It's Ole Miss For Tide

Alabama will open play in the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta at 1 p.m. EST (noon CST) Friday against the Mississippi Rebels. While Alabama had a Thursday bye as the top-seeded team from the Western Division, Ole Miss knocked off South Carolina in a first round game in the Georgia Dome.

It took an examination of television replays for the SEC officiating crew to settle the Mississippi-South Carolina outcome. With Ole Miss holding a 53-50 lead, the Gamecocks made a long shot, initially ruled a three-point basket by the officials. A review of the shot with only nine-tenths of a second to play in the game resulted in only two points being awarded. The Rebels still had to withstand a buzzer-beating South Carolina shot for the victory. Last weekend in the final game of regular season play the Gamecocks had defeated Ole Miss in overtime in Columbia.

Alabama had regular season wins over both South Carolina and Mississippi. The Crimson Tide defeated the Gamecocks, 87-68, in Tuscaloosa. Bama downed Ole Miss in Oxford, 66-58, then crushed the Rebels, 71-45, at Coleman Coliseum. The game at Mississippi was very difficult. The Rebs had a 34-28 halftime lead and made three more field goals than Bama. The difference was Alabama hitting 18-28 free throws to the Rebels making 8-10.

Alabama had 37 rebounds in each game, Ole Miss 18 in one and 23 in the other.

Kennedy Winston and Earnest Shelton did most of the scoring for Bama in the two regular season wins over the Rebels. Winston had 26 at Oxford and 22 in Tuscaloosa, Shelton 13 in the road game win, 10 at home.

Ole Miss Coach Rod Barnes, who was rewarded with a new four-year contract at Mississippi this week, said following the win over South Carolina that he hoped that Friday's game would also be low-scoring. He pointed out that Alabama is a high-scoring team (Bama averaged 71.2 points per game this season) and that he hoped the Rebels could keep the game in the high 50s or low 60s. "We'll try to grind it out and give ourselves a chance to win at the end," he said.

Mississippi finished regular season play with a 13-16 record, including a 4-12 SEC mark.

Mississippi is led by 260-pound center Tommie Eddie and junior college transfer forward Londrick Nolen.

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