SuperTalk Mississippi
Ole Miss Sports Trending News

Ole Miss basketball falls at home to No. 20 South Carolina, diminishing NCAA Tournament hopes

Ole Miss basketball
Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics

NCAA Tournament hopes continue to diminish for the Ole Miss men’s basketball team following Saturday’s 72-59 loss to No. 20 South Carolina.

A horrendous shooting performance by the Rebels (19-8, 6-8 SEC) essentially prevented them from defending home court in a must-win game against the Gamecocks (22-5, 10-4 SEC).

While South Carolina, a team in the middle of a remarkable turnaround from one year prior, did not have its best offensive showing, Ole Miss experienced greater difficulty getting shots to fall. Overall, first-year head coach Chris Beard’s squad connected on  just 18 of 54 shots, or 33%, and only made three of 16 shots from behind the arc.

Simply put, the Rebels shot themselves out of the game. After big man Moussa Cisse scored two quick buckets to give Ole Miss a 4-0 lead, South Carolina countered and took a lead that the team never relinquished throughout the remainder of the contest.

“You’ve got 12 hours to beat yourself up a little bit — nothing wrong with that. Then, we’ve got to get right back to work,” Beard said in his postgame presser. “For us, we’ll look at this. We’ll try to learn from it. We’ll try to improve from it. All eyes are on Alabama Wednesday night.”

Ole Miss was shorthanded most of the game, senior guard Matthew Murrell, the team’s leading scorer, picked up two fouls in the first four minutes of action. His foul trouble followed him into the second half, allowing him only to play 20 minutes total in the game.

Another big hit to the team took place with just under 17 minutes left of action when senior Allen Flanigan, who scored a little more than one-third of the Rebels’ 22 first-half points, was ejected after throwing an elbow into the face of Gamecocks guard Zachary Davis.

Down two top scorers, Ole Miss found little to no offensive contribution from Jaylen Murray, another team leader who filled up stat sheets earlier in the year. Murray finished the game with three total points in a game where scoring was desperately needed.

South Carolina made it the team’s mission to attack Ole Miss’ guards to prevent any offensive rhythm from being attained, and it worked. Though the Rebels turned the ball over one time less than its SEC counterpart, the team consistently heaved up off-balance shots and appeared to be disconnected when trying to communicate.

“I thought our effort today was led by what we did defensively,” South Carolina head coach Lamont Paris said after the game. “It allows you to have a chance when you play on the road when you defend like that. I was really happy with our effort that way.”

On Ole Miss’ defensive front, the Rebels had no answer for South Carolina big man B.J. Mack. The six-foot-eight forward was not as tall as the defenders he went up against, but he used his nearly 300-pound frame to play bully down low and find buckets on the glass. Mack, with a soft touch on the ball, also connected on a trio of shots from behind the arc to lead the Gamecocks with a team-high 17 points in the road victory.

The Rebels got a rare double-digit scoring performance from Cisse. The seven-footer put 13 on the board to lead the way for Ole Miss. Jaemyn Brakefield, battling a wrist injury, scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the loss.

Ole Miss, now in desperation mode for wins to get back in the good graces of bracketologists, will have a prime opportunity on Wednesday night when No. 13 Alabama rolls into Oxford for an 8 p.m. tipoff.

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More