TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The nation’s No. 1 scoring defense had few answers defending Jahvon Quinerly as the Rebels (5-2, 0-1 SEC) were outpaced by the Alabama Crimson Tide 82-64 to open up SEC play.
Romello White tied a season high with 20 points, while adding a season high 11 rebounds. KJ Buffen and Jarkel Joiner each finished with double figures for the fourth straight game. Buffen had 15 points while Joiner had 12. As a team, Ole Miss shot 34 percent from the floor while committing 17 turnovers and forcing 15. The Rebels did have a slim advantage on the boards 47-46. The majority of Alabama’s scoring came from the bench with 54 points, including Quinerly’s 24 points.
The Rebels found themselves in a hole early in the first half. After four turnovers, two three pointers and an easy bucket from the Tide, Ole Miss trailed 8-0 just over two minutes into the game. The turnovers would continue to come for the Rebels as they trailed 18-9 going into the 12-minute media timeout. During that stretch, five different Alabama players scored, led by John Petty Jr. and Quinerly with five points each.
Devontae Shuler scored his 1,000th career point with a dunk a few seconds prior to the timeout. Four minutes later, White also passed the 1,000-point milestone as well.
The Rebels proceeded to go on a 7-0 run to cut Alabama’s lead 23-18 with 7:49 left in the first half. The Tide responded fairly quickly with an 8-0 run to score over 30 points on Ole Miss in the first half, the most the Rebels had given up all season. Ole Miss would later trail 43-34 going into the locker room.
To begin the second half, Alabama opened up their biggest lead of the game at 13, but White and Buffen willed Ole Miss back into the game with three straight made shots, trailing by six coming out of the media timeout with 15:05 left in the half. The Rebels would fail to score for the next four minutes and still held the game within 10 with 11:39 left to play. That would all change, as the Rebels made one of 10 shots with nine minutes and change left, as the Crimson Tide extended their lead to 63-48.
Ole Miss refused to throw in the towel, a 7-0 run spanning one minute and a transition dunk from Buffen forced the Tide to call timeout with 7:57 left, trailing by eight, 63-55. However, Alabama proved to be too much to handle down the stretch, coming away with the home win. After the SEC opener, Ole Miss returns to non-conference play to tip off the 2021 calendar year.
The Rebels finish a home-and-home series with Wichita State, hosting the Shockers in Oxford (Jan. 2). The matchup, a doubleheader of sorts with the Ole Miss football team playing in the Outback Bowl earlier that afternoon, is slated to begin at 5 p.m. CT on ESPNU.