TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama men’s basketball team will begin its final five-game stretch of the regular season when it travels to take on the Ole Miss Rebels on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network. It will be first of back-to-back games in the state of Mississippi, as the Crimson Tide will play against the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss., on Tuesday night (8 p.m. CT on SEC Network).
Alabama is looking to rebound from a narrow 74-68 home defeat to Texas A&M on Wednesday night. The Tide led for 17 minutes in the second half alone before the Aggies went on a late 12-0 run to turn a six-point deficit into a six-point lead with 58 seconds left. From there, Texas A&M hit its free throws to help secure the victory.
It was the Tide’s sixth straight contest that was decided by six points or less, going 2-4 in those games. The four losses over the stretch have been by a combined 15 points.
Alabama enters Saturday’s contest ranked No. 2 in the nation (as of 2/21) in scoring offense at 82.6 points per game, while also ranking second nationally in three-point field goals made per game at 11.0. Furthermore, Alabama ranks No. 3 in the nation in threes attempted (810) and is No. 4 in three made (285) – both of which are single-season program records.
- Saturday’s game will be televised on SEC Network with Mike Morgan (play-by-play) and Pat Bradley (analyst) on the call.
- The radio broadcast can be heard on the Crimson Tide Sports Network with Chris Stewart (play-by-play), Bryan Passink (analyst) and Roger Hoover (sideline) on the call. The pregame show will begin one hour prior to tipoff.
Notes You Need To Know
- Alabama enters the contest vs. Ole Miss owning the No. 45 overall NET Ranking (as of 2/21) and the No. 11 overall strength of schedule. The Crimson Tide leads all SEC teams in strength of schedule, while its NET Ranking is fifth-best in the league.
- Over its past three games, Alabama has combined to make 51 three-pointers in 138 attempts (37.0 percent) which average out to 17 makes and 46 attempts per game over the stretch. The Tide broke the single-game SEC record for threes made (22) and attempted (59) in an overtime loss at then-No. 11 Auburn, while also setting the program record for threes made and attempted in a season, topping the 259 made threes in 763 attempts across its 33 games during the 2015-16 campaign. The Crimson Tide comes into its 27th game of the year having knocked down 285-of-810 treys this year.
- Despite setting a number of three-point records this season, Alabama is a team to relies heavily on getting to the free throw line. Entering Saturday’s contest, the Crimson Tide has made 410-of-584 free throws, which ranks 45th and 37th in the nation, respectively, for foul shots made and attempted. Alabama has scored 19.1 percent of its total points on the season at the charity stripe and 39.8 percent from beyond the arc.
- Sophomore Kira Lewis Jr., who is averaging 17.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.0 assists on the season, is the only player in the SEC, one of three in power 5 programs and one of only eight around the nation to average at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.
- Kira Lewis Jr. was named the Southeastern Conference’s Player of the Week and guard Jaden Shackelford earned the league’s Freshman of the Week, which were both announced by the conference office on Feb. 17. They became the first Alabama men’s basketball duo to sweep the league’s weekly awards dating back to the 1990-91 season when the SEC began what was then called the Rookie of the Week award. Shackelford was earned the USBWA National Freshman of the Week for his performances in games against No. 11 Auburn and No. 25 LSU.
- Junior forward Herbert Jones showed why he is one of the most important players on the Crimson Tide’s roster. Playing with his left wrist in a heavily bandaged splint vs. then-No. 25 LSU on Feb. 15, Jones was heroic in pulling down a career-best 17 rebounds to go along with six points, three assists and a pair of steals and charges. Jones, a left-hander, also drained a pair of one-handed free throws with his right hand in the game’s final minute to help secure the win.
- In the five games which Jones has missed with injuries, Alabama has a record of 2-3 including a one-point loss to Penn in the season opener, a four-point loss to Arkansas and a one-point loss to Tennessee. A candidate for the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, Jones leads Alabama in Hard Hat points (485.5), charges (21) and deflections (66) despite missing the aforementioned games. He has led the Tide in charges taken for each of the previous two seasons, which includes a school record 23 as a freshman. He has now accounted for 61 charges over his 91 career games played at Alabama.
- Three UA players average double digits, while six average 8.0 ppg or better on the year to lead the Alabama offense. Sophomore Kira Lewis Jr. (17.5 ppg) tops the team and ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring average, while junior John Petty Jr. (15.0 ppg) ranks second on the squad and 11th in the league. Combined the duo produces the second-highest combined points by any two players on the same team in the SEC (32.5 ppg).
- Lewis, a two-time SEC Player of the Week (1/27 & 2/17), leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally in minutes per game (37.39), while also leading UA and ranking among the league leaders in scoring, assists (3rd – 5.0 apg) and steals (t2nd – 1.9 spg). A first-team All-SEC preseason honoree, he also tops the team in field goals made (165) and attempted (368), and is shooting 44.8 percent from the field, 34.1 percent from beyond the arc and 79.4 percent from the charity stripe.
