Alabama was leading 14-9 when Evan Brock replaced Jermareo Davison with just over 11 minutes to play in the first half, and the Tide began a 11-3 run for its largest lead of the first half. The Crimson Tide took a 30-20 advantage into halftime.
"I thought Evan Brock jumped in there and played well for us. He got some offensive rebounds and really just gave us a spark," Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried said. "Ole Miss does such a great job of controlling ball that we just wanted to see if we could force the tempo a little bit."
The style Alabama tried to force on the Rebels suited Brock's game. The junior played a total of 16 minutes, finishing with four points and six rebounds. Alabama used a variety of defenses against Ole Miss, including a zone press that proved effective with Brock in the front court upping the tempo in the second half.
"I had a few rebounds early on and it kind of gave a spark to the team," Brock said. "The purpose of the press is to make the other team speed up. I like to run up and down the floor. When it's run and gun you can get some dunks."
With the win Alabama improved to 19-4 overall, 8-2 in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss dropped to 12-12 on the year and 3-8 in league play.
There weren't any real knockout blows dealt to Ole Miss by Alabama, but the contest was a unanimous decision in the Tide's favor. Justin Johnson's three-pointer a minute and a half into the game gave the Rebels their only lead in the game, one that would last all of two minutes.
The press defense was more effective in the second half and Alabama limited its own turnovers in extending the game to the 26-point margin of victory. Alabama had 10 turnovers in the first half compared to just four in the second half. The Rebels never came within 10 points of Bama after the Tide's first basket of the second period.
"When you become a good team is when different guys can help on different nights. Tonight it was Brock and Felix hitting jump shots," Gottfried said.
Kennedy Winston led Alabama in scoring with 22 points on the night. Chuck Davis added 15 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots in a sterling defensive effort. Senior Earnest Shelton scored 13. Ronald Steele scored eight points and tallied six assists on the night – one of which led to Brock's fast-break tomahawk jam.
Jean Felix also played well of the bench. He was 2-of-2 from beyond the three-point arc, scoring six points in 10 minutes of play. Davidson struggled scoring just one point and grabbing two rebounds in 19 minutes of play. Shawn Taylor and Lucky Williams also scored a point each in the latter stages of the game.
Johnson led Ole Miss with 11 points on the night, while Jeremy Parnell was the only other Rebel player in double digits with 10 points.
Alabama shot 57.9 per cent from the field in the game compared to 32.1 per cent for Mississippi. The Tide outrebounded the Rebels 37-23.
While every Tide player who dressed for the game played against Ole Miss, one was missing Saturday night. Freshman guard Albert Weber was absent from the contest for what Gottfried deemed personal reasons.
"Al Weber is taking short leave of absence and has gone home. He's got some family and personal issues he has to attend to and we going see what happens from there," Gottfried said.
Weber served as the only back-up point guard to Steele after the departure of Glen Miles and walk-on LaKory Daniels from the team.
"I think we've got a nice rotation of guys that can move around and play some different positions," Gottfried said.
Alabama continues a three-game home stand Wednesday night hostin Arkansas at 7 p.m. The game is scheduled to be televised by Jefferson Pilot.