Tide drops third straight gameBy Britton Lynn | 02/28/2010 11:28pm
The Alabama men’s basketball team (14-14, 4-10) fell to Ole Miss (19-9, 7-7) 76-73 Saturday at Coleman Coliseum. In the Crimson Tide’s previous meeting with the Rebels, Alabama lost 74-67 in Oxford, Miss. This is the Tide’s third straight loss after losing to Mississippi State and Georgia the week before.
“This one was a game that could have gone either way,” said head coach Anthony Grant. “It was a very highly contested game. They stepped up and made shots today. They came into the game as a team that was making a lot of threes, and our game plan was really to try to control dribble penetration and keep them out of the lane.”
Ole Miss put the first points on the scoreboard with a two-point field goal by sophomore Murphy Holloway, but Alabama senior Mikhail Torrance quickly put Alabama ahead with a three-pointer, and the Tide stayed on top the remainder of the first half.
Alabama barely held the lead at halftime, 33-31. The Tide’s offense kept it alive with a high shooting percentage of 42.9 going into the half, while Ole Miss had a 36.7 shooting percentage going into the half. But, what kept Ole Miss right behind Alabama was its 53.8 percent shooting from the three-point line.
“The key to Ole Miss pulling the game out was Alabama not being able to defend the three-point line,” said junior Charvez Davis. “On the offensive board, they were able to get key rebounds at key points in the game. That was a big factor in the game.”
With one minute to go in the game, Alabama was up 72-71 after a three-pointer by Davis. Then, with 29 seconds left in the game, Ole Miss sophomore Terrico White made a three-pointer off an assist by junior Chris Warren. The Rebels secured the victory with two more free throw shots by Warren in the last six seconds of the game.
“Down the stretch, Mississippi was able to get some second shots that we as a team just can’t give up,” said senior guard Mikhail Torrance. “We just missed some assignments. At the same time, we were able to make a couple of big shots ourselves, but we have to make big stops down the stretch to win these games.”
Alabama struggled offensively and defensively in the second half, and their high field goal percentage from the first half dropped in the second to 41.2 percent. The Rebels’ field goal percentage, on the other hand, improved to 52.9 percent in the second half.
“We just have to regroup after this one,” Torrance said. “I know Coach Grant will have a great game plan for us. We just have to really focus this week in practice on getting better as a team, offensively and defensively. We just have to get better and regroup for our next game.”
Although the Rebels average the fewest turnovers per game of all Southeastern Conference teams, Alabama’s defense forced Ole Miss to 10 turnovers versus the Tide’s season-low seven. The Tide ended the game with 35 rebounds, while Ole Miss had 40.
Amid the loss, Davis had a career-high 19 points.
“I was just shooting when I was open,” Davis said. “I was trying to make plays for my team whenever I was available. Any time I have a shot, I’m going to take it.”
The Tide’s next game will be Wednesday against South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., at 6 p.m. before finishing the regular season against Auburn Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in Coleman Coliseum.