After a tough loss to Vanderbilt Thursday, the Alabama Crimson Tide was welcomed back home in Coleman Coliseum with a 74-64 win over the Ole Miss Rebels Saturday.
With the win, Alabama improves to 13-0 at home and 15-8 overall, 8-2 Southeastern Conference, keeping its No. 1 spot in the SEC West. The Rebels fall to 16-8, 4-5.
“It was a great win for our team after such a short turnaround, playing Thursday night and then coming back Saturday afternoon, so it gives us a chance to remain in control of our destiny in the league,” said head coach Anthony Grant.
At the half, Alabama led 47-27 after hitting five three pointers and making 53 percent of its field goals. On the defensive side, the Tide held Ole Miss to just 39 percent of its field goals, outrebounding the Rebels 20-13. Alabama was able to convert its rebounds into 10 points. Also, Alabama scored 13 points off the Rebels’ 9 turnovers.
“I thought defensively we really were aggressive, got out in transition and built the lead,” Grant said.
For the third game in a row, sophomore Tony Mitchell didn’t start in the game; however, he led the offense in the first half with 15 bench points, while senior Chris Hines and freshman Trevor Releford each had four rebounds.
“It doesn’t matter if I come off the bench or start, I’m just playing to give it all I got,” Mitchell said. “I’m just helping out my team anyway I can.”
Alabama continued to dominate in the paint, outscoring Ole Miss 20-12 inside. The Tide led, too, on the perimeter, shooting five of nine threes, over the Rebels’ two of six threes.
In the second half, the Rebels made a run, hitting four three pointers, cutting the Tide’s lead to as few as 8. Though Alabama’s defense held Ole Miss to 34 percent shooting in the second half, the Tide’s offense couldn’t convert, hitting only 35 percent of its own field goals and just one of four threes.
Alabama also ended up losing the rebound battle 37-35; however, the Tide still had more second chance points with 14, compared to Ole Miss’ 13. Though Alabama had fewer turnovers than Ole Miss, the Rebels were able to get much needed points towards the end of the game off the turnovers. Still, the Tide was able to hold onto the lead.
“I thought our energy wasn’t quite what it needed to be [in the second half],” Grant said. “We kind of shot ourselves in the foot with the turnovers and gave them some opportunities on the other end.”
Mitchell ended the game with 20 points as the leading scorer and was also the leading rebounder with seven. Junior JaMychal Green was behind him in scoring with 15 points, having five rebounds of his own.
The next game for Alabama is Thursday in Baton Rouge, La., to take on LSU with tipoff at 8 p.m. Next up at home for the Tide is Saturday against Arkansas, tipping off at 6 p.m.