Joiner’s 33 Points Not Enough, Rebels Succumb to Hot-Shooting Alabama, 97-83
OXFORD, Miss. – (Release) Despite an SEC-leading 33 points from Jarkel Joiner and the most threes sank by the Rebels since 2019, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team was unable to keep pace with a vicious offensive onslaught from Alabama, falling to the Crimson Tide, 97-83, at SJB Pavilion on Wednesday night.
The Rebels (12-12, 3-8 SEC) hit their most threes since Dec. 14, 2019 (14, vs. Middle Tennessee) after knocking down 12 from beyond the arc, but the Crimson Tide (15-9, 5-6 SEC) were surgical shooting the ball all night long. Alabama – which entered as one of the most prolific offenses in the NCAA this season – ended the night with Ole Miss opponent season-highs in scoring (97), three-point percentage (63.6) and total threes made (14-of-22), and were paced by a monster outing from Jaden Shackelford, who dropped 30 points and tied a SJB Pavilion record with eight threes made.
“Alabama had been struggling from three, went 3-for-30 against Kentucky. (Alabama) had a lot of the same looks and tonight they didn’t,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “That was the kind of team that went to Seattle and beat Gonzaga, just made shot after shot. It was just a guard game. Jarkel was great, so give him a lot of credit. Shackelford had 30, but we couldn’t do anything against (Jahvon) Quinerly. He just stayed in the paint the whole game. We tried everybody on him, but their guards were just a little too good for us tonight.”
Early success on the offensive side of the ball from Jarkel Joiner helped push the Rebels out to a quick 18-9 lead on Alabama to open the game, with Joiner accounting for 11 of those points. Joiner’s return after missing three weeks due to a back injury has been fast and furious. After playing just a few minutes against Mississippi State on Jan. 8, Joiner returned to action at Florida on Feb. 5 and played 40 minutes in the overtime loss to the Gators before tonight’s 33-point effort in 33 minutes played. Joiner hit a career-high six threes on a total 12-of-20 line from the field tonight to go along with three assists, two rebounds and one steal.
Ole Miss continued to find success scoring, primarily from beyond the arc with the Rebels connecting on seven first-half threes, including a pair from center Sammy Hunter who ended with a season-high eight points.
With 9:29 remaining in the first, Ole Miss had shot their way to an 11-point lead over Alabama, but the latter half of the opening frame proved to be a different story, as the Crimson Tide would unleash a flurry of three pointers whilst locking the Rebels out on the offensive end of the court. Shackelford led the way with 19 of his 30 points in the opening half, helping spur the Crimson Tide to a 30-8 run over the final 9:09 of the frame.
With Alabama closing the half on an 11-0 scoring run in the final 2:46 of play, the Rebels would find themselves trailing the Crimson Tide by 11 at the break despite leading for 13:24 of the first 20 minutes played.
Needing to mount a comeback, the Rebels would open the second half by going on an 11-3 run over the opening 1:45 of the half to cut the team’s deficit down to just two points. With Jarkel Joiner and Matthew Murrell (15 points, 3-7 3PT, four rebounds, two assists, two steals) leading the way from beyond the arc, Ole Miss had quickly erased the double-digit advantage the Crimson Tide had opened the second half with.
However, the Crimson Tide always had an answer offensively, shooting 60 percent overall on the night and an impressive 65.5 percent in the second half to help keep the Rebels at bay. Four Crimson Tide players ended in double-digit scoring on Wednesday night: Shackelford (30 points, 10-17 FG, 8-13 3PT, five rebounds, one steal), JD Davison (18 points, 7-8 FG, eight assists, three rebounds, one steal, one block), Keon Ellis (13 points, four rebounds, two assists, one steal) and Noah Gurley (10 points, 2-3 3PT, seven rebounds, two blocks).
Aside from Joiner (33) and Murrell (15), Ole Miss also received another double-digit outing from center Nysier Brooks, who ended with 10 points, seven boards and one block.
The Rebels will now hit the road for a rematch at Missouri (9-14, 3-7 SEC) on Saturday. Tipoff in Columbia is slated for 7:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.