Murphy Holloway relished his last trip to his home state of South Carolina by coming through with a big game. The same can not be said about his Rebel teammates as the team drastically underperformed to fall to the hapless Gamecocks 63-62.
Ole Miss had a 62-56 lead with 5:05 left in the game, playing with momentum that appeared to be comfortable enough to cruise to a close-call victory. That was before the Rebels closed the game going 0-7 from the field, allowing the Gamecocks to claw their way to a win with as much fervor as an 11-year-old Calico.
Holloway did have a big game with 19 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, and a monster block. He’s been struggling as of late and hopefully his individual performance can propel him to regain the swagger that he appeared to lose during the Kentucky game.
Marshall Henderson was the topic of discussion for the Gamecock student section. His role as the visiting villain has reached new heights, but if he has another game like this one then nobody will care how eccentric he is. The junior finished 4-17 from the field and missed two critical shots late in the game. He will return to the friendly confines of Tad Smith Coliseum, a place where he will need to regain his touch if he is to try and salvage this season with a backdoor to the Big Dance.
Reginald Buckner played well on the defensive end by recording 4 blocks to go along with his 7 points and 5 rebounds. His problem was the same as it has been for years, foolish fouling that pulls one of the most important players off the court. If the Rebels are going to win, they will need Buckner on the floor, especially with the injuries to Cox and Jones.
Derrick Millinghaus finished with game with 11 points, but was just 4-14 from the field. Andy Kennedy has shown a lot of faith in the sparkplug point guard and he has seen a lot more minutes as of late. The coach will have to take the good with the bad as he became frustrated with the freshman’s shot selection. His counterpart at point guard, Jarvis Summers, was held scoreless and had just 3 assists to 2 turnovers.
Snoop White had 5 points and penetrated the defense well. The problem was he could not finish and seemed to be out of control when he got into the paint. Nick Williams had 5 points in the starting role.
The Gamecocks were led by point guard Eric Smith who had 12 points and 5 assists. Smith also had the biggest bucket of the game, the three that gave USC the lead with under a minute to play. A few minutes earlier, Brenton Williams hit a big three that cut the lead to two. Williams finished with 8 in the game. Michael Carrera frustrated the Rebels all night, scoring 13 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, 8 of which were on the offensive side of the ball. His feet and his mouth were moving the whole game, until Holloway dunked on him midway through the second half.
The win brings the Gamecocks back to .500 at 13-13 and 3-10 in conference. They will make the trip down I-20 to Athens to take on the Bulldogs this Saturday at 2 p.m. ET.
Ole Miss returns home with a huge hit to their resume with the loss. They are now 19-7, 8-5 and likely on the outside looking in. The Rebels will welcome the Auburn Tigers to town on Saturday at 4 p.m.