"I'm really pleased with the way our guys came out and competed," Ray said. "When you're in the situation like we are, losing (10) straight games, guys suspended, guys with injuries ... I was a little worried after we had those tough losses at home to Texas A&M and LSU about where our team psyche was. Whether they were going to be able to go out and continue to compete. I didn't think we'd done that the last few games."
Steele scored 10 points in the second half and made 3 of 6 3-pointers. The rest of the Bulldogs struggled from the outside before they combined to hit three in the final minute.
Alabama led 31-20 at halftime and scored the first two points of the second half but couldn't put the Bulldogs away until the final minutes.
Mississippi State shot 12 of 22 (54.5 percent) in the second half. Alabama hit 21 of 27 free throws in the game.
Steele pulled up for a quick 3-pointer to make it 47-43 with 5:20 left after Mississippi State's Gavin Ware made a basket and free throw two minutes earlier.
Cooper answered with a 3-pointer for the Tide's first field goal in more than five minutes, starting a decisive 15-4 run.
"That was a huge shot for our team," Releford said. "We needed that spark. That's what Coop does; he's a knock-down shooter."
Then Retin Obasohan had a steal and long pass to Lacey for a layup to push the lead back to 52-43 with 4:04 remaining.
Steele hit a couple of free throws after Alabama failed to score, but Releford got a steal and fast-break layup and then finished another fast break with a pass to Cooper for a dunk to end the threat. Releford followed that with four straight free throws to continue the bailout.