Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

No. 13 Alabama basketball defeats Ole Miss in tale of 2 halves

Courtesy of UA Athletics
Alabama guard Aaron Estrada (55) looks to pass the ball against Ole Miss at The Sandy and John Black Pavilion in Oxford, Mississippi on Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024.

After Alabama men’s basketball allowed the most points in program history in its 117-95 loss to Kentucky on Saturday, the Crimson Tide needed a dominant performance on both sides of the ball to prove its status as a championship-caliber team, both in the SEC and nationwide.  

While not everyone will agree that Alabama achieved this goal, the team showed it has heart if nothing else, bouncing back from an extremely rough first half to pull out a 103-88 victory against the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford.   

This is the ninth time this season that Alabama has scored over 100 points, extending the program record set earlier this year.  

“I thought our guys showed a ton of character and a lot of grit,” Alabama head coach Nate Oats said postgame. “I think we were down at 16 at Georgia. So, we’ve done this before, where we’ve been able to come back.”  

For much of the first half, the No. 1 offense in the country, according to KenPom, looked completely lost.    

Alabama shot under 40% from the field in the first half and made just two of its first 13 shots from long range. 

Ole Miss, on the other hand, was getting just about any shot it wanted, ending the half shooting over 50% from the field.  

Similar to the Crimson Tide’s last contest with Kentucky, guard Latrell Wrightsell Jr,’s absence was felt heavily on both ends of the floor.  

Alabama ended the first half with some momentum, however, putting together a 16-5 run to cut the lead to 42-39 for the Rebels, who were up the entire half.   

As the second half began, the Crimson Tide looked much more like the No. 1 offense in the country.  

Alabama hit the ground running out of the locker room, outscoring the Rebels 21-9 to start the second half.  

After a first half in which the Crimson Tide struggled to find consistent offense from anyone but Sears, his supporting cast answered the call. 

Most notably, guard Aaron Estrada did it all for the Crimson Tide in the second half, scoring 13 points along with six rebounds and six assists. 

Estrada finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists, making him the first player to record a triple-double under Nate Oats since Kira Lewis Jr. back in 2020.  

“There’s a lot of good players that didn’t get a triple-double since I’ve been here,” Oats said. “For him to do it is pretty big-time.” 

Guard Davin Cosby Jr. hit four 3-pointers in the second half, including two back-to-back, to seal the game for Alabama in the clutch. Cosby attempted 10 total shots from beyond the arc, making five of them. 

Cosby hasn’t seen many minutes this season, but since Wrightsell’s injury, the freshman has been given more opportunities to step up for Oats’ squad.    

“His attitude all season has been A-plus,” Estrada said of Cosby. “He was never jealous, complaining, or anything like that. … He always practices hard. He goes hard every drill. I’m happy for him.” 

Guard Rylan Griffen also stepped up, scoring all 14 of his points in the second half. 

Alabama went 9-17 from long range in the half, after shooting just 6-20 in the first half.  

On top of the improved offensive effort, the Crimson Tide would collectively step up on the boards and on the defensive side of the ball.  

After getting outrebounded 23-16 in the first half, Alabama finished with a 36-31 rebounding advantage, with 14 of those coming on the offensive end, doubling Ole Miss’ number of O-boards.  

Alabama now looks ahead to arguably its biggest game of the season on Saturday, when it will host the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers in a tiebreaker battle for the top seed in the SEC. 

“Tennessee is a better offensive team, so we’re going to have to be much better,” Oats said. “If we do get down, we can get some stops, and our offense can get us back in any game.” 

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT. ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be live from Coleman Coliseum starting at 11 a.m. CT. 

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