Familiar Story As Tide Falls Again

Alabama's second half lead in Tuscaloosa was only about half of what it had been in Oxford three weeks earlier, but the outcome was the same as the Ole Miss Rebels came from behind to defeat Alabama in Coleman Coliseum Saturday.

In the first meeting between the two teams, Alabama had led by 23 in the second half and Ole Miss won going away. Saturday, the Crimson Tide had an 11-point second half lead and fell to the Rebels by 76-73.

With the loss, Alabama's overall record is .500, a 14-14 mark. In Southeastern Conference play the Tide fell to 4-10. Ole Miss improved to 19-9 overall and evened its conference record at 7-7.

It was a familiar story. In crunch time, with a chance to get a win, Alabama couldn't do the job on offense or defense.

Alabama Coach Anthony Grant said, "We have had games this year we couldn't close out. This game could have gone either way. We weren't able to do things it took to win. We had a 10-point lead with 10 minutes to play and they did a good job of erasing that. From that time on we had a nip-and-tuck game, so from that standpoint it reminded me a little bit of the game in Oxford."

Alabama had a major slump after building an 11-point lead at 48-37 in the first five minutes of the second half. The Rebels ran off 12 unanswered points in a span of less than three minutes to take the lead and make it a one or two possession game for both teams the rest of the way.

Ole Miss made the most of its possessions in the final minute and Alabama did not.

Alabama put its fate in the hands of Anthony Brock for a critical late shot. Brock was 1-7 at the time he shot from inside the lane and missed with the score tied at 69 with 1:44 to play. Ole Miss had a different plan. With Alabama leading 72-71, the Rebels got the ball into the hands of Terrico White, who had made 3-5 previous three-point shots. White, unguarded, buried his fourth trey of the game to provide the points needed for the Mississippi victory.

The Rebels' Murphy Holloway made two late shots that were pivotal in the last minutes and Chris Warren closed it out with two free throws with six seconds to play.

Holloway led Ole Miss with 16 points. White had 15, the winning trey his only score of the second half. Warren had 12, Trevor Gaskins 14, and Terrance Henry 11.

Grant said, "I thought it was a hard-fought game. Ole Miss came in and really shot the ball well from the three-point line. I thought that was the difference in the game. Really big shot at the end by Terrico White."

Alabama still had a chance to send the game to overtime when JaMychal Green went to the free throw line with seven seconds to play, but Green took the suspense out of it by missing the first try.

Bama's last gasp was a three-point try by Tony Mitchell that rimmed out.

Mikhail Torrance said the final play had been designed to get a screen for Charvez Davis, who had made 4-5 second half three-point shots. "They did a good job on Charvez and Tony was open," Torrance said. "Tony can make that shot when he's open. It just rimmed out."

Guards Torrance and Davis led the Tide with 19 points each. Davis hit 5-8 on three-pointers, including one with a minute to play that gave Alabama its last lead at 72-71.

Alabama got expected scoring from Mikhail Torrance, who had 11 points at halftime, and unexpected scoring from Justin Knox, who had 10 points in nine minutes of play in the first half. Knox added only two points in the second half. Green had 14.

Charvez Davis? He had five points, one three-pointer in three attempts at the half.

Alabama has its final road game of the season at South Carolina at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Tide closes out regular season play hosting Auburn at 12:30 p.m. next Saturday.

Alabama had 19 assists, led by Torrance with six and Brock with five, and only seven turnovers, three of them by Brock. Ole Miss had a 40-35 advantage in rebounds.

The Rebels hit 29-64 from the field (45.3 per cent), including 12-25 on three pointers (48 per cent). Ole Miss outscored Alabama by 10 points from the field. The Rebels made 6-9 free throws, while Alabama made 13-17 foul shots. From the field, Alabama hit 26-62 (41.9 per cent) and only 33 per cent on three-point tries (8-24). In the second half, Davis was 4-5 on treys and the rest of the Tide was 0-7 with Brock (who was 0-6 for the game) 0-3, Torrance and Mitchell both 0-2.

Alabama built as much as a an eight-point lead in the first half, but the Rebels were very good on three-point shots and kept the game close throughout the period. The only Mississippi lead in the first half was at 2-0, and that was also the margin at intermission. White's third trey of the first period at the buzzer pulled the Rebs to within 33-31 at intermission.

White had all three-point plays--three shots from behind the arc and a field goal on which he was fouled and made the free throw--for 12 first half points.

Although Ole Miss made 7-13 three-point shots in the first half, 53.8 per cent, the Rebels were only 11-30 overall on field goals, 36.7 per cent. Meanwhile Alabama made 12-28, 42.9 per cent, from the field, but only 4-12 (33.3 per cent) from the arc.

Alabama played without regular starter Senario Hillman. Grant said the junior guard "was suspended today. Poor choice he made, and the consequence of his choice was to be suspended. It was a basketball choice. All of the guys have to be aware of the consequences for poor choices. There is a chance he will be back."

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