Alabama basketball team drops SEC opener at Ole Miss 74-66 (via Crimson Magazine) Featured
Courtesy of Crimson Magazine
Andy Kennedy's Ole Miss basketball team opened its impressive new basketball arena, The Pavilion at Ole Miss, Thursday night, and was looking to break in the new venue in style at the expense of Avery Johnson's Alabama team, in the Southeastern Conference opener for the Crimson Tide.
The Tide, of course, was hoping to spoil the Rebel party, but despite a valiant effort and big nights from seniors Retin Obasohan and Arthur Edwards, Alabama fell short, falling 74-66 to Kennedy's team in front of 9,500 frenzied home fans.
Alabama fell to 9-4 on the season overall while Ole Miss improved to 11-3 and 1-1 in league play.
"We played a great first half, but struggled in the second half,” Johnson said. “We went into the locker room with an eight point lead, but in these bigger games our Achilles heel has been coming out in the second half. We used a timeout early to try and get our team settled down. We had seven turnovers in the first half and 12 in the second half. We didn’t do a good job rebounding. We don’t make excuses, we don’t complain. We are a hard hat team, we just didn’t do a good job in the second half.”
Both teams started the game cold and tentative offensively in the early going, with the Crimson Tide and Rebels each hitting one of their first six field goals.
Ole Miss had a lead that shifted between two and five points for the first five minutes or so, but with the host team up 8-6, the Rebels scored seven in a row to push the lead to 15-6 at the 12:35 mark.
Ole Miss increased the lead to 10 points at 20-10, in large part due to its dominance on the boards, and with the Rebels still up by that margin at 25-15, the Tide used a 10-2 spurt to cut the lead to 27-25 with just over five minutes left in the first half.
With the run reaching 15-4, Alabama took its first lead of 30-29 at the 3:13 mark on a 3-pointer by Arthur Edwards.
After Ole Miss regained the lead at 31-30, the Tide scored the next 10 to go back up 40-31. Obasohan scored seven points in that spurt and Alabama, overall, finished the half with a 25-7 surge to lead 40-32 at the half. The Belgium native led all scorers with 14 points in the first 20 minutes of play.
As the second half began, the Rebels continued a 7-0 run that cut the Tide lead to 40-38 before a Justin Coleman jumper finally gave Alabama its first points of the second half to make the UA lead 42-38.
After Ole Miss tied the game at 44-44, Edwards hit a trey and Obasohan scored a basket to put the Tide back up 49-44 with around 13 minutes remaining.
After this, the Tide hit a stretch where it struggled from the field and with turnovers (Alabama had 19 for the game), and the Rebels made Alabama pay for this drought in a big way.
Ole Miss scored 15 of the next 18 points to grab a 59-52 advantage with just under seven minutes left.
After this Ole Miss spurt, the Rebels were able to keep a lead of around six until Mike Kessens hit a pair of free throws with 2:59 left to pull Alabama within two points at 65-63.
Ole Miss, however, then scored six in a row to push the lead back to eight at 71-63 with just 1:23 left.
Alabama pulled within 71-66 and had a chance to get closer as Ole Miss missed a pair of free throws, but the Tide failed to beat Rebel standout Stefan Moody to the rebound of the second missed foul shot.
Ole Miss, after this, was able to get two more free throws and hit both to push the lead back to 73-66. The Tide was never able to score again as it instead committed a pair of late turnovers.
Edwards and Obasohan both tied their career high in points, scoring 17 and 23 respectively. Kessens also finished in double figures with 10 points and hauled in a team-best seven rebounds.
Alabama does not have much time to dwell on the loss as it makes the quick turnaround to face the No. 9 Kentucky Wildcats Saturday at Coleman Coliseum.
That game is set for a 5 p.m. tip, and will be televised by SEC Network.
Courtesy of Crimson Magazine
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I am a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where I currently reside and work. I am doing regular sports and feature writing for the Tuscaloosa-based Druid City Living and also am the Alabama beat writer for Crimson Magazine. I am a 1993 graduate of the University of Alabama, where I wrote for The Crimson White. I have an extensive background in newspaper journalism, having served as a sports editor and reporter for the Delta Democrat Times, St. Clair News-Aegis, Andalusia Star-News and the St. Clair County News.
I also have my own sports blog site, The Sports Connection, which I partner on with a friend of mine, and we began this site in November of 2012. I write blog on a variety of sports subject, and have also had guest contributors write their own blogs for the site. I have interviewed prominent sports figures for the site, including Paul Finebaum of the new SEC Network.Website: www.linkedin.com/in/stan-griffin-10506923
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