Ole Miss took another hit on the road Saturday, falling to LSU 82-66. The Rebels (11-14) could not assemble a lead against the Tigers (14-10) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They tried to keep pace in the first half but were ultimately no match for the strong Tiger offense.
The Rebels failed to connect from the tip, allowing the Tigers to run up an early 9-2 lead. Senior forwards Duop Reath and Aaron Epps led LSU’s offense, propelling the Tigers to a comfortable first-half lead. Ole Miss eventually trailed by 14 points with six minutes left before halftime. But the Rebels soon rallied and chipped away at the Tigers’ lead. They worked hard down low, going on a 20-6 run to tie the score 37-37 at the half. The Rebels effectively shut down the Tigers’ offense, holding them toothless inside the paint.
The Tigers jumped out to another lead in the second half, scoring seven of the half’s first eight points. With the score 44-38, the Rebels called a timeout. But the game’s momentum did not swing; the Rebels allowed the Tigers 15 more points in the first nine minutes of the second. LSU, however, ran into foul trouble after amassing eight calls, forcing sophomore guard Wayde Sims to sub in for Reath (who had three fouls).
Despite a strong first half, the Rebels lost their spark and dwindled during the final 20 minutes of play. The Tigers’ offense dominated, leading by double digits for most of the half. The Rebels were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit. LSU outscored Ole Miss by 16 points en route to its third consecutive SEC win at home.
While the Rebels did win the rebound battle at the boards, they failed to capitalize on the advantage and allowed the Tigers to go on run after run. Head coach Andy Kennedy’s offense never seemed to click, missing chance after chance as his counterpart’s team took advantage of its own opportunities.
Ole Miss forward Brad Stevens and guard Deandre Burnett both contributed 16 points to the losing effort. Stevens played 32 minutes and secured five rebounds along the way. Burnett grabbed three rebounds during his 30 minutes on the court. Junior guard and Southaven native Terence Davis added seven points and nine rebounds of his own in 34 minutes. Off the bench, Breein Tyree quietly scored 10 points.
For the Tigers, Reath captured headlines with a 26-point, five-rebound effort through 24 minutes. LSU forward Aaron Epps scored 11 points and secured nine rebounds in his 31 minutes on the court. Mays added 17 points and six rebounds, while Tremont Waters accumulated 11 points, eight assists and five rebounds of his own. Overall, LSU shot 50 percent from the field.
LSU also stepped up its defense in the second half, holding Ole Miss to 29 points. The Rebels struggled to connect throughout the game, shooting 37.1 percent from the field and shooting only six baskets from 29 shots, good for 20.7 percent from 3-point land.
Ole Miss will need to turn things around if it hopes to salvage any semblance of a shot at the Big Dance next month. The Rebels, now ranked 13th in the SEC, take on Arkansas at 6 p.m. Tuesday in The Pavilion.