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Sears scores 22 points, Alabama scores last 8 to beat Mississippi State 82-74 for 5th straight win

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mark Sears scored 22 points and Alabama scored the last eight points to beat Mississippi State 82-74 on Saturday night for its fifth straight win.

Mississippi State trailed by as many as 10 points and for most of the second half, but took a 70-69 lead on Tolu Smith's layup with 4:32 to play. Rylan Griffen answered with a layup and Sears hit a 3 and Alabama lead 74-70.

Shakeel Moore and Cameron Matthews each made a layup to tie the game 74-all with 2:42 remaining before Sears scored next the six points on a jumper and four free throws to help seal it.

Sears was 6 of 12 from the floor, made two 3-pointers and all eight of his free throws. Latrell Wrightsell Jr. hit five from distance and scored 19 points for Alabama (11-5, 3-0 Southeastern Conference). Griffen finished with 17 points.

Smith scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Mississippi State (12-4, 1-2). Josh Hubbard added 14 points, Moore had 13 and Matthews 12.

Sears scored eight points during a 22-9 run to give Alabama a 62-52 with 12 minutes left. Wrightsell's 3 made it 65-57, but then Alabama went nearly four minutes without scoring before Griffen’s layup ended the drought, and the Crimson Tide led 67-62 with 7:05 remaining.

Smith scored six points during an 8-2 spurt that gave the Bulldogs their one-point lead late.

Wrightsell scored 11 points and Griffen had 10 as Alabama took a 40-38 advantage into the break. Smith and D.J. Jeffries scored seven points apiece for the Bulldogs.

Alabama hosts Missouri on Tuesday.

Mississippi State is on the road against sixth-ranked Kentucky on Wednesday.

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