Tevin Mack scored a game-high 21 points, and Alabama held Ole Miss scoreless over the final 3:21 to defeat the Rebels 62-57 in the second round of the Southeastern Conference tournament on Thursday night in Nashville, Tenn.
The 10th-seeded Crimson Tide (18-14), who had lost three consecutive games coming in to the tournament, advance to play second-seeded Kentucky (26-5) Friday night in the quarterfinals.
After Alabama trailed 40-24 just 30 seconds into the second half, Mack almost singlehandedly brought the Crimson Tide back. The streaky shooter had eight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers, in a 13-0 Tide run over four minutes to give Alabama a 44-43 lead with 13:16 left.
Terence Davis, Ole Miss’ second-leading scorer coming in, missed his first eight shots but finally made his first field goal, a 3-pointer from the right wing, to give the Rebels a 51-48 lead with eight minutes left.
But Ole Miss went stone cold over the rest of the game, scoring just six points. The Rebels shot 7 of 29 in the second half (24.1 percent) and could not protect a 57-55 lead with 3:21 remaining.
Alabama freshman guard Kira Lewis Jr. started the final Crimson Tide push by dribbling through a 2-3 zone for an easy layup to tie the game at 57. Then, after a bad crosscourt pass by Davis was picked off, John Petty rebounded a missed layup for Alabama — his only points of the game — to give the Tide the lead for good, 59-57, with 67 seconds left.
Galin Smith and Dazon Ingram iced the game for Alabama by hitting a combined 3 of 4 free throws, which reversed a terrible night from the line for the Tide (9 of 18 overall).
Ole Miss (20-12) was led by Devontae Shuler with 14 points, 11 coming in the first half.
The Rebels held Alabama to just eight points in the first 11:12 and led 38-24 at the half. The Tide committed 10 first-half turnovers, which led to 14 Ole Miss points. The Rebels, meanwhile, took great care of the basketball, committing just two turnovers in the first half.
By the time Ole Miss led 16-6 nine minutes into the game, Alabama had missed 11 of its first 13 shots.
Shuler took up the backcourt scoring slack from Davis and Breein Tyree, leading all teams with 11 points in the first half on 5-of-6 shooting.
Davis finished 1 of 11 from the floor for three points while Tyree was 3 of 16 for seven points.
—Field Level Media