Rodney Cooper scores big in win against Miss State


Sophomore guard Rodney Cooper stepped up and posted a double-double in the Alabama men’s basketball team’s win over Mississippi State Wednesday in Coleman Coliseum.

Cooper filled the stat sheet with 20 points, 10 rebounds and three steals. He shot 70 percent from the floor and committed zero turnovers, but Cooper was humble about his big-time performance.

“All the credit goes to my teammates,” Cooper said. “They created [plays] for me, and I just tried to make the right plays.”

Cooper was only the second Alabama player to record a double-double this season. Sophomore forward Nick Jacobs posted 16 points and 11 rebounds the last time the Tide and Bulldogs met.

Head coach Anthony Grant said Cooper paced the Tide and made big plays when needed.

“I thought Rodney did an outstanding job,” Grant said. “I thought he brought the energy and passion that we needed – some big plays, some big rebounds – that allowed us to have a chance to win.”

Alabama (18-8, 10-3 SEC) still holds strong to its second-place position in the Southeastern Conference. The Tide controls its destiny and has a shot at claiming the SEC regular season title.

Junior guard Trevor Releford contributed 17 points, five assists and five steals. Releford has 175 steals for his career and is now two steals away from becoming the all-time leader in Alabama history.

Sophomore guard Trevor Lacey tallied 11 points but fouled out of the game with a technical foul. Freshman guard Retin Obasohan saw 14 minutes and recorded five steals.

The team as a whole shot 39.2 percent (20-51) from the field and 20 percent (3-15) from the 3-point line. However, the Tide improved from its recent woes at the free-throw line and knocked down 77.8 percent (21-27) of its attempts.

Grant said he was pleased with his team’s performance from the charity stripe.

“I thought our guys did a great job of getting to the line and converting free throws,” Grant said. “Compared to the way we shot in our last game, I thought tonight was much better.”

Mississippi State coughed up 23 turnovers, and Alabama capitalized on the mistakes with 23 points.

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