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Ole Miss falls at Alabama with NCAA Tournament hopes fading

Ole Miss’ NCAA Tournament hopes were hanging by a thread.

It may have snapped Wednesday night.

The Rebels’ offense never got going against one of the Southeastern Conference’s stingiest defenses in a 70-55 loss to Alabama at Coleman Coliseum. Ole Miss was held to its second-lowest point total in league play (47 against Georgia on Jan. 11) after averaging 86 points in its previous five games.

With a 1-8 record against top-50 RPI teams, Ole Miss (18-12, 9-8 SEC) likely needed to couple wins in its final two games with a deep run in next week’s SEC Tournament to make a serious case for an NCAA at-large bid. Instead, the Rebels dropped to 4-12 against the RPI top 100 with the loss to the Crimson Tide (17-12, 10-7) and will in all likelihood have to earn the league’s automatic bid by winning the tournament championship if they want to avoid missing out on the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

Ole Miss will wrap up the regular season Saturday at home against South Carolina. Tip is set for 7:30 p.m.

Freshman Breein Tyree led Ole Miss with 14 points. Terence Davis added 12 points while Sebastian Saiz had 10 points for the Rebels, who shot 31.1 percent (19 of 61) from the field and a chilly 19 percent (4 of 21) from the 3-point line against an Alabama team allowing the second-fewest points in the league.

Alabama pushed a four-point halftime lead to double figures early in the second half, but the Rebels got within five on a 3-pointer from Tyree with 7:39 left. But Ole Miss missed 10 of its final 12 shots from the field and went the final 3:35 without a basket as the Crimson Tide extended their lead to as many as 17.

Alabama’s Dazon Ingram led all scorers with 22 points while Braxton Key had 19 points. The duo combined to make 16 of their 21 shots from the floor, scoring 28 of their points in the second half.