The Ole Miss men’s basketball team hit a snag in the NIT Tip-Off Championship after a frenzied comeback win in the semifinal game.
The Rebels were dismantled by Oklahoma State on Friday, falling 78-37 in their most lopsided loss in over a decade after completing a 21-point comeback against Penn State on Wednesday.
“It’s embarrassing and disappointing… really embarrassing,” head coach Kermit Davis said after the loss.
In the semifinal game, Ole Miss appeared sluggish, falling behind early and facing a large deficit at the half. Guards Breein Tyree and Devontae Shuler combined to go 0-6 in the first half with Shuler taking just one shot in 14 minutes.
Ole Miss trailed by as much as 21 in the second half and were down by 14 points with just over six minutes left in the game. From there, the Rebels mounted a massive comeback led by Tyree.
Tyree was fouled on a layup attempt and converted the and-one with 1:06 remaining to tie the game at 70.
With the game tied at 72 with just 13 seconds remaining, Bryce Williams was fouled on a fast break and converted both free throws to give Ole Miss the deciding lead of the night.
Tyree scored 18 points in the second half to lead the team to victory. Hinson recorded 17 points and six rebounds in the win. Williams was nearly perfect in the second half, scoring 13 points on 3-4 shooting with 3-3 from beyond the arc after the break.
The Rebels’ elation was short-lived however, as things quickly went from bad to worse against a quality Oklahoma State squad.
Both sides played well through the first 12 minutes, and it appeared there would be an entertaining championship game before Ole Miss suddenly went cold.
Seemingly in an instant, the Rebel offense ground to a halt. Shots stopped falling, the ball moved without purpose or direction and players looked stagnant on the court. Defensively, the Rebels could not extend out to the Cowboys’ shooters.
Oklahoma State closed the first half on an 18-1 run, and Ole Miss had no answer after the break.
Already down by 19, the Rebels failed to mount any sort of comeback and saw their deficit range between 25 and 30 points for most of the second half.
“We just didn’t compete the right way,” Davis said after the game. “Leadership on our team wasn’t very good… I take full credit.”
Ole Miss must put the loss behind them as they move on to face Butler at home on Tuesday.
The Bulldogs pose more of a threat than perhaps any other remaining non-conference matchup. They already have wins over Minnesota, Missouri and Stanford and sit at 7-0 on the season.
The Rebels have just six non-conference games remaining before starting their SEC slate against Texas A&M on Jan. 7.