February 27, 2014 1:04:31 AM
The Associated Press
OXFORD -- The smiles returned to the faces of the Mississippi Rebels Wednesday night and as far as coach Andy Kennedy was concerned, it could not have come at a better time.
Ole Miss (17-11, 8-7) snapped a four-game losing streak with a 79-67 win over Alabama, moving into a tie for fourth place in the Southeastern Conference standings. The Rebels did it with a balanced effort, led by Jarvis Summers with 20 points, five assists and four rebounds.
"We just wanted to win," Kennedy said. "Looking at the postseason scenarios and the standings can drive you crazy. What we can do is prepare for Texas A&M next and try to keep winning."
Martavious Newby came off the bench to score 15 points, grab a game-high 10 rebounds and provide what Kennedy called, "the energy component we've been looking for. He was all over the floor and was the MVP of this game."
Marshall Henderson scored 13 points and set an SEC record for consecutive games with a 3-point shot at 61. Former Arkansas guard Pat Bradley previously held the record.
"It's an honor," said Henderson, who broke the record on his first attempt from the field. "But, when you shoot as many 3s as I do, records are bound to fall."
Aaron Jones added 12 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot. The Rebels shot 26 of 31 from the free-throw line and outrebounded Alabama 42-24 to preserve a 43-28 halftime lead.
Shannon Hale led Alabama (11-17, 5-10) with 27 points and nine rebounds as the Crimson Tide fell to 0-13 on the road. Trevor Releford scored 16 points, 14 in the second half, and Levi Randolph added 13.
"Newby really hurt us and he got 10 rebounds," Alabama coach Anthony Grant said. "Offensive rebounds and turnovers built their lead. We went to six guys that battled to get it back to six points and give us a chance. But, you've got to give Ole Miss credit. They made the crucial plays to win it."
Ole Miss used a 16-5 run midway through the first half to build a commanding 26-13 lead. Summers connected on five free throws, two assists and a short jumper to highlight what proved to be the game's decisive surge.
The Crimson Tide closed within 64-58 on a Releford basket with 6:10 remaining, but the Rebels quickly answered with a 7-1 spurt that settled the issue. Alabama managed only three baskets the rest of the way.
"Yes it was," said Newby when asked if it was his best performance of the season. "I've always expected to play like that. I've tried to work hard and do the little things right and all you can do after that is hustle."
The Crimson Tide shot 20 of 48 (41.7 percent) from the field and 21 of 28 (75 percent) from the free-throw line. Hale was 7 of 12 from the field and 10 of 11 from the line and kept Alabama within striking distance.
Ole Miss was 24 of 58 (41.4 percent) from the field, but struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 5 of 21 (23.8 percent). The Rebels more than compensated by the strong showing on the boards and from the charity stripe.
Auburn 83, South Carolina 67: At Auburn, Ala., Chris Denson scored 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting to help Auburn beat South Carolina.
Allen Payne had 15 points and Tahj Shamsid-Deen added 14 for the Tigers (13-13, 5-10 Southeastern Conference) in a battle between two of the bottom three teams in the league standings. Auburn won both regular-season meetings.
The Gamecocks (10-18, 3-12) lost their third straight game despite getting 26 points from Brenton Williams. Williams made 5 of 9 3-pointers while Mindaugas Kacina scored 10 points.
Auburn made 25 of 48 shots (52.1 percent) to snap a two-game skid.
South Carolina fell behind by as much as 20 in the second half despite shooting 59.1 percent (13 of 22) after halftime.
The Gamecocks committed 20 turnovers but held a 36-25 advantage in rebounds, led by Michael Carrera's 13 boards.
The game turned into a foul-fest with 53 combined fouls and 60 free throw attempts. Auburn's Shamsid-Deen and Jordon Granger were also called for technicals in the second half.
The Gamecocks cut a 20-point Auburn lead in half late. Brian Steele hit a 3-pointer to bring South Carolina to within 75-65 with 3:16 left, but the Tigers then pulled away.
They made 25 of 35 free throws in the game.
Auburn's KT Harrell had an off night, making 2 of 8 shots and scoring 11 points, nearly eight below his season average. Shamsid-Deen and Dion Wade both hit three 3-pointers to help pick up some of his slack from the perimeter.
Outside of Williams, who scored 55 points in the two meetings, South Carolina made just 1 of 11 from 3-point range. Sindarius Thornwell was 2-of-13 shooting for four points, 10 below his average.
Shamsid-Deen hit three consecutive 3-pointers to push Auburn's 12-point halftime lead to 50-31 early in the second half.
Then he was called for a technical after a foul call. He went to the bench with four fouls and nearly 16 minutes to play and Auburn still up 18.
The Gamecocks cut the deficit to 53-42 within the next 75 seconds with a 10-3 run but couldn't get any closer until the final minutes.
LSU 68, Texas A&M 49: At Baton Rouge, La., Jarell Martin scored 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and LSU resumed its home-court dominance with a victory over Texas A&M.
Johnny O'Bryant III had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Andre Stringer added 11 points as LSU (17-10, 8-7 Southeastern Conference) won its seventh straight at home and improved to 13-2 in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
The Aggies (16-12, 7-8), who beat LSU in the teams' previous meeting in College Station, Texas, came into the game shooting a league-worst 40.7 percent in SEC games and fared even worse than that at LSU, shooting 30.8 percent (16 for 52).
Part of the Aggies' problem stemmed from the defensive play of 6-foot-8 LSU freshman Jordan Mickey , who blocked five shots.
Jordan Green led the Aggies with 12 points and Kourtney Roberson added nine points and eight rebounds.
Martin, a 6-9 freshman, made a season-high four 3-pointers on five attempts and also grabbed seven rebounds.
Anthony Hickey had eight assists to equal his career high which he set in an overtime loss at Kentucky just last Saturday.
LSU turned a six-point halftime lead into a double-digit advantage early in the second half thanks in large part to Martin, who scored nine straight LSU points on a 3, a jumper, two free throws and a fast-break layup, the last giving LSU a 43-31 lead with 11:54 to go.
Martin's Tiger teammates got back into the act with Stringer's 3-pointer and Shavon Coleman's layup to make it 48-33.
Texas A&M, meanwhile, was plagued by poor shooting. During the first 11 minutes of the second half, the Aggies made only 2 of 16 shots (12.5 percent), providing little indication they would be able to rally back from a 15-point hole in the final 10 minutes.
They never got closer than 13 the rest of the way.
The first half featured drastic momentum swings.
Antwan Space scored five early points, including a layup that gave A&M a 15-7 lead nearly 7 minutes into the game.
The Aggies then went 10 minutes without a single point, missing nine shots and turning the ball over three times during that stint.
LSU cashed in with a 21-0 run during which Stinger scored five of his points, first hitting a 3 and later a layup that capped the spurt and gave LSU a 28-15 lead.
Texas A&M finally broke its scoring draught on Alex Caruso's layup, and Dylan Johns' dunk capped a 9-2 run to close out the half and pull A&M to 30-24.
1. Southern Mississippi beats MSU in Pearl COLLEGE SPORTS
2. Blair has unique perspective on MSU-Washington matchup COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Mississippi players help MSU grow softball in state COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Tight ends could play bigger role for Mullen's Bulldogs COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Energized Bulldogs push on to Sweet 16 LOCAL COLUMNS