Ole Miss Ruins Senior Night For Alabama

On Senior Night in Tuscaloosa, Alabama started its three senior basketball players, and all played reasonably well. In fact, Levi Randolph had an outstanding game for the Crimson Tide. But it was an Ole Miss senior who didn’t start who may have been the key performer as Bama lost its final home game of the season to the Rebels, 82-74.

The game began to get away from Alabama midway through the second half when 5-10 junior Mississippi guard Stefan Moody, who was too quick for any Alabama player to guard, took over. He had an assist that pulled the Rebels to within a point. On Bama’s next possession the Tide had a couple of three-point opportunities, but both bounced away and the second snagged the Moody, who raced the length of the court for a layup that gave Ole Miss the lead for good. Moody added another jumper to make it 49-46.

Ole Miss senior Ladarius White had made a big three-point shot just before the first half buzzer to pull the Rebels to within three points at 30-27 at intermission. (Alabama had led by as many as eight in the first half.) But White saved his best for Mississippi’s second half chance to pull away. He took a three-point shot that missed, but the rebound was sent back to him and he nailed it. Seconds later Alabama suffered one of its 13 turnovers and the ball went to White, unguarded on the wing, who buried another trey. The lead had exploded to nine points, 55-46.

That sequence beginning with Moody’s assist was the start of Ole Miss scoring on 18 of its final 21 possessions – including hitting 13 free throws.

Alabama fell to 17-13 overall and 7-10 in Southeastern Conference games primarily because it could not make defensive stops against Ole Miss (20-10, 11-6).

Alabama closes out regular season play Saturday at Texas A&M. Tipoff is at 3 p.m. CST with television coverage by Fox Sports. The teams opened SEC play on Jan. 6 with Alabama taking a 65-44 win in Tuscaloosa.

The loss overshadowed a fine Coleman Coliseum farewell performance by Levi Randolph, who scored 32 points, including making 17-17 free throws – 13 of them in the second half.

Fellow senior regular Rodney Cooper had 14 points and Dakota Slaughter, who arrived at Alabama on an academic scholarship and walked on with the Tide, started and scored eight points. Jimmie Taylor had a double-double, 13 points and 11 rebounds, but he was a disappointing 3-8 on free throws.

Ole Miss was an impressive 61.5 per cent on second half field goals (16-26) and 27-57 (47.4 per cent) for the game. Bama was 40.9 per cent for the game, hitting the same numbers in both halves, 9-22, for a total of 18-44. The Rebels connected on 7-17 three-point shots, Bama 7-20. Both teams were excellent on free throws, Alabama 31-39 for 79.5 per cent, Mississippi 21-26 for 80.8 per cent.

Moody led the Rebels with 25 points, after scoring just three in the first half. White had 19 points on 7-9 from the field, 4-5 on three-pointers.

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