Didn’t deserve to win

That’s what Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said of the Rebels’ performance following their 67-64 loss at Alabama.

From the Mother Ship, our follow-up after early storm deadlines caused the Tuesday game to miss the Wednesday print edition:

Three of the top players in the SEC were on the floor in Tuscaloosa Tuesday night – two of them from Ole Miss – but it was Alabama’s representative who made the biggest plays.

The Rebels held Crimson Tide guard Trevor Releford to five points in the first half, but Releford scored 14 in the last 5 minutes including the winning 3-pointer with 1 second remaining as Alabama won 67-64.

Ole Miss guards Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers were held to 14 and nine points respectively.

All three players are in the SEC’s top eight in scoring, but it was Releford who surpassed his average by eight points with 26 on the night.

“We didn’t really deserve to win the game. I thought Anthony’s (Grant, Alabama coach) team deserved to win. They played harder than us,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “When you look at it statistically it’s really a miracle we were in the game. You don’t typically go on the road in this league and get out-rebounded by eight, have more turnovers than assists, shoot 38 percent and win.”

Ole Miss dropped to 16-8 overall, 7-4 in SEC play and is back on the road Saturday at Georgia.

Alabama didn’t win only with its name guys. Forward Nick Jacobs was averaging only 8.3 points a game but took it to the Rebels inside, especially in the first half before Releford ignited, and finished with 18 points and eight rebounds.

Ole Miss got four points and two rebounds from Sebastian Saiz and three points and four rebounds from Aaron Jones, its top two post players.

The Crimson Tide outscored Ole Miss 34-16 in the post.

“We’re a better team than them, but they were the better team tonight,” Ole Miss guard LaDarius White said. “Our shots weren’t falling. We usually make those shots, but by us not making quick shots it led to fastbreak points for them.”

One of those run-outs was a Releford layup after a turnover by Rebels forward Demarco Cox. That allowed Alabama to grab momentum with less than 5 minutes to play when it had trailed by four a minute earlier.

Alabama negated Henderson’s impact by changing defenders and successfully switching off ball screens.

“We’ve seen just about everything as it relates to Marshall. We challenged him,” Kennedy said. “He shot three free throws in this game. We told him if they’re doing that you’ve got to drive it to the basket. He chose to shoot 4-for-15.”

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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