BLOG — TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A fast start to the first half by Alabama and a great defensive effort throughout on Ole Miss senior guard Chris Warren were just two of the reasons why the Crimson Tide posted a 74-64 win over the Rebels Saturday.Alabama shook off the disappointment of Thursday’s 81-77 loss to No. 23 Vanderbilt by jumping on the Rebels early at Coleman Coliseum. The Crimson Tide, who improved to 8-2 in the Southeastern Conference with the win, showed a lot of energy by scoring buckets and outside shots in transition.
Ole Miss (16-9 overall, 4-6 SEC) had no answer for Alabama’s point guard Trevor Releford, who had five of his seven assists in the first half of action, or for bench hero Tony Mitchell, who led all scorers with 20 points in just 27 minutes of action.
The Crimson Tide shot 52.8 percent in the first half, and while the Rebels played much better defense in the second half to limit them to just a 35.3 percent effort, their 20-point lead (47-27) at the break proved to be too much to overcome.
Warren, who entered the game second in the SEC in scoring, only had three points at the half and was only able to score in double digits because of his 10-for-12 effort from the free-throw line. Alabama coach Anthony Grant said Warren was the focus of his team’s defensive gameplan and he was pleased with the overall outcome.
“He’s a great player and obviously we understood the impact he has on the game and the impact he has on his team. He’s one of those guys that has the ability to effect the game with his scoring from the perimeter, driving the basketball and getting to the free-throw line and then making other guys on his team better,” Grant said. “He really impacts the game so he was a big focus for us and I thought our guys did a very good job on focusing in on him and not giving him any easy opportunities. He had to earn what he got.”
Saturday’s loss to the Crimson Tide ended a three-game winning streak for the Rebels, who were 3-1 against the SEC West coming in. (February 12, 2011)