Notes and thoughts from the Rebels’ 84-74 overtime win against Georgia and video from LaDarius White, who shared some valuable Saturday night minutes with us after the game:
It would be nice to think that snatching victory from the jaws of defeat will be what spurs this team to find that level of play it showed in winning six straight to start SEC play.
Even within that streak there were periods of weakness, but on the whole there was more defensive energy.
Yes, Aaron Jones is out now, and he was part of that energy, but Murphy Holloway and Reggie Buckner are still there. They are the senior frontcourt leaders. They can’t play tentative because Jones is out.
There were shots last night that Reggie Buckner simply did not challenge. That can’t happen if Ole Miss is to make an NCAA run.
It’s better for Buckner to play with energy and foul out. At least then maybe he’s blocking more shots and impacting the game more when he’s in there. He played 32 minutes and had one blocked shot. He’s got to help on defense more.
As far as offense in the post, it has to come from Holloway. Regardless of how hard he tries there, Buckner just isn’t the offensive player that Holloway is.
Holloway was 5-for-10 from the floor and finished with 4 points. Not a bad night’s work, but he missed some point-blank looks that could have changed the tone in the first half.
The perplexing thing with Holloway is why he’s suddenly gone cold as a rebounder. He hasn’t had double-figure rebounds since getting 11 at Auburn on Jan. 26. Ole Miss can’t go on getting out-rebounded by 15 like it did agains Georgia.
There were balls last night that Holloway in the past has grabbed and held but that now seems to get away from him.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy after the game talked about the excitement in the locker room. Maybe this does spur the Rebels on to a win streak. They’re at South Carolina Wednesday, a game they should win regardless of venue.
But there are still things that have to change.
Credit Marshall Henderson last night for being a clutch player, the Rebels’ most consistent offensive player. While he wasn’t hitting 3s he was getting to the free throw line – 14-for-14 – and was 4-for-6 on shots inside the arc.
Ole Miss needs him to find his perimeter stroke again. He had hit 13-of-25 3-point shots going into last Saturday’s Missouri game but since then is just 5-for-23 from the arc.
As the Rebels look for consistency, for someone to carry them or will them on to a win, Henderson is the best chance right now.
As poorly as Ole Miss played defensively most of the game, there were moments of success. LaDarius White did a good job of chasing around Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia’s best player, especially late in the game. KCP finished with 19 points but was just 7-for-19 from the floor. Kennedy will take that.
Bottom line is, the Rebels can afford themselves maybe one more slip-up along the way. The popular opinion seems to say that 13-5 is what’s needed for solid NCAA consideration. They’re 8-4 in the league right now.
Maybe an emotional overtime comeback win spurs them to bigger things. It’s fool’s gold, however, to take for granted that rallying against an average Georgia is all that it takes to get that done.
There are a lot of glaring errors that need fixing right now. You can’t let a team come in and shoot 52 percent over 40 minutes and out-rebound you by 15.
Maybe some of these things get fixed, and in a few weeks we’re looking back at a 10-point overtime win against Georgia as the spark.