NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Ole Miss held a commanding 14-point lead at halftime, but a determined Alabama team fought back in the second half and defeated the Rebels, 62-57, in the SEC Tournament at Bridgestone Arena Thursday evening.
(Click here for box score.)
The Rebels started the game against the Crimson Tide firing on all cylinders. In the first half, Ole Miss shot 17-34 from the floor along with 4 of 12 from three-point range to take a 38-24 lead into half.
Although Terence Davis and Breein Tyree were a combined 2-15 in that opening period, Devontae Shuler was 5-6 and kept the momentum going for his team. The Rebels were aggressive on the defensive end by utilizing the 1-3-1 zone, forcing Alabama to take contested shots, while the offense was running its sets and creating open looks at the different levels.
Second half is all ‘Bama
In the second period, the Rebels shot 7-29 from the field and 3-14 from three, and Alabama capitalized. The Tide took advantage of second-chance points, out-rebounding the Rebels, 50-30.
“We settled and settled and settled and those guys put it right in the paint,” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said after the game. “Give Alabama credit, they played like an NCAA Tournament team tonight.”
Late in the game, Alabama was able to control the paint and force the Rebels to settle for contested jumpers that, unfortunately, Ole Miss was just not hitting.
Although Ole Miss held a 14-point lead at halftime, the Rebels were outscored by the Tide, 38-19, in the final half.
“The starts of second halves have been bad for us the last eight or ten games. We hit a jump shot and went up 16, and then we only scored 17 the rest of the game.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
Ole Miss guards Tyree and Davis were largely quiet for most of the night, a fact not lost on Coach Davis.
“When our two All-League players (Tyree and Davis) stopped shot-making, they quit guarding,” Coach Davis said. “…When shot-making affects effort, that’s when it bothers you,” he added.
Shuler led the Rebels with 14 points, while Bruce Stevens finished with 12. Blake Hinson notched 9, while K.J. Buffen added 8. Tyree scored 7, while Dominik Olejniczak and Terence Davis scored 4 and 3, respectively.
After the game, Tyree was noticeably chagrined.
“I played the worst game of my career. I let my team down. That’s a team game, but I’ve got to do better, period,” Tyree said. “I just quit on possessions, easy layups, uncontested. I dug my team too far in the hole, and we couldn’t get out.”
Alabama will now face Kentucky in the third round of the SEC Tournament on Friday at 6 p.m.
- Alabama became the first team to beat Ole Miss twice this season.
- Entering the game ranked third nationally in free throw percentage, the Rebels only attempted four free throws throughout the night.
- Devontae Shuler scored a team-high 14 points; he is averaging 16.0 ppg over the past two games.
- Shuler also added a career-high two blocks.
- Blake Hinson pulled down a career-high six rebounds to go along with nine points in 16 minutes.
(Tip-Ins are courtesy of Ole Miss Men’s Basketball.)
Stay tuned for NCAA Selection Sunday
Stay tuned to find out Ole Miss’ postseason destination on Selection Sunday, March 17, at 5 p.m. (CT) on CBS. The Rebels own a NET ranking in the 30’s, and the general consensus is with 20 overall wins and 10 in league play, Ole Miss should have a strong enough resume to make the NCAA Tournament. ]