Bench rescues Tide when it mattered most

Take a read over my game story from last night’s double-overtime thriller in Coleman Coliseum:

AP photo)

TUSCALOOSA — Cracking a smile in final moments of double overtime, Alabama coach Anthony Grant shot a glance at Andrew Steele. And he pointed.

The giggling junior earned it late Saturday night.

His loose ball scoop and shot clock-beating jumper with 31.5 seconds double overtime clinched Alabama’s heart-stopping 69-67 double-overtime win over Ole Miss. It capped a frantic end to a night when the Crimson Tide’s season seemed to hang in the balance following four losses in five games.

Steele said he saw three seconds on the shot clock when the ball was poked free from point guard Trevor Releford.

“He lost it, but he got in such great position, when I got it, it put me in great position to take a good shot,” Steele said.

Sophomore Charles Hankerson also rescued Alabama (15-7, 4-4 SEC) from life support in the second half when Ole Miss jumped ahead 41-34. He scored five straight and made one of Alabama’s three 3-pointers midway through the second half.

Grant said he was unsure if Hankerson would play at all Saturday after undergoing minor knee surgery Monday. He scored 10 points.

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