Ole Miss falls to North Alabama, 66-65
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss rounded out it’s non-conference slate on Tuesday with a 66-65 loss to North Alabama. The loss stings as the Rebels have an uphill climb heading into SEC play. The visiting Lions came to Oxford as a 22-point underdog but would find a way to come out on top, leaving fans speechless.
(Click here for box score.)
Ole Miss would start the contest on top 7-0, but that would be the largest lead of the night for the Rebels. The rest of the first half would bring the start of a back-and-forth affair as the game of runs began.
The two teams would have a total of 17 lead changes. North Alabama’s KJ Johnson and Jacari Lane led the Lions down the stretch to the upset win. The Lions’ bench ended the game with 32 points.
The Rebels really struggled to dictate the game and every time they threw a punch, North Alabama would respond with one of its own.
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis didn’t shy away from the Rebels’ preparation issues he feels played a role in the loss.
“Give North Alabama credit. They out-physicalled us and out-toughed us. We saw this coming. Our practice yesterday wasn’t good and our gameday practice was bad.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
Ole Miss shot a collective 39% from the field. The Rebels committed 15 turnovers (11 in the second half) with six coming in the final ten minutes of the game.
Scoring from the perimeter proved to be a challenge as the Rebels shot 5-17 from the outside. Matthew Murrell was the scoring leader for Ole Miss with 16 points on 4-10 shooting and 7-9 from the free throw line.
Daeshun Ruffin ended with 12 points after his 10-point first half. Despite outscoring the Lions 36-22 in the paint, Ole Miss had a tough time really dominating inside.
Myles Burns continued his impressive rebounding prowess en route to a double-double performance. Burns added 11 points to the Rebels’ efforts while leading Ole Miss with 13 rebounds.
Led by David Ortiz who finished with 22 points, the Lions improve to 7-5 on the season. Ortiz finished with six three pointers. Jacari Lane added 19 points and KJ Johnson added 11.
North Alabama finished the game shooting 42% from the field. This was the first time North Alabama had defeated an SEC opponent in 20 attempts.
With the loss, Ole Miss’ record drops to 8-4. The Rebels now get some time off to try and regroup before SEC play begins next Wednesday against Tennessee. This game serves as a lower quad loss and Ole Miss will need to find success in conference play to have a chance at getting back into postseason play.
Next Wednesday’s contest against the Vols is scheduled for a 4:00 p.m. tipoff.
TJ Oxley is the Director of Basketball Content and Senior Basketball Writer for The Rebel Walk. He has over five years of experience providing in-depth analysis of college basketball through multiple platforms. A former MBA graduate of Ole Miss, TJ started with The Rebel Walk in 2019.