Notes and observations for he Rebels’ 69-67 2-OT loss at Alabama …
If Ole Miss, a team that’s really been playing better on several fronts than it was at the first of the year, puts itself in position for the NCAA tournament but falls short yet again the Rebels will look back on this game as the one that got away.
You have to win the game when you have the chance, and the Rebels had an excellent chance at the end of the first OT when Jarvis Summers took the in-bounds pass with 4.1 seconds left in a tie game and headed for the rim.
The percentages said Summers was about to hit the shot and be a hero or draw a foul and get to the free throw line for two shots and the chance to hit one and still be a hero.
Instead, Trevor Releford was the hero, tipping the ball and creating a turnover, one of four on the night for Summers, who absolutely has to be tougher with the ball in key situations. Releford, finished with five steals, four assists and two turnovers. Later, in the second overtime, he took the ball from Summers at the top of the key and passed ahead to begin a fastbreak.
Both players played 40 minutes or more, and Summers had some big plays on the night, but Releford had just two turnovers.
The Rebels set themselves up nicely on the defensive possession before the Summers’ miss. The Tide passed inside to leading scorer JaMychal Green. He was guarded 1-on-1 by DeMarco Cox, who held good position and made Cox give up the ball to teammate Nick Jacobs’ whose shot in the lane was blocked by Terrance Henry.
The Rebels retrieved the loose ball and ran down the clock for the last shot. They have to be more productive at the end of games if they’re going to make the NCAA tournament.
Elsewhere on the night, two teams that are pretty evenly matched each asserted themselves at different times.
Ole Miss shot 56 percent in the first half against Alabama’s stingy halfcourt defense. You figured the Tide would gather itself and make a run, and Alabama held the Rebels to 31.8 percent shooting in the second half. Ole Miss couldn’t get near an offensive rebound in the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Green had 16 points and 12 rebounds to lead Alabama. Tony Mitchell had 14 points and four rebounds, but it seemed like Mitchell was around every time a play needed to be made, and all four of his rebounds were on the offensive end. It seems like Mitchell has always grabbed the key offensive boards against Ole Miss through his career.
For Ole Miss, Nick Williams was 8-for-15 shooting, 2-for-5 from 3. He’s easily the most improved player on the team and is remaining consistent over the long haul. He had just one double-figure scoring game in SEC play last year and now has had seven straight.
Terrance Henry has become a more consistent scorer as well. He was averaging 18 points over his previous four games and had 14 last night. But he had five turnovers too. Henry is a skilled athlete on the perimeter and is finally beginning to take advantage of the matchup problems he presents, but as a 6-foot-9 guy trying to score off the dribble, he provides a wider target area for swiping hands.
Through 50 minutes of basketball, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy used just seven players. DeMarco Cox got 18 minutes and turned in five points and five rebounds.
Jelan Kendrick played 21 minutes. He wasn’t as productive as he was against South Carolina last week. Kendrick shot just 1-for-7 against the Tide and took a 3-pointer early in the shot clock when the Rebels had a chance to tie at the end of second overtime.
Reggie Buckner had a nice game with 11 points and eight rebounds. He fouled out for just the fourth time this year.