Rebels rough up Bama at Oxford

The Alabama basketball team, which has tumbled from first to 15th in the past couple of weeks, is looking like one of the weakest teams in the Southeastern Conference. Crimson Tide performance was embarassing Tuesday night in a nationally televised game. The Mississippi Rebels continued their domination of Bama in Oxford with a 76-57 thrashing.

Alabama returns to Tuscaloosa's Coleman Coliseum Saturday, but it won't be an easy game. The Crimson Tide will host Kentucky in a game that will be telecast by ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. CST.

There was no area in which Alabama performed well. Bama had too many turnovers, shot poorly in great part because of poor shot selection, and continued to play nearly nonexistent defense. Alabama has now lost four of its last seven games. The Tide is now 2-3 in SEC games and 12-4 overall.

Alabama had a typically poor start, falling behind by 10-2 before making its first field goal. But the Tide went up by five points midway through the first half before going cold on offense and slow on defense to let the Rebels pull out to a six-point lead at halftime.

Alabama, as it had with disastrous results in a loss at Auburn Saturday, went to a zone defense early in the second half. The Rebels appreciated that, going out quickly to a 12-point lead at 45-33. The rout was on, even though -- to be fair -- Alabama did have some success with the zone later in the half. But when Mississippi wasn't scoring, neither was Alabama. The Crimson Tide has become the gang that couldn't shoot straight.

Alabama had some unusual lineups. Terrance Meade, who has started almost every game for the past three-plus seasons, was unseen. Earnest Shelton started and Demetrius Smith got his most significant playing time in weeks.The Tide has been trying to get Chuck Davis ready to play inside, but when the Tide needed an inside man went to Reggie Rambo, who hasn't played in a month. Kennedy Winston, the freshman Gottfried has been counting on, was a non-factor, playing only after the issue was long decided.

Alabama was led by Erwin Dudley with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Kenny Walker had 10 points, the only other Tider in double figures.

Although Mississippi has not been a good shooting team, with mostly wide open shots the Rebels were good on 49 per cent of their field goals, including 40 per cent on three-point shots. Alabama hit only 41 per cent, including only 24 per cent on three-point shots. Bama can't even shoot a respectable percentage on free throws. Bama was good on only 40 per cent of its foul shots. The Tide did have a slight advantage in rebounding, 37-34.

Alabama Head Coach Mark Gottfried gave credit to Ole Miss. "They played great," he said. "They made shots. If there was a breakdown they capitalized on it."

"We've got to get better," Gottfried said. "We've got to find a way to improve. I believe in our guys, but we've got to come together and get better. We're hurting ourselves. We're not making shots. We miss pivotal free throws. When you do that, all of a sudden you're down seven or nine and the momentum goes away from you."

He said, "We're going to work hard. We're going to study our team. And we're going to get better."

BamaMag Top Stories