First-Half Lead Evaporates in 74-67 Loss at No. 25 Mississippi
Feb. 6, 2010
OXFORD, Miss. - Sophomore forward JaMychal Green scored 18 points while freshman forward Tony Mitchell added 16 points and eight rebounds but it wasn’t enough to counter a furious second-half rally that allowed No. 25 Mississippi to pull away with a 74-67 victory over Alabama on Saturday at C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum.
Senior guard Mikhail Torrance had 12 points and seven assists for the Crimson Tide which falls to 13-10 (3-6 SEC) on the season after losing its third straight. The Rebels improve to 17-6 (5-4 SEC).
Alabama held a 40-20 halftime lead but were outscored 54-27 in the second-half by Mississippi. It was the 12th consecutive game in which the Crimson Tide has held the halftime lead. Additionally, Alabama has led at the midway point in all nine SEC games this season.
"I think today was a microcosm of what we’ve experienced through the season,” said Alabama head coach Anthony Grant. “Ole Miss is a very good team and we knew in the second half they were going to fight and we were going to have to fight back. In the second half, I felt like we played not to lose instead of playing to win.”
A pair of three's by Torrance and senior guard Anthony Brock at the midway juncture of the second half briefly quelled the Mississippi momentum built from a 23-12 run over the first 9:42 that cut the Alabama lead to 55-43.
The two teams traded baskets over the next minute of play until a 14-0 Rebel run, spanning just over three minutes, proved to be the Tide's undoing.
The Rebels would eventually tie the game at 56 at the 6:26 mark before taking its first lead of the game, at 58-56, on the ensuing possession. Alabama would later cut the margin to 61-60 on a Torrance layup, but were never able to regain the lead.
Mississippi outscored the Tide 13-6 over the final 3:53 to come away with the victory.
"I’m disappointed, but at the same time with every game, I’m finding out a little bit more about who we are,” said Grant. “As a coach I understand what it takes to win and today had nothing to do with talent but everything to do with will. Their will was great and we’ve got to find a way to fix what ails our team.”
The Crimson Tide played arguably its most complete first half of the year, taking a 40-20 lead over the Rebels.
Alabama connected on five of its first six shots to take an 11-4 lead over the first 4:28 of the game. From there, the Tide would expand the margin to 17-9 over the next four minutes before taking control of the half.
A 13-2 run from the 11:47 mark to the 5:57 mark of the first half gave Alabama a 30-11 lead. At that point, Mitchell and Torrance led the Tide with nine points each, respectively, while Green had seven.
Alabama held the Rebels to 7-of-28 (25 percent) from the field including just 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from beyond the arc in the opening half.
Alabama will be on the road again for its next contest against No. 4/3 Kentucky. Tipoff is scheduled for 8 p.m. CST on Tuesday at Rupp Arena.