Alabama blows out Mississippi State 85-48 in SEC quarters

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Alabama's Jahvon Quinerly (13) and John Petty Jr. (23) celebrate in the final moments of Alabama's win over Mississippi State in an NCAA college basketball game in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Friday, March 12, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Playing as the Southeastern Conference Tournament’s team to beat for the first time since 2002, Alabama seemed intent on proving its worth — early, quickly and effectively.

Jahvon Quinerly scored 14 points off the bench, Jaden Shackelford added 13 points and No. 6 Alabama blew out Mississippi State 85-48 on Friday in an SEC quarterfinal.

The top-seeded Crimson Tide (22-6) will face fourth-seeded Tennessee in Saturday’s semifinals.

Alabama followed a couple of small early runs with a 17-0 surge over nearly five minutes for an eventual 43-13 cushion just before halftime. The Tide also swarmed the Bulldogs defensively, scoring 24 points off 14 first-half turnovers and holding them to 30% shooting overall.

“Defensively, I thought we were really locked in for a good part of that game,” coach Nate Oats said.

As expected of the nation's second-ranked perimeter team, 13 3-pointers propelled the Tide’s explosive attack with Shackelford and John Petty Jr. leading the way. Shackelford made 3 of 6 from deep. Petty hit 3 of 7, including consecutive left-corner jumpers during the big run, for his nine points.

Quinerly was 6 of 8 shooting with two 3s. SEC player of the year Herbert Jones had eight points, seven rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks in 17 minutes. Juwan Gary made all four shots for 11 points as the Tide's bench routed the Bulldogs' reserves 47-5.

Alabama shot 49% in winning its fourth consecutive game and third this season over the Bulldogs.