Alabama Basketball: Tide falls again in Oxford, losing 78-66 to Ole Miss

Alabama basketball losing in Oxford, MS is old news. Ole Miss has now won seven in a row on its home court after beating the Tide 78-66.

The first half Tuesday night was a game of streaks. The second half was all Ole Miss as Alabama basketball played a disconnected, ineffective style of basketball. After Ole Miss opened hitting 6-for-7 and raced out to a 14-7 lead, the Tide fought back. Alabama went on an 18-0 run to take the lead.

Ole Miss quickly responded with a 14-0 run of its own to take a 33-27 lead. Ole Miss finished the last 6:10 of the first half on a 23-4 run to build a 41-31 lead.

The second half was even worse for the Tide. Avery Johnson tried running the offense through Collin Sexton, then tried using Sexton off the ball. Neither approach worked. The final score of 78-66 is misleading. The game was not that close. Braxton Key hit a late three, followed by Ole Miss dribbling out the clock.

Speaking of dribbling, it was a big problem for the Tide. During the 18-0 first-half run, the Tide distributed the basketball and moved off the ball. After Ole Miss responded with an 11 point explosion, the Tide’s precise ball movement disappeared.

Alabama basketball is a young team and it showed in Oxford

Of the 351 college basketball teams playing at the upper level, Alabama basketball is No. 348 in playing experience. That is a fact, but it cannot be an excuse. In the first half Tuesday night, the Tide made 13 field goals off of 10 assists. That controlled style disappeared in the second half. Alabama became a team too dependent upon scoring off the dribble which resulted in too many forced shots.

Ole Miss scored off the dribble when it was available because its players went to the basketball under control and put up shots they could finish. The Tide, less under control, put up shots that at best could draw a foul. And as is always the case on the road in the SEC, the fouls were not called. But the Tide did not lose because of poor officiating. It was simply outplayed, not by a more talented team, but by a more organized and structured team.

Talent does not win many games without execution. Avery Johnson now has to prepare his team for its toughest challenge of the season. Watching the Tide on Tuesday and believing this team can beat Oklahoma on Saturday is not compatible.

Donta Hall led the Tide with 14 points, shooting 6-for-7 while adding seven rebounds. Collin Sexton was 2-for-13, John Petty, 1-for-8 and Avery Jr., 1-for-5.