By David Brandt
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Veteran Murphy Holloway looked like a proud dad when talking about his team in the aftermath of Tuesday's 87-83 victory over Alabama.
The fifth-year Rebel was celebrating senior night at Tad Smith Coliseum, but he was more interested in heaping praise on the underclassmen.
"We can't do it without them," Holloway said. "I'm proud of them. I felt like they played for us."
Junior Marshall Henderson scored a game-high 24 points, sophomore LaDarius White added 17 and the Rebels kept their NCAA at-large hopes alive with a victory over the Tide. Ole Miss led for nearly the entire game — mostly by double digits — until Alabama made a furious late run to make things interesting.
Ole Miss (22-8, 11-6 Southeastern Conference) won eight of nine home games in conference play. The Rebels have one more regular-season game on the road against LSU on Saturday.
Henderson bounced back after a terrible shooting performance on Saturday in a loss to Mississippi State. The 6-foot-2 guard made 6 of 13 shots from the field and 9 of 11 free throws. Jarvis Summers added 14 points for Ole Miss.
The Rebels were efficient on offense, making 27 of 49 shots (55.1 percent) from the field, 7 of 15 (46.7 percent) from 3-point range and 26 of 35 (74.3 percent) from the free-throw line. They needed all those buckets against an Alabama team that scored a season-high in regulation.
"Offensively we're so much better in this building," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "Our last three games we've had 88, 82 and 87 points (in Tad Smith Coliseum) and that 87 comes against the best defensive team in the SEC."
Alabama (19-11, 11-6) had a huge 41-25 rebounding advantage but allowed Ole Miss to get several easy looks. Trevor Lacey led the Tide with 19 points while Nick Jacobs added 18.
"I thought Ole Miss played really good basketball tonight," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "They came out and set the tone on defense early."
Both teams came into the game with NCAA resumes that put them squarely on the bubble. They are also fighting for spots among the top four teams in the SEC, which would guarantee a first-round bye in the league tournament next week.
Ole Miss had lost six out of 10 coming into Tuesday's game — including that disastrous loss to last-place Mississippi State on Saturday — but played inspired basketball from the opening tip. Guard Nick Williams and forwards Reginald Buckner and Holloway — the team's three seniors — combined to score 21 points.
But it was the younger guys who provided the biggest plays. The Rebels pushed out to an early 24-10 lead on a 3-pointer by freshman Derrick Millinghaus and never relinquished control on the way to a 37-25 halftime advantage.
White made 5 of 9 shots from the field and 6 of 6 free throws. He also added four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Alabama didn't make things interesting until the final minutes, when the Tide made six out of seven 3-pointers, capped by Lacey's with 8 seconds left to pull the Tide within 86-83. It was a stunning long-range shooting spree from a team that was hitting just 32.2 percent of its 3-pointers coming into the game.
The Tide made 12 of 21 (57.1 percent) from 3-point range in the loss.
"It was spooky," Holloway said with a grin. "But at least we got the win."
Ole Miss made most of its free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
Alabama was hurt by 17 turnovers, including 14 in the first half. Trevor Releford scored 16 points and Rodney Cooper added 12.