Bama routs Ole Miss

Published 5:35 pm Saturday, February 28, 2009

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Alabama reserve guard Anthony Brock was not supposed to show up for Saturday’s game against Mississippi. He had been excused to stay home with his family in Arkansas following the death of his grandmother on Thursday morning.

“I decided last night that I had to play for my grandmother and I called (Alabama) coach (Phillip) Pearson and told him I’d meet them in Oxford for the game,” Brock said. “I got here and I can’t explain it. I just felt really good coming into this game.”

Brock came off the bench to score 17 points as Alabama snapped an 18-game SEC road losing streak with a 90-69 victory.

Brock, who earned All-American honors last season at Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Mississippi, was the decisive figure in a 23-7 spurt in the final eight minutes of the first half. He connected on four 3-point shots and added a steal and an assist that led to a dunk.

Alabama led 49-33 at halftime and Ole Miss never got closer than 13 points in the second half. The win was the third straight for the Crimson Tide (16-12, 6-8) and was Alabama’s first SEC road win since 2007 over LSU.

“I took Anthony to the airport Thursday and told him, ‘If you think you can make it, fine. Just see what happens,'” Pearson said. “He’s a good young man and obviously, it’s a day that he won’t forget.”

The Crimson Tide placed four other players in double figures, as Mikhail Torrance scored 14, Justin Knox had 12, Senario Hillman had 11 and Alonzo Gee added 10 points and eight rebounds.

Brock, who made 6 of 8 from the field and 5 of 6 from 3-point range, also had four steals and two assists.

Ole Miss (15-13, 6-8), which lost at home for only the sixth time in the last 50 outings, was led by Terrico White with 20 points. David Huertas and Zach Graham added 11 points apiece.

The Rebels shot 44.1 percent from the field (26 of 59), but struggled at the free-throw line, hitting only 9 of 19.

“I still thought the key was rebounding,” said Pearson, whose team had a 43-31 advantage on the boards. “Ole Miss is at the top or close to the top in every rebounding category and I felt like we did a really good job there.”

Alabama shot 29 of 62 from the field (46.8 percent), including 10 of 21 from 3-point range. The Crimson Tide, who led by as many as 30 points in the second half, finished 22 of 28 from the free-throw line, effectively ending any comeback hopes the Rebels had.

“I didn’t see it coming,” said Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy. “I thought we were a step slow early and Alabama made us pay. Those are things you just can’t accept this late in the year.”