Notes and thoughts from Ole Miss’ 98-79 loss at Missouri …
First off, this isn’t a team that’s playing like an NCAA tournament team right now. There are too many times that I’m seeing lethargic defensive play.
Andy Kennedy after the Mississippi State game talked about the Rebels losing interest in the second half and coasting to the finish. There was no reason for that to be a 10-point game with 3:44 left.
Against Missouri Kennedy said the Tigers had Ole Miss “on our heels” from the beginning.
Missouri looked disoriented offensively against Ole Miss in Oxford. I attributed part of that to the fact that it was playing without Laurence Bowers, who was averaging 16.6 points a game at that time, for the first time.
Bowers was a non-factor in the second game. Missouri dominated without his help. Phil Pressey got in the lane, and the Tigers shared the basketball and knocked down open shots. You knew it was unlikely they would go 2-for-18 from 3 again as they did in the Oxford game.
But the work Missouri did on the boards was really impressive – 50 rebounds. And to have more offensive rebounds (22) than Ole Miss had defensive rebounds (19) … The Rebels aren’t going to win games that way.
Missouri’s shooting – 8-for-15 from 3 in the first half – created a lot of room to work for center Alex Oriakhi, and he was big with 22 points and 18 rebounds.
Oriakhi was the focal point of the fight that led to Reggie Buckner’s ejection. Buckner’s status for the Texas A&M game will be determined by the league office, Kennedy said.
Ole Miss needs Buckner to have a chance at Texas A&M.
What the Rebels really need for Buckner to flip on his give-a-darn switch. There were times in the second half when he was just walking on the floor.
The senior frontcourt play was supposed to be the strength of this team, but it’s been lacking the last couple of weeks save Murphy Holloway’s big game against MSU, an opponent that just couldn’t match up with him physically.
Ole Miss needs Buckner and Holloway to play better down the stretch.
This team is really missing the infectious energy of Aaron Jones right now. Nick Williams brings some of that, and it was good to get Williams back, but when two guys are bringing that energy it’s more likely to spread throughout the team.
Terry Brutus and Anthony Perez have seen their minutes increase since the Jones injury. Brutus had a nice 12 minutes at Florida but really hasn’t done much since then. He has a tendency to get his hands on the ball but then lose rebounds in traffic.
For a couple of games now Anthony Perez has been a little more physical down low than I thought he would be.
That’s a trend Kennedy spotted and commented on after the game. Perez had seven points – his most since getting nine against Lipscomb way back when. It was easily his most efficient game. He knocked down a 3-pointer in his only attempt, and that’s a big part of his game. He also hit a runner and another short jumper to finish 3-for-4 from the floor.
If he can turn a corner offensively, that will be a big lift for this team.