Ole Miss kept its slim NCAA tournament at-large bid hopes alive defeating Missouri Tuesday night.
After a sluggish start to the game, Missouri hung around and was tied with Ole Miss at 54-54 with 12:53 remaining in the second half.
Ole Miss snapped back to reality, however, and went on a 10-0 run and never looked back to seal the 85-76 victory.
Ole Miss has found success this year when they out-rebounded their opponent, and the Rebels out-rebounded Missouri tonight 47-38.
“For us, we’re just trying to put ourselves in a position for when we get to the SEC tournament, we’ve got opportunities to play teams that our going to help us,” head Ole Miss basketball coach Andy Kennedy said. “That’s our chance. Depending on what we have to do in our final three games will determine if we have to win the SEC Tournament or at least get to the finals. “
Senior forward Tomasz Gielo continues to play well for Ole Miss; he scored 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the field.
“Since the Missouri game in Columbia, he’s really shot well,” Kennedy said. “He’s shooting 52-53 percent from three. That’s what I envisioned. Everything we do is spacing with him at that four to give (Sebastian Saiz) room inside.”
In his fifth game back from eye surgery, junior forward Sebastian Saiz played well as he recorded his seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Kennedy believes getting him back to normal could help propel Ole Miss to a run in March.
“Until we get Sebastian back in the groove, I don’t know how good this team can be,” Kennedy said. “I feel like we can be better to make the run that I think is still in us, but time is ticking on us.”
Ole Miss has won five of it last seven games as they try to make a move up the SEC standings in the final three regular season games.
Ole Miss will travel to Georgia to take on the Bulldogs 11 a.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs have fallen off a bit since the last meeting between the two teams on Jan. 10 in Oxford.
Stefan Moody’s 8 rebounds Tuesday night tied a career-high. Moody last recorded eight rebounds back on Nov.16, 2016 against Georgia Southern.
Ole Miss is now 6-1 against Missouri since the Tigers joined the Southeastern Conference in 2012.
Missouri is now 0-13 in road and neutral site games.
Quote Of The Game
“We were playing pretty well,” Kennedy said. “We won seven in a row in December against teams that aren’t NCAA Tournament teams. We thought winning at UMass or at Memphis would be quality, but this year they’re not. When we scheduled them, we thought they would be.”
As of 11:19 on Tuesday night, the Rebels have an 87 RPI. Ole Miss has only one win over a top 50 team (Alabama), but have a win over the number 53 RPI team (Vanderbilt). Ole Miss doesn’t have any more quality win opportunities during the regular season, but could position themselves to garner quality wins in the SEC tournament and make a last-second NCAA tournament run.
– Browning Stubbs