Loss at Ole Miss damages Alabama's chances for high SEC tournament seed

The Alabama men’s basketball team’s loss at Ole Miss on Tuesday was not what the team needed. The Crimson Tide was playing for a top-four seed in the Southeastern Conference tournament and a spot in the NCAA tournament.

With a win, Alabama (19-11, 11-6 SEC) could have claimed that top-four seed in the league tournament. But now it won’t be as easy. The Tide is currently tied for third place with Ole Miss and Missouri, but it has lost to both teams. Head Coach Anthony Grant said his team let an opportunity slip away from its grasp.

“Obviously, right now seeding’s at a premium,” Grant said after the loss to Ole Miss. “Every game’s going to be critical. This was obviously an important game. Give Ole Miss credit; they rose to the occasion and protected their home court.”

Alabama’s future is no longer in its hands. It still has to beat Georgia on Saturday, March 9, but several other components need to fall into place in order for the Tide to receive two bye weeks in the SEC tournament. Help from Ole Miss, Missouri and Kentucky’s next opponents would be greatly appreciated.

But it wasn’t all bad in Oxford, Miss., after the Tide’s 87-83 loss.

Alabama turned up the offense in the second half and scored 58 points, which is more than it scored in the past nine games this season. It was out of complete desperation, but the Tide drained six 3-pointers in the final two minutes to trim the Rebels’ lead. If it can accomplish this in its final regular season game and in the SEC tournament, Alabama will have a better shot at participating in March Madness.

Freshman guard Retin Obasohan also had another strong performance and provided depth and offense for his team. He scored nine points with five assists in 16 minutes.

Obasohan impressed Grant and will likely see even more minutes because of his effort in a crucial game and in recent weeks.

“Retin Obasohan gave us really good minutes,” Grant said. “I’ve got to find a way with the energy that he brings to get him more time on the court. He’s doing a terrific job for us and certainly deserves that.”

Obasohan’s energy in the second half seemed to refuel the rest of his teammates and they made it hard for Ole Miss to pull away and seal the victory. The Tide trailed the Rebels almost the entirety of the contest. But it showed its resiliency and determination to finish the game and keep it close.

Grant said he was proud of his team for not quitting.

“I thought our guys just continued to battle,” Grant said. “They continued to play the game. It would have been very easy to go the other way with that, the way it was, but I thought the effort was good.”

Alabama will face the Georgia Bulldogs in its final game of the season Saturday in Coleman Coliseum.

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