The Alabama Crimson Tide remained winless away from Tuscaloosa this season, by dropping a 79-67 decision to the Ole Miss Rebels on Wednesday night. The Tide trailed the Rebels 43-28 at half time. Hale had 17 points at the half, and Trevor Releford only had two. Levi Randolph, fresh off of his 33 point outburst against Missouri, had four at the half. Randolph did not start the game, and entered the game for the first time at the 14 minute mark. 'Bama now sits at 11-17,5-10 in the SEC. Ole Miss improved to 17-11, 8-7 in conference play.
Ole Miss returned from half time and quickly expanded the lead to as much as 17 points before Releford and Randolph came to life and cut the lead to six with about six minutes remaining. However, the Tide could not get any closer. Alabama was able to stay within striking distance by shooting 13-26 in the second half, after a dismal 7-22 first half. For the game 'Bama shot 20-48 (41.7%) including only 6-23 from three point range. The team hit 21-28 free throws (75%), with Hale hitting 10-11 from the stripe.
'Bama held Ole Miss to 41.4% (24-58) with 5-21 on three point ttys. The Rebel's did hit 26-31 (84%) from the three point line. Marshall Henderson had 12 points in the first five minutes for Ole Miss, but after adjustments only scored one more point the rest of the way. Jarvis Simmons led the way with 20 points and Martavious Newby added 15 points. Steals, assists and turnovers where even across the board, but Ole Miss dominated the rebounding battle 42-24, including 17 on the offensive glass.
After a strong game last week, Jimmie Taylor got in early foul trouble and played only 11 minutes, scoring two points and grabbing one rebound with no blocked shots. The Tide's only other available big man, Carl Engstrom saw eight minutes of action, and the only stat he put on the books was two fouls. 'Bama went small for most of the night with Hale actually playing the "5", or center spot. Hale's 27 led the team, followed by Releford with 16 and Randolph with 13. Releford passed the 1800 point career mark, and now sits just four points behind James "Hollywood" Robinson for sixth place in Alabama basketball history.
It was really just more of the same, Tide starts off behind, Tide rallies, Tide runs out of gas, can not get over the hump. Basically the difference in this game and the Missouri win was the ability to make shots. After drilling 10-21 three point attempts on Saturday, the team was only able to hit 6-23. Randolph hit 5-7 on Saturday, but was 0-3. Releford, hitting over 40% from long range on the season was just 2-8. Hale did drill 3-5.
Releford showed some discomfort after his upper thigh injury from Saturday, and even struggled at the free throw line. Normally a 90% free throw shooter, the senior star only hit 2-5 from the line. Releford didn't seem to have the burst that he normally does to get into the lane, where he is so good at finishing at the rim, and drawing fouls.
The next game is actually a must win situation, in that the Auburn Tigers are coming to town Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. contest that will be televised by ESPNU. Even the most ardent fans will have a hard time stomaching a sweep by the Tigers from east Alabama (West Georgia.)
'Bama fans only have two home games left to see the wonder that is Trevor Releford. After the Auburn game the team travels to Lexington to play Kentucky on March 4th, before returning home for the final regular season game on Saturday the 8th against Arkansas, a 3:00 p.m.
Not much to say except but wait till next year.
Roll Tide Y'all