On a cold, dreary night, with a slow arriving (still waiting on them) crowd, Alabama's Trevor Releford showed why he is an all SEC guard. Releford scored a game high 26 points, including a game winning three pointer with 0.6 seconds left in the game. The Tide won 67-64, continuing their streak of winning when they hold the opposition under 65 points.
As highlighted in the preview, 'Bama needed to avoid their customary slow start, needed to rebound the ball, and needed to hit their three pointers. Well as they say, two out of three ain't bad. The Tide fell behind 1-0, but scored on two Shannon Hale free throws to take a 2-1 lead. This is important because the last six games the team has started off in a 42-0 hole. 'Bama started fast and built a 22-10 lead with 11 minutes left in the half. For the game the Tide won the rebounding battle 42-34, the first time since January 15th against Mississippi State. The three pointers were not good, shooting only 3-17, although the last of those was the big one.
'Bama, led by Nick Jacobs and Shannon Hale took a 33-27 half time lead. Hale had 12 and Jacobs 10 at the half. Releford had a quite five points at the half. The Tide shot 13-29 (44.8%) with 1-9 on three pointers at the intermission. The lead could have been much larger, but 'Bama only made 6 of 13 free throws. Ole Miss was 9-28 (32.1%) and 4-12 on threes at the half.
The Tide held a 47-42 lead with 13:30 left in the game before going five minutes and thirty seconds without scoring and falling behind 51-47. Finally, Releford hit two free throws to break the drought. With Ole Miss holding a 55-53 lead, Henderson drove the lane to try a layup and was stuffed with authority by Retin Obasohan. Releford got the ball and scored on a fast break lay up to tie the game.
From there it continued to be the T Relly show as he scored 14 of the teams final 16 points, and assisted on the other basket. With 'Bama holding a six point lead Aaron Jones went to the free throw line for 2 shots for the Rebels. After hitting the first one and missing the second, Ole Miss got a hustle rebound in the corner and Henderson threw up a wild three that hit nothing but the bottom of the net to cut the lead to two. Hale missed an open three at the other end and the Rebels had the ball, down two , with 17 seconds left.
Ole Miss was set to try to get Henderson the ball to launch a three to possibly win the game, but Releford had other ideas. As Jarvis Summers was driving to get in to position to kick the ball to Henderson, Releford fouled him to put him at the line for 1-1. Releford said after the game "I had to foul him, there was no way I was going to let Marshall get a three off to beat us, you know he would have hit it."
Summers hit both, setting the stage for Releford. With five seconds left Releford passed to Cooper on the wing, who then whipped it back to Releford at the top of the key, where he gathered, went up over Henderson, and drilled the game winner. Ole Miss was given 0.6 seconds, but their long prayer at the buzzer went unanswered, giving 'Bama the much needed victory.
Key Points for 'Bama:
- Releford was stellar as usual, adding five rebounds, three assists and three steals to his 26 points.
- Nick Jacobs was huge, scoring 18 points and grabbing eight rebounds. Jacobs being able to score down low was a huge key for 'Bama. And the fact that he actually rebounded with authority was a big reason for the victory.
- Hale finished with 15 points.
- Jimmie Taylor and Rodney Cooper were the only other players to score, with four points each.
- Cooper again led the team with 10 rebounds.
- Taylor blocked two shots and Obasohan swatted three, to go along with three steals.
- Henderson led the Rebels with 14 points, but shot 4-15 on the night, while going 4-14 from behind the arc.
- Anthony Perez scored 13 points and LaDarius White added 10 points, and was their leading rebounder with eight.
- Jarvis Summers, Ole Miss' second leading scorer, was held to nine points on 2-9 shooting.
Stat of the game:
- As a team, Bama held Henderson and Summers to just 23 points combined, where as they have been averaging 36 points per game. The duo combined to shoot 6 for 24 from the field, including 4-15 from three point range.
This was a much needed win for a beleaguered team and coach. Coach Anthony Grant seemed to coach with more fire an enthusiasm than has been seen in a while. The team responded and played inspired basketball for 40 minutes. With the win the Tide now has a record of 10-14, and 4-7 in the SEC. Ole Miss falls to 16-8, 7-4 in the SEC.
The Tide is back in action Saturday at South Carolina in a 3 p.m. tip off of a game that will be shown on the SEC TV network.
Big Win Guys. Roll Tide Y'all,
Hang in there