By Chris DePew
Jan. 22, 2019
Alabama’s defense allowed a season low in points for the second time in three games as the Crimson Tide demolished No. 20 Ole Miss 74-53 at Coleman Coliseum.
What did we learn today?: There’s progress in the kicking game, as in Bama finally demonstrated it could kick an opponent while it was down. The Tide was in a good position to get the win between favorable on-court matchups, the positive energy from nearly knocking off No. 1 Tennessee and a recent history of getting up for ranked teams. But most expected a tight game with lots of scoring and there was a healthy amount of skepticism even as Alabama built a double digit lead. But once Ole Miss star Terence Davis fouled out with just over 16 minutes left, the Rebels ceased to put up much of a fight, allowing the lead to balloon up to 29 points even as Alabama substituted liberally. That killer instinct has been hard to find this season.
What was the best part of the game?: A sequence with around three minutes left in the first half demonstrated Bama’s relentless defense beautifully. Riley Norris knocked the ball loose from Rebels point guard Devontae Shuler, touching off a wild scramble with the ball squirting through about eight pairs of hands from both sides before Norris finally secured it, leading to a putback basket for Herbert Jones on the other end and a 36-26 lead. Ole Miss didn’t get another field goal until five minutes into the second half and never cut the lead to single digits again. The Crimson Tide had nine steals and outscored the Rebels 23-6 on turnovers, including 15-0 in the first half.
Who was the star?: John Petty seemed to get the ball just enough to pound the Rebels into submission and no more. Twelve of his 15 points came in the first half as the Tide built a 16-point lead. Petty sank six of his first seven shots, and most of his baskets didn’t even seem to touch the rim. With back-to-back solid scoring nights against Top 20 competition, he even overshadowed a fourth consecutive Donta Hall double-double.
What were the biggest concerns?: The Rebels’ offensive collapsed glossed over Bama’s own second-half slump. The Tide went 8-for-29 from the floor over the last 20 minutes, including 2-for-10 from 3-point range. Kira Lewis (2-for-8) and Jones (2-for-7) in particular put several dents in the rim.
What’s next?: It’s brunch with the Bears as Alabama visits Baylor for the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. Tipoff on ESPNU is Saturday at 11 a.m. Central.
Follow Chris DePew on Twitter @TideFansChris
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