Ole Miss Basketball: Rebels ousted by La Tech in NIT

The 2020-21 Ole Miss basketball season came to an end Friday night when coach Kermit Davis and the Rebels lost to La Tech in the first round of the NIT.

Well, the 2020-21 Ole Miss basketball season is officially over. Ole Miss (16-12, 10-8) suffered a 70-61 first-round NIT loss to Louisiana Tech. The Rebels entered the NIT opener coming off an upsetting exit from the SEC Tourney. Ole Miss, without Devontae Shuler and KJ Buffen, came out slow against the Bulldogs. The Rebels fell behind early with La Tech leading by as many as 10 points in the first half.

The Rebels battled back and went on a 29-9 run to take a 10-point lead over the Bulldogs and a 37-27 lead into the break. The second half began just like the first and saw the Bulldogs go on a 22-4 run to erase the Rebels lead. The Rebels fell behind and the Bulldogs shot well enough from the free-throw line to secure the win. OHT looks at the season finale by the numbers.

By The Numbers

As a team, the Rebels shot 22 of 54 or 40.7% from the field as did the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs. From the three-point line, the Rebels shot 5 of 15 or 33.3% while the Bulldogs shot just 4 of 17 or 23.5% from beyond the arc. At the free-throw line, the Rebels shot 12 of 16 or 75.0% while La Tech shot 22 of 29 or 75.9% from the charity stripe.

The Rebels turned the ball over 21 times to which the Bulldogs scored 17 points. La Tech had 10 turnovers from which the Rebels scored 12 points. The Rebels had 26 points in the paint while La Tech had 36 points in the paint. The Ole Miss bench contributed 12 points while the Louisiana Tech bench added 14 points.

Two Rebels scored in double-digits in the game with one Rebel inking a double-double. Leading all Rebels in scoring was Jarkel Joiner who had 22 points. Joiner also had 2 steals, 1 rebound, and 5 assists. Luis Rodriguez had 10 points and 10 boards with 1 assist.

Matthew Murrell added 9 points and 7 rebounds with 1 steal, 2 blocked shots, and 3 assists. Romello White followed with 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 1 assist. Sammy Hunter had 7 points with 7 rebounds while Antavion Collum had 3 points and 1 rebound. Austin Crowley finished out the scoring for the Rebels with 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist.

This was simply a bad game for the Rebels. With the absence of Devontae Shuler, the Rebels were without their leading scorer and their biggest playmaker. Turnovers were an issue against the Bulldogs and were the deciding factor in the game.

While it was a disappointing outcome for the Rebels the season was part of the process for coach Kermit Davis and Ole Miss basketball. Davis is a very good coach and the Rebels have a good young lineup heading into next season. Everything will be okay as long as we trust the process. As always, stay safe and Hotty Toddy!