A few notes and thoughts from Ole Miss’ 82-73 win over Texas A&M …
For starters, Dr. Naismith never intended for his game to start at 8 p.m.
The late start didn’t seem to bother the Rebels, and they’ll have another one for their final home game Tuesday night at 8 against Alabama, that one for ESPNU. Before then it’s a 4 p.m. start Saturday at Mississippi State.
As far as the Aggies, I thought Murphy Holloway hit on a great point at the end of his media room appearance when he talked about having the team’s best players playing well at the same time. It seems like it’s been a while since that happened as it did last night. Marshall Henderson, Jarvis Summers, Reggie Buckner and Holloway were all playing at a high level.
Summers was 5-for-7 from the floor for 15 points and four assists with no turnovers. He was 2-for-3 from 3-point range and honestly needs to shoot that shot a little more.
Summers had a great game, but the real difference last night was the senior bigs, Holloway and Buckner.
Holloway was just one rebound shy of his third-straight double-double finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Buckner missed some time with foul trouble, but when he was in the game was energetic and looked more into it than he has recently. He blocked three shots, altered many others and had 12 points and seven rebounds.
Buckner was good against the Aggies in College Station, but Holloway an Henderson were much more average then, and the Rebels lost by a bucket.
The Ole Miss resume would look a lot different with a road win at College Station. As it is, the Rebels likely need to win all three remaining games to have a real shot at an NCAA at-large bid. From that standpoint, last night’s win didn’t change anything, but you couldn’t win out without winning last night.
Now Ole Miss will get ready for its final three games possibly without freshman Anthony Perez. That’s big not from a production standpoint but a numbers standpoint. It takes away Andy Kennedy’s ability to substitute for Terry Brutus, the other post reserve freshman, and still rest Holloway and Buckner.
It will force Kennedy to go with a smaller lineup more often. That might not be a bad thing, we’ll just have to see.
Perez got tangled up with A&M’s Ray Turner and his knee buckled. He was all but carried off the floor putting almost no weight on his left knee.
Brutus played 13 minutes last night but had only one rebound and was generally ineffective around the basket.
The biggest thing Ole Miss needed to do last night was find a way to limit A&M’s Elston Turner, and they “held” the Aggies star to 25 points. That equated to a nine-point win for the Rebels. Turner is really good, and he hit some tough, contested shots. He got off with nine quick points in the first half but was then relatively quiet for a while, bothered by the zone defense. He didn’t get many clean, wide open looks.
Neither did Henderson, who like Turner hit some tough shots. Henderson was just 1-for-3 from 3-point range in the first half, then 5-for-10 in the second.
Really heating up for a half is a typical Henderson story line. If the a typical story line becomes Henderson, Holloway and Buckner all playing well together, the Rebels just might when their last three.