Ole Miss 52

(14-17, 4-12 SEC)

(21) Alabama 69

(24-6, 12-4 SEC)

    1:00 PM ET, March 11, 2005

    Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia

    1 2 T
    MISS 21 3152
    #21ALA 27 4269

    Top Performers

    Ole Miss: T. Eddie 19 Pts, 7 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl

    Alabama: E. Shelton 26 Pts, 1 Stl

    Alabama shoots 13-of-25 from 3-point range

    ATLANTA (AP) -- Mark Gottfried should have yanked Earnest Shelton out of the game.

    Now, the Alabama coach has to share a spot with Shelton in the school record book.

    The senior guard made a career-high eight 3-pointers during a 26-point performance Friday that pushed the Crimson Tide (No. 19 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) to a 69-52 victory over Mississippi and into the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament.

    Shelton tied the tournament record for 3-pointers, joining three other players, and matched the school's co-record holders -- Gottfried and Alvin Lee. Gottfried now coaches the Crimson Tide (24-6).

    "I should have taken him out," Gottfried quipped.

    The Crimson Tide buried Ole Miss from beyond the arc, thwarting every comeback attempt with a long-range shot. Alabama was 13-of-25 on 3-pointers.

    No one was more accurate than Shelton, whose 8-of-11 performance eclipsed the seven 3s he had against Florida in last year's SEC tournament.

    "He kind of got in that zone," Gottfried said. "He looked at me a couple of times and wanted me to call the same plays for him. He wanted the ball."

    Alabama, which already seems assured of an NCAA bid, will meet Florida on Saturday. This is only the second time in a decade that the Crimson Tide has gotten as far as the semifinals of the conference tourney.

    Three years ago, Alabama lost to Mississippi State in the championship game.

    Ole Miss (14-17), which upset South Carolina in the opening round, stayed within range of Alabama most of the game. Tommie Eddie hit a jumper with 8:45 remaining to pull the Rebels to 48-43, but Ronald Steele answered with a 3 for the Tide.

    When Ed Glass sank a couple of free throws to shrink Alabama's lead to 51-45, Shelton responded by swishing another shot from outside the arc. He finished off the Rebels with his seventh trey, giving the Tide a 61-47 cushion with three minutes to go, and made his last one with 31 seconds to go.

    "I put up a couple of them that when they left my hand, I knew they were going in," Shelton said.

    Alabama's victory was no surprise. The Crimson Tide swept the regular-season series between the Western Division rivals, winning 66-58 on the road and routing the Rebels in Tuscaloosa, 71-45.

    Ole Miss had no chance the way Shelton was shooting.

    "He just made shots," said Rebels coach Rod Barnes, who got a four-year contract extension just before the tournament. "He made shots over us. He had a great day. That's what you expect from great players."

    Shelton got in a rhythm right from the start, hitting four 3-pointers in the first half.

    "He had some open looks early," Barnes said. "Sometimes, he just propelled over the top of us and made shots. There's not much you can do about that."

    The teams swapped the lead seven times in the first half before Alabama gained the upper hand in the final three minutes. Naturally, it was Shelton doing the damage with a 3-pointer, putting the Tide ahead 25-21.

    "He just had a great game," Mississippi's Kendrick Fox said. "He was making us pay. Everything he threw up went in."

    Shelton then came up with a steal, leading to a layup for Justin Jonus. Kennedy Winston sent Alabama off the court with a 27-21 halftime lead by drawing a charge from Eddie with 0.9 seconds remaining.

    Eddie led the Rebels with 19 points and Glass added 14, but none of their teammates had more than six.

    Alabama bounced back from a poor-shooting first half to hit 57 percent (13-of-23) over the final 20 minutes. Chuck Davis had 15 points and Jean Felix 10, while Steele doled out seven assists.

    "We won the game when we didn't play very well," Gottfried said, "and that's the sign of a good team."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 52 69
    FG Made-Attempted 19-48 (.396) 23-52 (.442)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-12 (.417) 13-25 (.520)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-10 (.900) 10-19 (.526)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 12 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 3 20

    2004-05 Season

    Jan 22, 2005 ALA 66, @MISS 58Recap
    Feb 12, 2005 @ALA 71, MISS 45Recap
    » Mar 11, 2005 @ALA 69, MISS 52Recap