In front of an announced crowd of 7,862 inside Tad Smith Coliseum, Ole Miss saw its postseason hopes take a critical blow, falling to Alabama 90-69 for its second consecutive loss.
With the loss, the Rebels fall to 15-13 on the year and 6-8 in SEC play.
"I wish I could tell you I saw it coming, but I didn't see it coming," said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy. "We've had our issues. I thought Alabama came out and shot the ball exceptionally well early in the game. They got us on our heels. That was disappointing. I wanted us to battle. We were a step slow and Alabama made us pay."
Ole Miss players were unavailable for comment following the game.
In one of their poorer performances of the season, the Rebels fell behind early after a three-point basket by Senario Hillman. Despite sloppy play by both squads, the Crimson Tide held an 8-3 lead to start the game, with every Rebel point coming by way of the free throw conversions.
However, a jumper by junior David Huertas finally gave Ole Miss their first make from the field, with Murphy Holloway adding a layup after pulling down a Terrico White miss.
Another basket by Huertas nodded the game 9-9, before Hillman struck again for an Alabama (16-12, 6-8) lead of two. Yamene Coleman added to the lead with a short jumper in the paint, giving his team a four point advantage.
The Rebels responded with four straight points from Terrico to tie the game, but Bama followed with a 7-0 run for a 20-15 lead. After tying the game at 26-26, the Tide used an array of three-point shooting to distance themselves from their opponents before halftime.
Led by hot shooting from Anthony Brock who scored 14 points, Alabama dominated the Rebels in the half's closing minutes, with a 23-7 run before the break. Brock nailed four shots from long distance, as the Crimson Tide held a 49-33 lead at the midway point.
Things would get no better in the second, despite an opening two-pointer by Holloway. Alonzo Gee was good on his second attempt of the game, with Justin Knox continuing his dominance down low.
Despite a nice jumper from Terrico and a long distance make from Huertas, Knox scored six-straight points for the Crimson Tide. Each team exchanged baskets following a 57-40 lead for Alabama, with the Tide only adding to their advantage as the game continued.
It was more of the same the rest of the way, as fans began to exit despite over nine minutes left to play. The Rebels trailed by 28 at 79-51 and had been dominated in almost every aspect.
Nothing was left but garbage time, with Ole Miss trailing by as much as 30 on the day. While dunks by Terrico and Malcolm White kept the game bearable, the damage had already been done.
Will Bogan nailed a three with the horn sounding, but the Rebels had just suffered a 21-point loss on their home floor.
"In the second half, we tried to give it a little push and they pushed it right back at us," Kennedy said. "From that point on, it seemed like we were in cruise control. You only have so many games in your life. I was hoping our guys would understand that and respond a little better than we did today."
Terrico White paced Ole Miss with 20 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Zach Graham and David Huertas both added 15. Alabama dominated in rebounding, holding a 43-31 advantage for the game.
"I've tried to talk to these guys about how life is temporary," said Kennedy."The situation we're involved with as it relates to our team is temporary – very temporary if we continue to play the way we did tonight. In seven to ten days, this thing is over. You only have so many games in your life.
"I was hoping our guys would understand that and respond a little bit better than we did today."
The team returns to action Wednesday against Arkansas in Fayetteville.
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