The Rebels were outshot, outrebounded, and outblocked on Saturday night against Georgia. They were able to overcome all of that to defeat the Bulldogs 84-74 in overtime.
Georgia shot 48.3 percent from the field compared to just 38.1 percent by Ole Miss. Seeing as the Bulldogs are one of the SEC’s premier defensive teams, it was no surprise to see Ole Miss held to such a low mark but it was shocking to see them score at such a high rate. On top of the shooting percentage, UGA slaughtered the Rebels on the glass 39-22 led by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope with 12. Not to mention the 5-1 advantage in the blocks category.
Despite the domination in a few key areas, Georgia trailed Ole Miss in the two fundamental categories: free throws and turnovers. Georgia turned the ball over 18 times compared to just 6 for Ole Miss. That number is astounding, especially considering just 1 of those came from the point guards Jarvis Summers and Derrick Millinghaus. Andy Kennedy actually gave Millinghaus the start in leu of Summers in order to give his team an energetic boost. The freshman played sparingly after that, recording 0 points and 2 assists in 11 minutes. Summers on the other hand, had 12 points and 4 assists off the bench.
The free throw differential was enormous in changing the course of the game. Georgia took just 19 free throws and made 13 of them. Ole Miss on the other hand shot 30-36, including a sparkling 14-14 from Marshall Henderson. At one point late in the second half, Henderson went on a 10-0 run, recording all 10 on foul shots.
Like the rest of the Rebels, Henderson had an off-night shooting the basketball. The SEC’s leading scorer finished with 25 points, but was 5-13 from the field and 1-7 from three. Henderson usually sees a vast majority of the minutes, but saw just 25 of the 45 minutes due to foul trouble early in the first half.
Murphy Holloway added 14 points, but continued his struggles on the glass. The SEC’s leading rebounder had just 5 rebounds and has not finished with double-figure rebounds since he had 11 at Auburn on Jan. 26. Reginald Buckner played another quality game for Ole Miss and 10 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out in overtime.
Nick Williams was also inserted into the starting lineup and wound up with 9 points on 3-8 shooting. Snoop White had 12 points off the bench including a critical three-point-play in overtime that regained the lead. Both players have proven to be productive when substituted intermittently.
Caldwell-Pope proved again why he is one of the best players in the conference. His 19 points and 12 rebounds were both team-highs. Kenny Gaines had 13 points off the bench before becoming one of four Bulldogs who fouled out. Donte Williams also had a nice showing with 10 points and 6 rebounds and point guard Vincent Williams finished with 8 points and 7 assists.
There is gripe in the Georgia camp about the way the game was officiated. Some of that is justified, such as the Henderson flop that became a flagrant foul on Gaines. Other flack is not, like the call for a foul on the final possession of regulation that saw Donte Williams miss a contested tip. The way the game played out for the Rebels in the first half, the no-call showed consistency and balance.
Georgia (12-13, 6-6) finds themselves in a three-way tie for seventh after having a chance to be in a tie for fourth with a win. They have now lost two in a row after catching fire on a five-game win streak. The Dawgs hope to return to their winning ways when they travel to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas (16-9, 7-5) on Thursday at 6 p.m. CT.
Ole Miss (19-6, 8-4) got a much needed win and find themselves in a tie for third in the conference, a game behind Alabama. The win gave Kennedy a share for the all-time wins lead in Ole Miss history with 144. The Rebels return to action Wednesday when they head to Columbia to face the struggling Gamecocks (12-13, 2-10) at 7 p.m. local time.