Rebels’ poor shooting, defense lead to loss to Tigers at home

Posted on Feb 7 2018 - 8:03am by Ben Miller

Tuesday night’s game against the Mizzou Tigers marked Ole Miss’ fourth straight loss, the seventh out of their last nine. This poor run has the Rebels sitting two games below .500 at 11-13. In a game that never truly seemed as close as the scoreboard may have suggested, Ole Miss ultimately fell to Mizzou by a score of 75-69.

Shooting has always been an issue for this Rebels team and, while it was at its worst on Saturday against Tennessee, the team improved only slightly at home on Tuesday night.

Deandre Burnett’s struggles continued, as he was only able to cash in on two of nine shots for a total of five points. Once again, the team had to lean on the scoring of Terence Davis and the ever-improving Bruce Stevens. The duo posted 35 of the Rebels’ 69 points on 46 percent shooting. But as a team that can tends to live and die by the three, a team total of 29.4 percent three-point shooting is not going to cut it.

Head coach Andy Kennedy yells at his players as the clock ticks down in a home game against Mizzou. The Rebels fell to the Tigers 75-69 on Tuesday. Photo by Billy Schuerman

Ole Miss’ defense improved from the mark set on Saturday, but once again, the game on the boards landed the Rebels in a lot of trouble. The team was out-rebounded 39 to 34, and several of those came in the most crucial moments of the second half. Head coach Andy Kennedy acknowledged the issue after the game.

“I don’t think effort is our number 1 issue,” Kennedy said. “Our awareness needs to get better. If you’re pulling for Ole Miss, you say ‘Get the ball get the ball get the ball,’ and we just never get it. We are down by over 50 on 50-50 balls on the year, 50. We are in a desperate situation.”

Kennedy offered criticism of himself after this latest Ole Miss loss.

“I promise you this, out of everybody out there that’s disappointed, there’s nobody that’s more disappointed than me,” he said. “There’s nobody… that has put more blood, sweat, and tears into this than I have. I am completely culpable as it relates to the product on the floor. The product is not good, and that is my responsibility.”

With the recent run of losses and Kennedy’s job security in limbo following Ole Miss’ decision not to extend his contract, disenchantment is growing among the team. A dejected Davis expressed his frustration after the loss.

“Before the season, me and the guards would talk about how special this team was gonna be,” said Davis. “We have the weapons. We just aren’t putting that to use.”

Davis shook his head after the game, reflecting the overall attitude surrounding this team. With nothing ahead but increasingly difficult SEC play, the Rebels will need to forget the past few weeks and forge ahead if they hope to end the season with a nationally-televised tournament.