 5-of-22 day from the field. On the plus side, UA's guards finally got Richard Hendrix involved early.

Interior Offense
Hendrix scored 21 points and helped keep the Crimson Tide close for most of the game. This was a tough matchup for Hendrix because MSU is deep with physical big men who can sub in and out with fresh legs. With little help in the paint, Hendrix played all but four minutes and coughed up a game-high seven turnovers. Demetrius Jemison battled a size disadvantage, but continues to show shooting range from the high post.

Perimeter Defense
Alabama allowed 12 3-pointers, accounting for more than half of the Bulldogs' point total. Hats must be tipped to Jamont Gordon on 3-pointers that fell from 25 feet out, but when opponents can get open 3-point looks with their toes just inches from the line, the defense must be faulted. Senario Hillman gives UA a real defensive boost off the bench, but he doesn't get enough minutes or points to impact the game. Riley came up with three steals.

Interior Defense
MSU did little in the paint offensively despite UA's shortage of depth there. Charles Rhodes (5 points) scored only a third of his average and Jarvis Varnado scored just four. Surprisingly, UA reserves Justin Knox and Yamene Coleman played just one minute each despite the Bulldogs' inside presence. MSU beat Alabama on the offensive glass (13-9).

Bench Play
Production was down as usual, but in this game, Mark Gottfried didn't give his bench much rope to settle into the flow. The starters swallowed up 164 of 200 total minutes, with only Brandon Hollinger and Senario Hillman playing more than six. Given that, the grade is incomplete.

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