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Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 12:34 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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Mississippi 76, (13) Alabama 57
ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Alabama Crimson Tide
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OLE MISS REBELS
Ole Miss Rebels
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OXFORD, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Alabama's annual trip to Tad Smith Coliseum remains a disaster.

Aaron Harper scored a career-high 28 points as Mississippi cruised to a 76-57 Southeastern Conference rout of the 13th-ranked Crimson Tide.

Alabama (12-4, 2-3 SEC West) lost its sixth straight visit to Mississippi, including the last four by an average of 21 points. With SEC Player of the Year Erwin Dudley struggling, the Crimson Tide were flat once again.

"We're not playing near as well as we think we can," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "Everybody's getting down on us and we have to fight back. I believe in our guys and we just have to come together."

While Alabama can't win at Ole Miss, the Rebels have lost their last four trips to Tuscaloosa.

"I don't know what it is," Rebels coach Rod Barnes said. "Alabama has got a great basketball team and Mark deserves a lot of credit for the job he's done. We had a great crowd on a Tuesday night with a national television broadcast."

Harper scored 16 points in the first half, including a basket that opened up a 32-26 lead at intermission. The Rebels (11-4, 2-2) got 3-pointers by Kendrick Fox and David Sanders for their first double-digit lead at 45-33 with 15:47 remaining.

The Tide got a basket by Mississippi native Mo Williams to cut the deficit to 56-47 with just over eight minutes left. Harper answered with a pair of 3-pointers to start an 11-0 spurt that opened up a 20-point cushion with 4:23 left.

"I have to give my teammates credit," Harper said. "They kept feeding me the ball, then they would give me enough time to find the open shot. They helped me a lot."

Sanders and Justin Reed each netted 15 points for Ole Miss, which opened a three-game homestand. The Rebels are 9-1 at home.

Alabama fell to 0-4 on the road, including all three losses in SEC play.

Ole Miss heated up in the second half, shooting 62.5 percent (15-of-24). Harper made 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and added nine rebounds.

"He has been doing this since he was 10 years old," said Reed, a high school teammate of Harper's. "We grew up together, so I have been watching him do this all my life."

The Crimson Tide shot 41 percent (23-of-56), but got an uneven performance from Williams, who made 4-of-11 shots for nine points. Dudley finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds, but Reed limited his touches inside.

"We should be very confident on the road, but our shots haven't been falling," Dudley said. "We had mistakes and they capitalized on them and jumped out to a big lead."

Derrick Allen was fouled on a layup with 13:14 remaining for a 52-38 advantage. It was Dudley's third foul and it sent him to the bench for a lecture from Gottfried.

The Tide made just 5-of-21 attempts from beyond the arc, including 2-of-13 in the second half in a desperate attempt to catch up.

The Rebels handed out 21 assists on 27 baskets as Sanders had eight and Trey Pearson added seven. Williams had just two assists and five turnovers.

"We did a good job with our focus and our kids really deserve the credit for what they did tonight," Barnes said. "It seems like we're getting closer to where we want to be."


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