Tide Rolls Over Rebs On Road

Things did not look good. Alabama's two leading scorers, Alonzo Gee and Senario Hillman, had picked up two fouls each. The Crimson Tide was on the road at Mississippi, where the Rebels had won four in a row. But anywhere on the road seemed ominous with Bama not having won a Southeastern Conference road game since January 31, 2007.

Alabama backup guard Anthony Brock had entered the game for the Crimson Tide and nailed a three-point shot, but with with just under seven minutes to go, Ole Miss had taken a 24-23 lead. That would be the Rebels only lead of the game.

Brock hit another trey, and then Ole Miss tied the game at 26-26 with six minutes left in the first half. That would be the last time the game was tied.

Alabama went on a 23-7 run the rest of the first half, built the lead to as many as 30 points in the second half, and cruised to a 90-69 win in Oxford.

It was Alabama's third consecutive win and raised the Crimson Tide SEC record to 6-8 with two games remaining in regular season play. Bama is now 16-12 overall.

Alabama can gain tie breaker status with every SEC Western Division opponent with a win over Auburn Tuesday. Bama hosts the Tigers at 8 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum, the final home game of the year for Alabama. The Tide closes out regular season play Sunday, March 8 at Tennessee. The SEC Tournament begins March 12 in Tampa.

Alabama swept the Ole Miss series. Bama had won 76-73 in Tuscaloosa January 21. With the loss, the Rebels are also 6-8 in SEC play and 15-13 overall.

Brock was a real story Saturday. The junior college transfer, who had been signed as insurance when the Tide wasn't sure what the status of Ron Steele would be this year, had been relegated to the far end of the bench by Coach Mark Gottfried. Even after Steele left the team, Brock was a non-factor.

Interim Coach Philip Pearson, who is now 4-5 since taking over the team after Gottfried was forced out on Jan. 26, has played more players and has made Brock a key substitute.

Brock had to be considered a question mark for Saturday, though, after missing the last few days of practice and going to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the funeral of his grandmother. He drove to Oxford for the game Saturday and was the star of stars for the Tide.

Brock hit 4-5 first half three-point shots and finished with 5-6 treys, a career best 17 points, four steals, two assists and no turnovers.

Brock had half Alabama's 34 points off the bench, which was a key to the win. Ole Miss subs hit two three-point shots in the final seconds, but Bama's bench outscored the Rebels' bench by 34-16.

Alonzo Gee, who has been playing at All-SEC level, went to the bench with two early fouls and did not score in the first half as the Tide took a 49-33 halftime lead. He got 10 points in the second half.

Pearson said he was proud of his team for playing "unselfishly. They are sharing the basketball, inside and outside, and finding the open man."

Pearson said he had thought rebounding would be a key since Ole Miss was the SEC's best offensive rebounding team and Alabama second best in the league. Bama won the battle of the boards, 43-31, and the Tide had 16 offensive rebounds to 12 for Ole Miss. That led to a 20-10 advantage for Bama on second chance points.

Mikhail Torrance, who had a career high 24 points in Bama's win over Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa, had 14 against the Rebels in Oxford. Senario Hillman had 11 points and Justin Knox 10. JaMychal Green had nine points in the first half, but got into early foul trouble in the second half and did not reach double figures.

Alabama was particularly effective on three-point shots, hitting 10-21 (with two of the misses coming very late) for 48 per cent. The Tide was good on 29-62 field goals for 47 per cent. Bama held the Rebels to 26-59 from the field, 44 per cent, and 8-27 on three-pointers, 29.5 per cent. Alabama was good on 22 of its 28 free throws, 79 per cent, while Mississippi was a poor 9-19, 47 per cent.

Alabama had only nine turnovers while getting seven steals and 18 assists.

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