No. 6 Alabama holds off Miss. St. to claim SEC title

Jahvon Quinerly came off the bench to score 19 points and No. 6 Alabama overcame a slow start to defeat Mississippi State 64-59 on Saturday and clinch the SEC championship.The Crimson Tide (19-6, 14-2 SEC) bounced back from an 81-66 loss at No. 20 Arkansas on Wednesday to win its first SEC title since 2002.Jaden Shackelford added 15 points for Alabama, which had beaten MSU 81-73 on Jan. 23 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.Tolu Smith had 12 points and 13 rebounds, D.J. Stewart Jr. scored 15 and Iverson Molinar 11 to lead the Bulldogs (13-12, 7-9).Stewart, the Bulldogs’ leading scorer, went scoreless in the first half, but he had two field goals as MSU cut Alabama’s 13-point halftime lead to seven early in the second half.Shackelford scored five points as the Tide increased the lead to 45-33.Stewart and Molinar combined for 12 points as MSU crept within 56-53 with four minutes remaining.The Bulldogs went scoreless for more than three minutes and James Rojas made a 3-pointer with 43 seconds left, just the Tide’s second make in 16 attempts beyond the arc in the second half, to double the margin.Stewart answered with two free throws with 38 seconds left, but Keon Ellis made two for the Tide with 30 seconds left and Alabama secured the win at the line.