GAME NOTES: Still trying for their first road win of the season, the Alabama Crimson Tide will head to Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday night to battle with the slumping Ole Miss Rebels in an SEC bout.
Alabama had lost six of its previous seven games prior to its Saturday victory over Missouri, 80-73, to improve to 11-16 overall this season and 5-9 in league action. The Tide have been dreadful away from Tuscaloosa, however, as they have lost all nine of their road games and are 0-12 away from home when counting neutral-court contests.
Ole Miss has faded fast from the SEC picture in recent weeks and has all but ruined its chances at an NCAA Tournament at-large bid with four straight losses to fall to 16-11 and 7-7 in the SEC. The Rebels lost to powerhouse Florida on Saturday, 75-71, and while they are 10-5 at home, they've dropped two in a row at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Alabama defeated Ole Miss in Tuscaloosa earlier this month, 67-64 on Feb. 11, to improve its standing in the all-time series to 118-54.
The Tide nearly saw a double-digit second-half advantage disappear in their contest versus Missouri, but after their lead dwindled to just one, they separated themselves from the Tigers thanks to a 14-4 run and they held on for the seven-point triumph. Levi Randolph had a career-night off the bench, shooting 11-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range for 33 points. Trevor Releford was also stellar, scoring 18 points to go with six assists and two steals.
Despite its losing record this season, Alabama is still able to slightly outpace its opponents, as it shoots 44.5 percent from the field for 68.3 ppg while allowing 67.9 ppg on 42.9 percent shooting, although it is hindered by poor showings from 3-point range (.333) and the free-throw line (.690). Releford is the unquestioned catalyst with 19.0 ppg and is one of the nation's most efficient shooters from the guard position at 50.8 percent from the field, 40.4 percent from beyond the arc and 88.6 percent at the free-throw line. Retin Obasohan (9.9 ppg), Randolph (8.9 ppg) and Nick Jacobs (8.4 ppg) bring modest contributions to the table.
The Rebels gave Florida all they could handle their last time out, as they battled through nine ties and 14 lead changes, but they ultimately couldn't hold on down the stretch as they suffered the four-point defeat. They shot a solid 45 percent from the field but were less than stellar from long range (8- of-25) and had minimal chances at the foul line (9-of-11). Marshall Henderson was only 7-of-20 from the field but still finished with a game-high 22 points. Jarvis Summers had 20 points on a much more efficient 8-of-12 shooting, while Anthony Perez added 10 points.
On the season, Ole Miss boasts an impressive scoring offense (75.8 ppg) thanks largely to its more than eight 3-pointers per game at 36.3 percent efficiency, but its scoring defense (72.2 ppg) and rebounding margin (-4.0) both rank near the bottom of the SEC. Henderson scores 19.5 ppg, and while his overall field goal percentage is just .368, his 108 3-pointers are third-most in the nation. Summers joins Henderson in the backcourt and has been much more efficient en route to his 17.1 ppg, shooting 49.7 percent from the floor and 47.1 percent from beyond the arc. Aaron Jones isn't much for scoring (6.3 rpg), but he's a mainstay in the frontcourt with 7.0 rpg and 2.2 bpg.
The Rebels have a perfect opportunity to end their slide in this one against an Alabama squad that has shown very little fight on the road this season.
Game Date and Time