The Rebels, losing for the fifth time in their last six conference games, return home to try to make things right, hosting Auburn Saturday and Mississippi State next Wednesday night.
"Both teams played hard defensively," said Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy after his team fell to 17-6 overall and 3-6 in SEC action. "They really hurt us on the offensive glass early. I was disappointed with the way we began the game. Give Alabama credit."
The Rebels, who led 2-0 early but not again, fell behind by as much as 14 points at 54-40 in the second half and actually cut it to four points late twice. But they couldn't come all the way back, even though they had their chances.
After Chris Warren made a 3-pointer to cap a 6-0 run for his team, Ole Miss trailed 61-57 when Terrence Watson was called for an intentional foul with 2:47 to go. Ole Miss' Trevor Gaskins had been whistled for an intentional foul in the first half.
After the call on Watson, Bama's Richard Hendrix made a free throw and missed one, and moments later the Rebels were again within four points at 66-62 after another Warren 3-pointer. And once again the referee's whistle made a difference.
A technical foul on Kennedy with 2:03 left put Mykal Riley on the line. He made one and missed one, and the Tide led 67-62. Ole Miss actually got the ball back, because the refs reversed the call.
"They said I was out of the box," Kennedy said. "Then they reversed the call (he was arguing at that point). Turns out I got a technical for being right."
Warren then missed a 3-pointer that would have pulled the Rebels to within two points – 67-65 had he made it - with a minute and a half left.
When Riley nailed a 3-pointer with 1:19 to go to put Alabama up 70-62, this one was basically done.
Dwayne Curtis was not his usual self in this one, scoring just three points and getting into some foul trouble.
"Without Dwayne at the basket it's difficult to manufacture points," said Kennedy after his senior center finished with four fouls and seven rebounds in just 17 minutes of action. "They really hurt us early on the offensive glass, but some of that was because Dwayne wasn't in the game very often. They took advantage of us inside, which is what they should have done."
"Dwayne got into some foul trouble and never really got it going," said Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried. "We wanted to go right at him."
Ole Miss had been able to close a significant gap late in the first half. Alabama led 32-22 before the Rebels scored the last six points of the first half to remain in it and trail only 32-28 at the break.
But the second half proved no better for the Rebels, and a struggling Alabama team kept the pressure on and got the victory.
"I'm proud of our guys," said Gottfried after his Crimson Tide improved to 14-11 overall and 3-7 in the SEC. "This was a good team win. We got balanced scoring, and defensively it was one of the best efforts we've had."
Alabama had six players in double figures, led by Riley with 22 points.
Ole Miss had Warren and David Huertas with 13 each and Zach Graham with 10.
Besides Curtis' 3 points, inside players Kenny Williams and Jermey Parnell combined for 14 points – Williams with 6 and Parnell with 8.
The Rebels shot 37 percent for the game (23-63) including 8-24 (33 percent) from 3-point range. At the free throw line, Ole Miss was 13-22 for 59 percent.
The Crimson Tide shot 37 percent as well (23-63) including 6-22 from 3-point range for 27 percent.
The difference was at the free throw line where the home team shot 32 of them and made 24 (75 percent).
The Rebels had just nine assists to 14 for the Tide. Warren, 5-19 shooting for the game including 3-10 from 3, has found the going a bit tougher in SEC play.
"He's a freshman," Kennedy said. "We all, myself being the No. 1 proponent, have created him to be Superman. I just told him that while that's a good thing, the reality is now people know who you are. The days of mystery are over."
For the Rebels as a team, that isn't necessarily the case.
Rebs still can't find one on the SEC road
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