Ole Miss played Vanderbilt on the road, and it resulted in a very close, back-and-forth affair between the two teams. With double-digit lead changes, the Rebels and Commodores battled until the very end, which resulted in Vandy pulling out the win 74-71.
This was one of the more winnable games left on Ole Miss’ schedule, but sadly it could not overcome dominance of Liam Robbins and Tyrin Lawrence, who each posted double-doubles.
Both Ole Miss and Vanderbilt came into this game off a loss, but more importantly, Vanderbilt had just lost to Alabama 101-44.
Both teams had their struggles coming into this matchup, and both wanted this win. Although this may have been a matchup among teams in the bottom half of the SEC, this was actually a good showing of great basketball.
From the jump, Vanderbilt’s game plan was to out-size Ole Miss, and the Commodores were very successful in doing so. Vandy’s interior dominance did not show up in total rebounds, as both teams finished with 36, but its bigs imposed their will on the undersized Rebels.
As a team, Ole Miss shot 38% from three, which is higher than its season average, but the kicker is that the Rebels only shot 36% from the field. However, the offense did not necessarily look stagnant like in other games this season. In fact, the ball was moving around more than ever.
Jaemyn Brakefield led the Rebels with 15 points and 12 rebounds, while Myles Burns and Matthew Murrell added 12 and 10 points respectively.
This game came down to the fact that Vanderbilt ended up hitting just one more big shot that Ole Miss did.
Each team played a winning basketball game, but there can obviously be only one winner. There are no effortless victories here, so Vanderbilt will get all the praise for pulling this one out, and rightfully so. However, Ole Miss’ effort and fight should not be overlooked or downplayed.
Although this was a very winnable game for the Rebels, and many fans will be frustrated with the result, it is hard to ignore the fight this team showed on the road.
Ole Miss was down by as many as 11 points with just 56 seconds left, but the Rebels found a way to bring it within three points at the buzzer.
This is not to say that Ole Miss simply ran out of time, as Vanderbilt let up toward the end because it did not want to foul on defense, but this was a good game for the young guys to learn from and build on as the rest of the season plays out.
Ole Miss wraps up a short two-game road trip against Georgia on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 6 p.m. CST. This game will be aired on the SEC Network.
The Bulldogs got the best of the Rebels in Oxford back in January, beating them 62-58, but the question is whether history will repeat itself almost a month later.