- Petty is one of the top three-point shooters in the nation. He ranks second in the SEC in three-point field goal percentage (43.9 percent, 79-of-180) and in threes made per game (3.0), while ranking 11th and 22nd nationally in the categories, respectively. Additionally, he leads the squad and is tied for eighth in the conference in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and tops UA in threes made and attempted while ranking second in steals (1.2 spg) and minutes (34.4 mpg) per game.
- Freshman Jaden Shackelford, who was named the USBWA National Freshman of the Week on Feb. 18, also averages in double figures at 14.7 ppg and ranks third in the league three-point percentage (.357) and threes made per game (2.7). He leads the team in threes attempted, as 199 of his 293 field goal attempts – approximately 67 percent – have come from beyond the three-point line. Juniors Alex Reese (9.4 ppg) and Herbert Jones (8.9 ppg) both are averaging near double digits as well.
- Jones, who has been sidelined multiple games and is currently seeing limited action despite a fractured left wrist, is the team’s best defender. He leads the squad in Blue Collar Points (485.5), Hard Hat Awards (12), charges taken (21) and deflections (66). Graduate senior Beetle Bolden (8.1 ppg), who has missed four games throughout the year with a variety of ailments, also contribute on the offensive end and ranks fourth on the squad in three-point field goal percentage (.340).
- As a team, Alabama has outscored the opposition by +3.8 points (82.6-78.8) and is shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from beyond the arc and 70.2 percent from the foul line. The Tide averages 40.2 rebounds per game which ranks second in the SEC and is 15th-best in the nation.
- Through its 13 SEC contests, Alabama leads the league in scoring offense (82.8), threes made per game (11.1) and defensive rebounds (28.4). Additionally, the Crimson Tide ranks among the top five teams in league play in rebounding offense (3rd – 40.0), assists (t2nd – 14.3), assist/turnover ratio (3rd – 1.0), blocked shots (4th – 4.6), three-point field goal percentage (4th – .337), offensive rebounding (4th – 11.8), scoring margin (5th – +2.6) and three field goal percentage defense (5th – .298).
About Ole Miss
- The Rebels come into Saturday night’s contest sporting a 13-13 overall record on the season and a 4-9 mark in league play following a narrow 71-68 defeat at Missouri last Tuesday night. After beginning the year with a 9-3 record across its first 12 games, Ole Miss has since gone 4-10 to result in its .500 record on the year. However, six of the Rebels’ last nine losses by been by 10 or fewer points with five of those coming down to two or fewer possessions.
- Junior guard Breein Tyree leads three players in double figures, averaging 20.3 points per game which ranks second-best in the SEC. He tops the squad in field goals made (168) and attempted (389), three-point field goal percentage (.375) and threes made (57) and attempted (152). Tyree also leads the Rebels in free throw percentage (.792) making 114-of-144 from the charity stripe this season.
- Junior guard Devontae Shuler and sophomore forward Blake Hinson also average in double figures at 11.2 and 10.3 points a game, respectively. Shuler also tops Ole Miss in assists (3.5 apg) and steals (1.8 spg), while ranking second in three-point shooting (.340) and minutes a game (33.6).
- As a team, Ole Miss is outscoring the opposition by 2.2 points per game (69.4-67.2) but has a narrow disadvantage on the boards, getting outrebounded by an average of -0.5 (34.3-34.8) for the year. The Rebels are shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from beyond the arc while allowing the opposition to shoot 41.8 percent from the field and 28.5 percent from three.
- Head coach Kermit Davis is in his second season at the helm of the Ole Miss program and owns a 33-26 (.559) mark in Oxford. The 2019 SEC Coach of the Year, who is now in his 25th year as a head coach, has compiled a record of 502-289 (.635).
Alabama-Ole Miss – Series Notes
- Saturday’s game will mark the 181st meeting on the hardwood in series history and the only meeting between the two schools during the regular season. The Tide has won two straight in the series, capturing a 74-53 victory over Ole Miss back on Jan. 22, 2019 inside Coleman Coliseum and later secured a 62-57 win in the SEC Tournament first round on March 14, 2019.
- With back-to-back wins, the Crimson Tide has improved to a 122-58 lead in the all-time series. The 180 all-time games ranks as the third-most games UA has played against any one opponent in program history, while the 121 victories by the Tide is the second-most victories against an opponent in program lore.
- Ole Miss is one of three teams, along with Mississippi State (126) and LSU (109), that UA has won 100 or more games against.
- Alabama will make its third appearance in the Pavilion at Ole Miss. The Tide opened the arena back on Jan. 7, 2015, falling by a final score of 74-66 and also fell in its last trip to Oxford, Miss., 78-66, on Jan. 23, 2017.
- The Tide has lost seven consecutive games in Oxford, Miss., with its last win coming on Feb. 28, 2009. Alabama had lost its last five games in the Tad Smith Coliseum before losing each of its two games in The Pavilion. The Rebels own an all-time lead of 43-38 in games played against Alabama in Oxford.
- The Crimson Tide has won four of the last five games in the series entering Saturday’s showdown. Prior to Alabama’s recent run over the past five games, Ole Miss had beaten the Tide in five of the previous six contests.
- The series began during the 1920-21 campaign.