OXFORD, Miss. – Andy Kennedy watched as his Rebels were on the bad end of an 18-0 first-half run by Alabama Tuesday night, but luckily his Ole Miss team made a run of its own to take a lead into halftime–an 11-0 run to be exact.
“Really proud of our guys to take that punch and to come right back and finish the half strong,” Kennedy said after Ole Miss defeated Alabama 78-66 in The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Ole Miss took the momentum from that first-half run and used it to beat the Crimson Tide, snapping Alabama’s four-game winning streak.
Trailing the Rebels by 10 at halftime, the Crimson Tide came out in the second half poised and comfortable, digging into their deficit with solid decision-making. Alabama got within one (43-42) off Alex Reese’s 3-pointer before Ole Miss gradually pulled away with one made basket after another. The Rebels used a 6-0 run midway through the second half to go up 64-50 off Terence Davis’ dunk, and they never looked back.
The Crimson Tide (13-7, 5-3 SEC) went three minutes without a score during Ole Miss’ pivotal run, while the Rebels made 9 of 10 shots from the field. Ole Miss ended the game making six of its final eight shots.
(Click here for box score.)
Deandre Burnett scored the game’s first five points, putting him over 1,000 points for his collegiate career. The milestone came at the 19:03 mark of the first half off a layup in transition. He finished with a game-high 24 points.
Davis, who had 30 in the road loss to Arkansas this weekend, drained a 3 to put the Rebels (11-9, 4-4 SEC) up 12-4 over Alabama early in the game. Davis scored seven of the team’s first 16 points. Ole Miss would go up 18-9 after Breein Tyree’s jumper before the Crimson Tide used an 18-0 run to take their first lead of the game at 27-18.
“They are really, really big. So we knew we had to move them, drive them, and make good decisions, and that’s exactly what we did early on. And we did make shots. It helps when you make shots.”
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
During Alabama’s scoring spurt, Ole Miss went 0 for 8 from the field, and its defense allowed the Crimson Tide’s guards to score or make the right pass on every possession. Avery Johnson’s team also made three 3-pointers. Trailing by nine, the Rebels needed someone to step up–and they got that from Burnett, who scored eight straight points in less than two minutes.
Markel Crawford’s 3-pointer from the left wing capped an 11-0 run, and lifted Ole Miss back in front at 32-27. The Rebels retained the lead for the remainder of the first half, building it to a 41-31 advantage off 3s from Crawford and Burnett.
Crawford and Davis each finished with 15, while Breein Tyree added 9. Marcanvis Hymon finished with 8, and Stevens notched 4. Justas Furmanavicius contributed 2 and Dominik Olejniczak scored 1.
“Our four veterans, Dre (Deandre Burnett), TD (Terence Davis), Bre (Breein Tyree), and Markel; if all four of them play well like they did tonight, then we are a good basketball team.”
Collin Sexton returned for Alabama after missing the last two games with an abdominal injury, but scored only three points on 1 for 9 shooting. Donta Hall led the team with 14. Dazon Ingram added 10.
“Tonight wasn’t just about our lack of production. Tonight was about a hungry team in Ole Miss, coming out ready to play, trying to impose their will on us,” Johnson said.
“Even when we came back in the first and second half, they still had another gear to go to that we just didn’t have.”
Alabama head coach Avery Johnson
- The Rebels turned 11 Alabama turnovers into 22 points.
- Andy Kennedy improves to 11-9 against Alabama, including a 9-1 mark in Oxford.
- Ole Miss improves to 7-3 when it leads at the half, and 5-2 when it scores between 70-79 points.
- The Rebels have won seven straight home games over Alabama dating back to 2010.
- Braxton Key scored 16 points in the Crimson Tide’s last game. He finished with just seven against Ole Miss.
- John Petty, who had 27 against Auburn, finished with just three points.
- The Crimson Tide made 25 of 62 shots.
Morgan Freeman in the house
Beloved actor and diehard Ole Miss fan Morgan Freeman was in attendance for Tuesday’s game, two days after accepting the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award Sunday night.
Ole Miss travels to Texas this Saturday (1:00 p.m., CT, ESPN2) for the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, while Alabama hosts No. 12 Oklahoma this Saturday (1:15 p.m., CT, ESPN) in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge.