Bama got a blow out victory on the road to improve to 15-12 (7-7). As a preliminary disclaimer, I watched this game at a bar with no sound. I have to admit, my enthusiasm for this win is a bit dampened by: a)the Deontay Wilder loss and b) let's be real, is there any doubt that even if we beat $tate we're going to lose to South Carolina and/or Vandy at home?
It started ugly. We had about 4 turnovers in the first 2 minutes, and Ole Miss jumped out to a 9-2 lead. Herb made an open layup under the goal, and for some reason the Rebels decided to start double-teaming the guy with one arm. He was able to find a wide open Kira Lewis who hit a couple of 3's to give us the lead for good.
I thought the defense was very good in the first half, and we even played a fair amount of zone. We were able to get into the passing lanes and disrupt Ole Miss's half court offense, which allowed us to speed up the pace of the game. Bama led 45-31 at the half.
I fully expected Ole Miss to make a game of it, as we've struggled to hold big leads all season. The Tide kept their foot on the gas this time though and ran the Rebels out of their own gym. It was a chippy game with a lot of technical fouls including their coach getting ran. I was concerned that would give them a spark, but instead our guys cashed in on the opportunity and stretched the lead to an insurmountable margin.
The defense was not as good in the second half, but we mixed things up well on offense. The dribble drive and inside-out game led to some open 3s, and we were at least serviceable in the paint. After the bad start, we did a good job of valuing the basketball, with 25 assists and only 12 turnovers.
Kira had a double-double with 17 points, 11 assists, and notably zero turnovers! JP went 4 of 6 from downtown and ended up with 21 points. Shack had a good game with 18 points and 3 assists. Alex had 12 points and was our leading rebounder with 6, but his 5 turnovers were bad. Herb played 22 minutes and had 3 blocks and 2 steals, it's amazing what he continues to contribute with one arm. Davis was also in double-digits thanks to a late 3, which was entertaining and fun in that situation, but I would still rather him not jack those up in an actual close game like he did against Texas A&M.
Give credit to this team for continuing to fight when everyone assumed the season was over with the recent home losses. This was a solid bounce-back win and hopefully they can build on it and finish strong.
Up next, we stay in the only state in the union that is even more miserable than our own, as we go to Starkville to take on the Mi$$ $tate Bulldogs Tuesday night at 8pm. It will be broadcast on the SEC Network.