8:00 PM ET, January 15, 2003
Coleman Coliseum, Tuscaloosa, Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Mo Williams gave it up to Antoine Pettway for one big shot and saved the last one for himself.Williams set up Pettway's tying layup to close overtime and then hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds left in overtime as Alabama (No. 10 ESPN, USA Today, No. 9 AP) beat Mississippi State (No. 13, 14) 68-62 Wednesday night, the Bulldogs' third straight loss. Pettway tied the game at 55 with a baseline layup off the glass with 1.6 seconds left in regulation. "I told Mo they were going to expect him to take the shot," said Pettway, who also made two free throws late in overtime. "I told him if he comes by me, I would take the shot. "I wanted to shoot the 3 and tell everybody to go home, but the lane was so wide open." It was the first basket for the Crimson Tide (12-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) in nearly seven minutes after it overcame a 12-point halftime deficit. The Bulldogs have lost 16 straight road games against ranked conference opponents and their first three SEC games after rising to a school-best No. 7 ranking. "If you want me to say I'm happy being 0-3, no," Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury said. "If you want me to say I'm going to panic, no. There's 15 games to play." Alabama extended the nation's third longest home winning streak to 28 games. "We had some chances to finish them off in regulation and didn't do it," Tide coach Mark Gottfried said. "Then I thought our guys had the attitude they weren't going to let it happen again." Alabama's Erwin Dudley, who finished with 23 points and dominated the power forward matchup with Mario Austin, opened the overtime with a basket and free throw. He added a putback and Williams hit a fadeaway for a 63-56 lead with 2:07 left. The Bulldogs (10-4, 0-3) then got a putback from Branden Vincent with 1:45 left and Timmy Bowers made it 63-61 with a 3-pointer with 59 seconds to play. Williams then drilled his third 3-pointer, this one from the top of the key. "We didn't finish the game, point blank," said Derrick Zimmerman, who led Mississippi State with 15 points. "End of discussion. We gave it away." Held scoreless in the first half, Williams finished with 11 points. Kenny Walker had 10 and Pettway added nine, all after the nine-minute mark of the second half. Williams also took care of the halftime pick-me-up speech with Alabama down 36-24 after trailing by as many as 17 points. "We said in the locker room we basically let them do what they wanted to do in the first half," the Mississippi native said. "We just got outmanned and outplayed. I just challenged my teammates, and everybody came out and responded." Ontario Harper had 12 points for the Bulldogs while Bowers added 10. Austin, the team's leading scorer, was held to eight points, two after halftime. The Tide opened the second half with a 29-10 run, taking its first lead at 48-46 on Pettway's two free throws with 8:54 left. His 3-pointer made it 53-46 with 6:56 left but Alabama would miss its next five shots. Bowers gave Mississippi State a 55-53 lead with a layup off a pass from Austin with 9.2 seconds to play. Then, Williams dribbled across midcourt and fired a pass to Pettway on the left wing. He dribbled along the baseline for the tying basket. "We gave up the most high-percentage shot you can get," Stansbury said. The Tide had only trailed at halftime twice before this season, losing at Utah and Vanderbilt. "They showed tremendous passion and courage, to be down 17 and finish like we did," Gottfried said.
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