STARKVILLE, Miss. – Trevor Releford scored 17 points as Alabama won its first road game of the season, beating Mississippi State 75-57 on Saturday in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
The Crimson Tide led just 27-26 at halftime, but used a 22-7 midway through the second half to pull away for the convincing win. JaMychal Green scored 16 points and Charvez Davis added 13.
Alabama (9-6) won its fourth in a row.
Releford made 7 of 11 shots from the field, including several acrobatic layups around the rim, helping the Tide dominate the entire second half. Alabama shot 60 percent (21 of 35) after halftime.
Green added 11 rebounds and three blocked shots.
MSU (8-7) welcomed the return of arguably its two best players — Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney — from separate suspensions, but the results were familiar. The Bulldogs lost for the fifth time in six games, shooting just 33.9 percent from the field and 50 percent on free throws.
Bost led MSU with 14 points. Kodi Augustus had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Sidney finished with two points, making 1 of 8 shots from the field.
Sidney, a 6-foot-10 sophomore who was the program's prized recruit from the 2009 class, played for the first time since a two-game suspension for fighting with teammate Elgin Bailey in the stands of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii on Dec. 23. Bailey was also suspended, and the school says he's decided to transfer.
Sidney had nine rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. But he also had five turnovers and failed to finish several close shots at the rim.
Bost returned after a 14-game hiatus. He missed five games because of an academic suspension during the first semester, then served a nine-game NCAA suspension for failing to withdraw from the NBA Draft by the deadline.
The 6-foot-2 junior was the team's third-leading scorer and second in the SEC in assists last season, but struggled against the Tide, making only 5 of 16 from the field and 3 of 9 free throws.