OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - The smiles returned to the faces of the Mississippi Rebels Wednesday night and as far as coach Andy Kennedy was concerned, it could not have come at a better time.
Ole Miss (17-11, 8-7) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 79-67 win over Alabama, moving into a tie for fourth place in the Southeastern Conference standings. The Rebels did it with a balanced effort, led by Jarvis Summers with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds.
“We just wanted to win,” Kennedy said. “Looking at the postseason scenarios and the standings can drive you crazy. What we can do is prepare for Texas A&M; next and try to keep winning.”
Martavious Newby came off the bench to score 15 points, grab a game-high 10 rebounds and provide what Kennedy called, “the energy component we’ve been looking for. He was all over the floor and was the MVP of this game.”
Marshall Henderson scored 13 points and set an SEC record for consecutive games with a 3-point shot at 61. Former Arkansas guard Pat Bradley previously held the record.
“It’s an honor,” said Henderson, who broke the record on his first attempt from the field. “But, when you shoot as many 3s as I do, records are bound to fall.”
Aaron Jones added 12 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot. The Rebels shot 26 of 31 from the free-throw line and outrebounded Alabama 42-24 to preserve a 43-28 halftime lead.
Shannon Hale led Alabama (11-17, 5-10) with 27 points and nine rebounds as the Crimson Tide fell to 0-13 on the road. Trevor Releford scored 16 points, 14 in the second half, and Levi Randolph added 13.
“Newby really hurt us and he got 10 rebounds,” Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. “Offensive rebounds and turnovers built their lead. We went to six guys that battled to get it back to six points and give us a chance. But, you’ve got to give Ole Miss credit. They made the crucial plays to win it.”
Ole Miss used a 16-5 run midway through the first half to build a commanding 26-13 lead. Summers connected on five free throws, two assists and a short jumper to highlight what proved to be the game’s decisive surge.
The Crimson Tide closed within 64-58 on a Releford basket with 6:10 remaining, but the Rebels quickly answered with a 7-1 spurt that settled the issue. Alabama managed only three baskets the rest of the way.
“Yes it was,” said Newby when asked if it was his best performance of the season. “I’ve always expected to play like that. I’ve tried to work hard and do the little things right and all you can do after that is hustle.”
The Crimson Tide shot 20 of 48 (41.7 percent) from the field and 21 of 28 (75 percent) from the free-throw line. Hale was 7 of 12 from the field and 10 of 11 from the line and kept Alabama within striking distance.
Ole Miss was 24 of 58 (41.4 percent) from the field, but struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 5 of 21 (23.8 percent). The Rebels more than compensated by the strong showing on the boards and from the charity stripe.