Alabama went to Oxford badly needing a road win and ran the Ole Miss Rebels off their home court in a 97-83 victory.
Things looked a bit ominous early on. Ole Miss senior Jarkel Joiner came out firing in his second game back from injury, pouring in 14 points in the first nine minutes of game action. Meanwhile, Alabama got a bit sloppy with the ball, at one point turning the ball over on four straight possessions to find themselves down 11 at 30-19 with nine minutes left in the half.
That’s when the Tide, especially Jaden Shackelford, decided enough was enough.
Shackelford scored 15 of his 19 first half points in the last nine minutes of the half to bring the Tide roaring back on a 30-8 run to close things out and stake Alabama to a 49-38 halftime lead. Most encouraging was the three point shooting after the Tide inexplicably came in at only 26% in SEC play. Alabama shot 64% out there in the first half.
Unfortunately, the second half started out much like the first as Ole Miss took advantage of hot shooting and Alabama turnovers to score the first nine points of the half. The Tide found their groove again though, this time led by JD Davison who made several beautiful drives to the hoop to go with a pair of threes. Shackelford finished with 30 points to lead the way, and Davison added 18.
Following up a Kentucky game where absolutely nothing went right, everything was falling for Alabama tonight and it was beautiful to see. For one night, they looked every bit the contender they were billed to be coming into the season.
Alabama certainly isn’t 60%+ from three good, but they are better than they’ve shown in the first ten games of a brutal SEC slate. A lot of nerves seemed to be calmed tonight. Hopefully this game will be the turning point for a hot stretch run.