Mississippi 78, Alabama 49
DULUTH, Ga. (AP)—The matchup of the SEC’s best and worst teams in turnover ratio produced record results.
Mississippi set a Southeastern Conference tournament record with 25 steals and Alabama topped the previous tournament high mark by committing 42 turnovers as the Rebels rolled to a 78-49 victory over the Crimson Tide on Thursday night.
Armintie Price scored 26 points as Ole Miss (21-9) advanced to Friday’s quarterfinal game against Louisiana State.
Alabama (10-20) finished its season without an SEC win in the regular season or tournament.
From the start of the game, Ole Miss extended its defense, putting two or more defenders on the ball when possible.
The margin of victory would have been larger if not for poor free-throw shooting by the Rebels, who made only 12 of 27 attempts. Ole Miss committed 28 turnovers.
The Rebels, who led the SEC in the regular season with 13.4 steals per game and a plus-8.45 turnover ratio, forced 13 turnovers in the first eight minutes.
Alabama was last in the league with its minus-5.86 turnover ratio while averaging 24 turnovers per game. It saved its worst for last, setting a season high in giveaways.
The previous high mark for turnovers in an SEC tournament game was 36 by Alabama against Tennessee in 1989. The old record for steals in a game was 20 by Tennessee—against both Florida and Auburn in the 1980 tournament.
Dedrea Magee, one of three freshman starters for Alabama, was the Tide’s only scorer in double figures with 15 points.
Ashley Awkward had 11 points and Shawn Goff added 10 for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss forced 40 turnovers in an 84-43 win over Alabama on Feb. 11, and it was ahead of that pace while forcing 23 turnovers in the first half Thursday night.
Alabama managed to stay close in the first 12 minutes before wearing down under the Rebels’ relentless defensive pressure.
A basket by Navonda Moore pulled Alabama to within four points at 18-14 with 8:30 left in the first half. Ole Miss then scored 14 straight points while outscoring Alabama 24-6 the rest of the half.
Price had 20 points in the first half.