Ole Miss Men’s Basketball falls at No. 7 Alabama

Published 11:00 am Wednesday, January 4, 2023

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Taking on their second straight opponent ranked seventh in the country to open SEC play, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team was topped by No. 7 Alabama 84-62 in Coleman Coliseum on Tuesday night.

While the home team was first on the board, the Rebels (8-6, 0-2 SEC) led at the first timeout on the floor 8-7 highlighted by five points from Myles Burns. The Crimson Tide (12-2, 2-0 SEC) reclaimed the lead however, stepping out in front by 21 by the halftime buzzer. Despite four blocks in the first half, three from Jayveous McKinnis, Alabama shot 56.7% from the floor in the first 20-minute period. However, Ole Miss would lower that to 36.4% in the second.

After trailing 44-23 entering the second half, the Rebels were able to nearly double their offensive output to close out the game. Both Theo Akwuba and Daeshun Ruffin dropped nine of their points in the second half, as Akwuba contributed on the other end of the floor with four second-half blocks as well.

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With just over three minutes left in the game, Akwuba got his hand on a layup from Alabama to record his 200th block in his NCAA career. The transfer from Louisiana entered the game ranked 10th among active student-athletes across the nation, and now makes Ole Miss the only team in college basketball with a pair of teammates who have 200 career blocks paired with Jayveous McKinnis and his 248 swats.

Jaemyn Brakefield has now led the Rebels in scoring in both games to start their SEC schedule, as he narrowly recorded a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds. Ruffin came off the bench to score 13, dish out three assists, and add a block and steal defensively, while Akwuba just missed a double-double as well in his return to his home state with 11 points and eight boards.

Ole Miss remains on the road and travels to Starkville, Miss. to play in one of the biggest rivalries in college basketball when they face Mississippi State on Saturday, January 7 at 1 p.m. on CBS.