NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Brandon Miller had 18 points and nine rebounds and No. 4 Alabama never trailed in posting a 72-49 victory over Mississippi State in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament on Friday.
The top-seeded Crimson Tide (27-5) set the pace in the first half hitting eight-of-20 shots from long range. Charles Bediako and Noah Gurley added 11 points apiece for Alabama, and Jahvon Quinerly scored 10.
Alabama will play either No. 17 Tennessee or No. 25 Missouri in the semifinal on Saturday.
The Bulldogs (21-12) were scoreless in their first six possessions including a pair of turnovers. They hit 8 of 31 field goal attempts and missing all five of their shots from 3-point range.
Tolu Smith led Mississippi State with 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Dashawn Davis scored 13 points.
Alabama led 41-21 at halftime, too big an advantage for Mississippi State to overcome with the Crimson Tide opening up a 25-point lead with 1:14 left on a layup by Nimari Burnette on a fastbreak.
With 5:40 remaining, Mississippi State trimmed the Crimson Tide’s lead to 57-43 on a layup by D.J. Jeffries. The Bulldogs would not get any closer.
Mississippi State shot 31% from the field and hit only one of 13 attempts from 3-point range.
Alabama and Miller, a hometown player, received their share of boos from the crowd. Miller allegedly brought a gun to Darius Miles who has been charged with capital murder of Jamea Harris near the Alabama campus. Miles was dismissed from the team. Miller has not missed a game, and he was picked to talk on TV after the game.
Mississippi State hopes to hear its name called Sunday as part of the NCAA Basketball Tournament field.
Alabama moves onto the semifinals Saturday. Tennessee beat Alabama 68-59 on Feb. 15 in Knoxville, while Missouri was routed on its own court by the Crimson TIde 85-64 on Jan. 21.
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