OXFORD, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Mississippi added a significant win to its NCAA Tournament resume, rolling over Southeastern Conference champion Alabama, 84-56.
David Sanders had a career-high 23 points for Mississippi (20-9, 9-7 SEC West), which was considered a bubble team before winning for the third time in its last seven games.
Alabama (24-6, 12-4) already had locked up its first regular-season SEC title since 1987, making this matchup relatively meaningless.
Always dangerous at home, Ole Miss used a suffocating defense and 3-point attack to jump to a 22-4 lead, then ended the first half on an 11-0 run for a 42-20 cushion.
The Rebels led comfortably throughout the second half and cruised to a win in their regular-season finale, one that may assure them a spot in the 65-team NCAA Tournament field.
"The only thing at stake today was to win the game," said coach Rod Barnes, who was more interested in sending senior point guard Jason Harrison out a winner in his home finale.
The win also was Ole Miss' second in three weeks over the sixth-ranked team in the country, having pounded SEC rival Florida, 68-51, here on February 16.
"We worked hard to win this game," said Harrison, who had some 80 family members at the game. "And hopefully, it opened some eyes around the country." Ole Miss still can make a statement in the SEC tournament. It will be the third seed in the West Division and play South Carolina when the tournament gets under way Thursday at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
"We needed some momentum going into the SEC tournament," Harrison said. "And I think we got that today." One of the two top seeds as it seeks its first SEC tournament title since 1991, Alabama will play either Arkansas or Tennessee on Friday and is almost guaranteed its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1995.
The Rebels didn't look like a tournament team Saturday, committing 26 turnovers and matching a season low in points en route to their worst loss since a 105-71 setback here last season.
"We came in and dropped the ball today while they were fired up for Senior Day," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We hurt ourselves coming in with a little cockiness, and that's how we won the SEC." The Crimson Tide likely squandered any chance at a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ole Miss, which won all eight of its SEC games at Tad Smith Coliseum this season and went 13-1 overall, made consecutive 3-pointers to start the game and never looked back.
The Rebels opened the day with eight minutes of near-flawless play and led, 22-4. The Crimson Tide fought within 31-20, but Ole Miss grabbed control over the final 2:24 of the half.
Harrison started the 11-0 run with a 3-pointer and added another with 56 seconds to play. Justin Reed capped the flurry with a jumper at the buzzer as the Rebels skipped into their locker room with a comfortable lead.
The Crimson Tide helped them, committing 14 turnovers in the first half, including one on each of their final five possessions.
Ole Miss hit 7-of-12 from behind the arc in the first half and finished the game 10-of-19.
Aaron Harper scored 16 points, Harrison added 15 and Reed chipped in 12 for the Rebels, who shot 55 percent from the field (29-of-53) and had only 11 turnovers.
The 5-5 Harrison, one of the most popular players in school history, played 31 minutes in his final game at Tad Smith Coliseum.
"He is proof that if you work hard and believe in what you are doing, then you can be successful in life," Barnes said. "He's a great player and a great person. He is Ole Miss basketball." Freshman Maurice Williams and Antoine Pettway scored 14 points apiece for Alabama, which shot 41 percent (18-of-44), going 5-of-17 from 3-point range.
The Crimson Tide trailed by at least 20 points throughout the second half.
"We just have to put this game behind," Williams said. "We need to get in the mind-frame to never give up because we plan to make a deep run in the tournament." .