STARKVILLE, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Kennedy Winston powered Alabama to its biggest victory of the year, but he got plenty of help from the Crimson Tide's 3-point shooters.
Winston collected career highs of 31 points and 11 rebounds and Alabama drilled four straight 3-pointers to start the second half en route to a 77-73 upset of fifth-ranked Mississippi State in a Southeastern Conference clash.
Alabama (13-10, 5-7 SEC West) went to halftime facing a 33-32 deficit. Emmett Thomas came out of the locker room to drill a pair of 3-pointers, Earnest Shelton added one and Antoine Pettway's shot from the arc capped the 12-0 spurt for a 44-33 lead with 16:35 left, prompting a timeout from Mississippi State.
"We have shot the ball pretty well at times," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "Today we were fortunate to make a few and they didn't and we were able to win."
The Bulldogs (21-2, 10-2) tried desperately to extend its winning streak to nine games behind a strong effort from Lawrence Roberts, who finished with 23 points and eight rebounds. They pulled within 60-58 on Timmy Bowers' 3-pointer with 3:54 to go.
Winston answered by cutting to the basket for a three-point play for a five-point cushion. The Crimson Tide never let the margin dip below three points and never let the Bulldogs have a shot at tying the game.
Alabama ended a five-game skid at Mississippi State, posting its first win in Starkville since 1998. It won for just the second time in eight games overall and improved to 2-7 on the road.
The Crimson Tide shot 53 percent (8-of-15) from the arc, draining 5-of-8 shots after halftime. Thomas finished 4-of-5 from 3-point range and netted 16 points.
"Everybody shot the ball well," Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury said. "They made the shots, even the contested ones. They just did what it takes to win."
Winston was the story, however, as he used his quickness to exploit the Bulldogs and get to the line. He made 13-of-15 free throws as Alabama went 23-of-28.
"I thought he (Winston) was just fabulous," Gottfried said. "He was good on the perimeter, but he was great at the foul line."
Led by Roberts, Mississippi State held a 30-14 edge in points in the paint. But the Crimson Tide were able to make up that disparity by employing a zone defense to force the Bulldogs into 6-of-21 shooting from the arc.
"They played the zone well," Bulldogs center Branden Vincent said. "They kept us from crashing the boards."
Bowers netted 14 points and Winsome Frazier contributed 12, but Mississippi State's starting backcourt combined to make 8-of-23 shots. Frazier had trouble keeping up with Winston and was one of two Bulldogs to foul out, joining Shane Power.
The Bulldogs lost for the first time in seven games against West Division foes.