OXFORD, Miss. (Courtesy: UA Athletic Dept.) – The Alabama men’s basketball team (9-4, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) fell on the road to the Ole Miss Rebels (11-3, 1-1 SEC) in the Crimson Tide’s conference opener. The game was the inaugural contest played inside the Rebels’ brand new 9,500-seat arena, The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
The game got off to a slow start, as each team went 1-of-6 from the floor. Ole Miss grabbed the lead thanks to securing points at the foul line, as five of their first 10 points came from free throws. The Rebels would hold a 25-15 advantage with just under nine minutes to play in the half before Alabama put together a 15-4 run, capped off by a three-pointer from Arthur Edwards, to take its first lead of the night at 30-29.
The Tide also ended the half on a 10-1 run to go into the locker room with a 40-32 margin. Alabama shot 13-for-26 from the field, which included draining seven of its 13 attempts from behind the arc. Senior Retin Obasohan and Edwards each ended the half with 14 points. The Rebels were 9-of-27 from the floor, including making only one of their final seven shots.
The Tide began the second half missing its first four shot attempts while also committing three turnovers as Ole Miss closed within two points at 40-38. The Rebels tied the game at 44-44 and eventually took the lead for good at 53-52 as part of a 15-3 stretch for the home team. Ole Miss extended its lead to seven, and while Alabama trimmed its deficit to two (65-63) thanks to a pair of free throws by junior Michael Kessens in the closing minutes, that was as close as the Tide would get.
Edwards and Obasohan both tied their career high in points, scoring 17 and 23 respectively. Kessens also finished in double figures with 10 and hauled in a team-best seven rebounds.
Next up, Alabama returns home for its first SEC home game, playing host to the No. 9/8 Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday, Jan. 9. The game is set for a 5:00 p.m. CT tip and will be broadcast on SEC Network.