OXFORD, Miss. (AP)Daniel Ortiz scored 22 points with a career-high six 3-pointers, Jacari Lane added a career-high 19 points and North Alabama beat Ole Miss 66-65 on Tuesday for the program’s first victory over an SEC opponent.
The North Alabama program entered with an 0-19 record against SEC teams, including five losses since becoming a Division I member. It was the first meeting between the teams since North Alabama changed its name in 1974 from Florence State University.
KJ Johnson was key for North Alabama (7-5) down the stretch, scoring six of his 11 points in the final four minutes and securing a defensive rebound in the closing seconds.
Johnson made an open baseline jumper with 49.2 seconds left for a 64-63 lead and after an Ole Miss make, he added a contested shot in the lane at 12.6 for another one-point advantage. On the Rebels’ next possession, Johnson grabbed a rebound and fell to the ground before dual possession was called with 2.8 seconds left.
North Alabama retained possession and Ortiz missed a free throw with 1.9 seconds left. Ole Miss did not have a timeout remaining, forcing Matthew Murrell into a heave that hit the back of the rim at the buzzer.
Murrell, ranked seventh in the SEC at 15.5 points per game, scored 16 points and Myles Burns had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Ole Miss (8-4). Daeshun Ruffin added 12 points.
Ole Miss begins a stretch of four straight games against ranked opponents when it opens SEC play at No. 8 Tennessee on Dec. 28.
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