TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- No one wants to start their SEC schedule 0-1. In Tuesday’s 82-64 win over Ole Miss, Nate Oats’ Alabama basketball team avoided that quandary with help from a pair of seniors who did not start the game. John Petty scored 13 and Alex Reese added 10. Jahvon Quinerly led all scorers with 24, while Romello White had 20 to lead Ole Miss in a losing effort.

Alabama recorded its 800th SEC win in history. It wasn’t a thing of beauty, as 50 fouls were called and many free throws were missed. However, it’s an SEC win.

Oats said, “It was a good win. Ole Miss was top ten in the country in defensive efficiency. I thought our guys played hard and moved the ball well. I liked the energy and JP [Petty] gave us a park. We got great minutes from everybody throughout the game.

“We’re seeing improvements made on the defensive end and the offense is starting to come.”

Added Quinerly, “I feel like we’re coming together as a team, and we’re starting to get stops on the defensive end.

“We spread the ball out and broke them down when we were on offense.”

Herbert Jones picked up two fouls in the game’s first 34 seconds. Add to that Petty and James Rojas both coming off the bench due to Oats’ decision and some subs had to come through for Alabama.

Petty entered at the first half’s 16:23 mark. At the 14:50 mark he drove for a hoop to give Alabama a 12-5 lead. Rojas checked in with 8:51 left in the first half. By intermission, Oats had already used 11 of his 12 healthy scholarship players.

.At the half, Alabama led the Rebels 43-34.

Petty said, “We had a great few days of preparation. It felt great to be back out there with the guys. We attacked practices hard and I think it paid off tonight.”

The second half saw Alabama build a 12-point lead that tied its largest to that point but Ole Miss clawed back to cut it to 49-43 at the 15:06 mark

With 10:54 left, Alabama upped that lead to 14 at 59-45 on a Quinerly old fashioned 3-point play.

Unable to stand prosperity, Bama let the Rebs cut the margin to 63-55, forcing an Oats time out with 7:58 to go.

Alabama then closed the game with a run of 19-9 to ice the win.

Jones fouled out with 6:04 left with three points. “That speaks volumes for what our other guys did,” Oats said. “I thought Alex Reese was great. He was huge for us. Reese has completely turned everything around. He’s what you’re looking for as a senior… and as a leader.”

Oats cleared the bench with 70 seconds left and that same Tide bench then erupted when Tyler Barnes fed fellow walk-on Britton Johnson for a corner 3 to close out the scoring.

Alabama is now 6-3, 1-0 in the SEC. Ole Miss fell to 5-2, 0-2.

Next up for the Crimson Tide is a Saturday trip to Knoxville to take on SEC projected champion Tennessee. Tip time is set for 5 p.m. and you can hear the game on 95.3 The Bear.

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