Ole Miss basketball knew they would have their hands full on the road against the No.22 Auburn Tigers Tuesday night. What began great ended rather badly.
Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy called the win over Miss State this past Saturday an ‘ugly win‘. If that was the case against the Bulldogs in a victory then I’d hate to hear what he calls last night’s game. Sitting at 2-1 in SEC play Ole Miss basketball had a chance to make a statement against the No.22 Auburn Tigers. Coming off a huge home win over Miss State was a big boost for the Rebels and it showed at first.
In the first half, behind a stifling zone defense and fast offense the Rebels led the Tigers 45-35 at the break. Ole Miss was playing well, minimizing mistakes and making shots. Then the second half happened and Andy Kennedy and the Rebels shut down. Of course, they played poorly, made poor decisions and the Rebels scoring went cold. The No.22 Auburn Tigers (15-1, 3-0), who were down 10 at the half, defeated the Ole Miss Rebels (9-7, 2-2) by 15, 85-70.
No.22 Auburn is a very good basketball team and should be ranked higher than No.22 in my opinion. However, I still believe Ole Miss basketball should have won this game. When you play as well as the Rebels did in the first half, lead by 10 and lose by 15 then you have been blown out. Of course, the easiest way to tell is by looking at the numbers.
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
When you only play one half you can expect the numbers to look poor. In this case the worst number is the final score. Despite leading at the half 45-35 the Rebels were outscored in the second 50-25 resulting in the 85-70 loss.
As a team the Rebels shot well in the first half but were stifled in the second. The Rebels shot only 22 of 65 from the field on the night for 33.8%. In contrast, Auburn was 25 of 56 for 44.6% in the game. This Ole Miss basketball team has to shoot better in order to compete in league play.
From beyond the arc the Rebels were once again inconsistent. Ole Miss shot 8 of 29 from 3-point distance for 27.6% while Auburn went 6 of 22 for 27.3% The Rebels numbers were slightly better than the Tigers from distance, however there were times when Ole Miss should have pulled the ball down and went low.
One of the biggest concerns for this team is from the free-throw line. Ole Miss shot very poorly going for only 18 of 27 or 66.7% while the Tigers shot 29 of 37 for 78.4%. This is the worst free throw shooting AK I can ever remember. They have to make the charity points to compete with the rest of the SEC schedule. Of course, Tuesday night there was a problem with consistency.
Individual Rebels Numbers
Individual statistics are so much more fun to talk about in a win. In this case the Rebels played a heckuva first half. However, it was much like ‘A Tale of Two Halves’. Still there were several Rebels who went double digits in scoring. In the absence of Deandre Burnett, Breein Tyree led all Rebels with 24 points. Tyree also had 4 assists and 2 steals in the game.
Terence Davis and Dominik Olejniczak both had double-doubles in the game. Davis went for 13 points and 10 rebounds while Olejniczak had 10 points and 10 rebounds with 3 steals. Each also had a blocked shot. Bruce Stevens also scored in double digits going for 12 points with 1 board. Stevens was limited on the floor because of foul trouble and only played 12 minutes. Stevens did foul out.
Markell Crawford added 6 points with 7 rebounds and 1 assist while Devontae Shuler added 5 points, 8 boards and an assist. The absence of Deandre Burnett certainly had some effect on the Rebels team Tuesday night but that can’t be an excuse. The team which lost by 15 was also the same team which led by 10 at the break. The Rebels can continue to put up big individual numbers and until this team becomes more consistent we’ll see more losses.
The one bright spot coming off the loss to Auburn is Ole Miss basketball returns home to The Pavilion for their next game. This Rebels team is obviously a much better team in front of a friendlier crowd. Of course, even in front of Ole Miss fans this Saturday the Rebels schedule doesn’t get any easier with Florida coming to visit. The Gators share the lead in the SEC with the Auburn Tigers at 3-0 each.
OHT will have more on the Gators later when we preview the game. However for now Ole Miss basketball (9-7, 2-2) will host the Florida Gators (11-4, 3-0) in The Pavilion this Saturday. Tip-off is set for 12pm CT and will be televised on CBS Sports. Hotty Toddy.