Late in the first half versus Alabama, Devontae Shuler was driving left and dribbled the ball off of his foot. Shuler dropped to the floor attempting to corral the loose ball but was unsuccessful as all five Crimson Tide players dove in, ultimately coming away with the ball and another bucket off of a turnover. The scramble was a microcosm of Ole Miss’ night; simply put, Alabama just wanted it more.
Alabama defeated Ole Miss 74-53 in the Rebels’ worst showing of the year.
After jumping out to a 5-1 lead behind a pair of Blake Hinson buckets, Alabama ripped off a 13-2 run that saw both Hinson and Terence Davis pick up two fouls each. It was an all-around onslaught from that point forward, as Ole Miss would never cut the deficit closer than five points.
Alabama physically dominated the paint versus Ole Miss, scoring 22 paint points to just 8 for the Rebels. Ole Miss looked lost defensively, switching between schemes like a revolving door. Kermit Davis dug deep into his bench, giving minutes to Zach Naylor and Luis Rodriguez early in the first half.
At halftime, the Tide led 42-26, a result of Alabama controlling nearly every facet of the game. They won the points off of turnover battle 15-0, were a +7 on the offensive glass, and led 14-2 in second-chance points. 26 point marked the lowest scoring first half of the season for the Rebels.
The second half brought more of the same for Ole Miss. A Bruce Stevens layup with 15:00 left to play ended an over eight-minute field goal drought, although any chance of a comeback had already withered away. A minute prior to Hinson’s reprieve, Terence Davis picked up his fifth foul, disqualifying him for the remainder of the contest. By that point, the Alabama lead had already ballooned to over 20.
It was an uncharacteristically bad night for a team that had enjoyed a prodigious amount of success until this point in the season. The dynamic backcourt of Terence Davis and Breein Tyree combined for only 19 points, the Rebels shot 50 percent from the line, and were dwarfed by the Tide on the interior—Alabama outscored Ole Miss 34-16 in the paint.
While the gravity of this loss will undoubtedly sting, the silver lining is that Kermit Davis and co. have a chance Saturday to whitewash it from memory. No. 24 ranked Iowa State strolls into the Pavilion Saturday morning for a Big 12/SEC matchup, fresh off of two top-10 wins over Kansas and Texas Tech.
As the Winter months wane and the race to the dance tightens, what matters is success when the lights shine brightest. A midweek loss to an inferior opponent on the road is easily forgiven if redemption is swift, and for Ole Miss, the opportunity looms heavy on Saturday.