Cooper leads Tide past MSU - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cooper leads Tide past MSU

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Tuscaloosa, Ala. Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper had 20 points and 10 rebounds to give him the first double-double of his career as he led Alabama to a 64-56 win over Mississippi State on Wednesday night in Coleman Coliseum.

"It wasn't pretty, but the end result is we're 10-3 [in the SEC]," UA Head Coach Anthony Grant said. "I think if you look at some of the offensive highlights, obviously Cooper today had a double-double, 20-10. I thought Releford gave us great energy in the second half. I thought some of the defensive plays that he made really helped change the game."

Alabama is now 18-8 on the year and 10-3 in Southeastern Conference play.

Junior guard Trevor Releford scored 17 points to go with five assists, five steals, and five rebounds. Releford now has 175 steals in his career, just one behind single-season record holder Senario Hillman who had 176 from 2007-10. The five steals tied his season high. Freshman guard Retin Obasohan had five steals, which tied a team high and set a career high for him.

Alabama had a season-high 18 steals on the night and 23 points off turnovers to Mississippi State's seven. The Tide is now 15-2 when grabbing eight or more steals in a game. Alabama outscored Mississippi State 30-16 in the paint. Despite shooting just 34.5% (10-29) from the field, Alabama led at the half by a score of 31-20.

"We were able to come up with some big defensive stops," Grant said. "We were able to come up with some steals that allowed us to extend the lead very late in the last couple of minutes. We had some big steals that got us to the free-throw line to preserve the win."

Cooper's double-double was the second by an Alabama player this year, with the first coming on January 16 when Nick Jacobs tallied 16 points and 11 rebounds at Mississippi State.

Alabama plays again Saturday, Feb. 23 in Baton Rouge against LSU. The game is scheduled to tip at 12:30 p.m. CT.

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