Tonight’s game at Ole Miss meant A LOT for the Rebels, who entered at 12-2, but still had a lot to prove. A win, and the Rebels prove that they are in the top third of the league and a legit NCAA Tournament.
I knew Missouri could be in trouble without senior forward Laurence Bowers, and this is exactly what happened. Phil Pressey is the Tigers most important player, but it’s also clear that Bowers is the best. Missouri went scoreless for the first seven minutes of the game – missing its first nine shots, including three lay-ups – falling behind 9-0 and never really recovered – getting no closer than five points (21-16) the rest of the way.
Bowers did not play, but I think it would have been a much different game had he played. Bowers is the Tigers (12-3, 1-1 SEC) top scorer (16.8) and his 16-17 points could have been the difference in the 64-49 loss.
“It was really difficult (without Bowers) and it really affected us I thought at the start of the game,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said. ” He’s our leading scorer and who we are running our offense through. But it is part of the game, so we’re not going to make excuses. But hats off to Ole Miss, the atmosphere here was great — we just didn’t execute well.”
The Tigers go to Bowers early and often to set the tone in the beginning of games, and I have no doubt that they would have tonight – and he would have scored – preventing the Tigers nearly 7-minute scoreless stretch and 9-0 deficit.
Missouri started the game 1-12 from the field – 0-6 from 3-point land – and it did not get much better. Missouri was lucky to be down just nine – 31-22 – at the half after a dismal 26% from the field with 10 turnovers and 11 made shots. Ole Miss shot just 36% in the half and 39% for the game, but still easily won.
The closest Missouri got in the second half was 41-33 four minutes into the half, after scoring half as many points as they scored in the entire first half in just four minutes, but Ole Miss (13-2, 2-0 SEC) stretched their lead from there, leading by as many as 20 points.
Murphy Holloway scored 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Rebels, who earned a signature win proving that they are a legit top-third team in a bad SEC and on track toward a possible NCAA Tournament berth.
- Ole Miss got to the line 20 times, Missouri just six; Missouri turned it over 19 times and shot 2-19 from 3. If that is not a recipe for a loss playing without your leading scorer, I don’t know what is.
- Also, by my count, Missouri dribbled the ball off their foot/leg five times, missed 14 shots on the block or in front of the rim and had six 3-pointers not even hit the rim. It was not pretty.
- “We were way too timid and missed a lot of (close shots),” Haith said. “With just 49 points, our offense was really poor.”
- Jabari Brown scored a quiet 13 points. He was dead broke from the outside. Keion Bell had a SICK dribble-drive dunk and scored 11 points. Pressey added 10 points and five assists (and five turnovers.)
- Brown and Ross may have scored 24 combined points, but they also shot 5-for-20.
- Like every game last year, Missouri went with the small lineup with 6-5 swingman Earnest Ross replacing Bowers in the lineup. The result was not the same. Ross, Ryan Rosburg and Tony Criswell combined to score an ineffective 15 points in Bowers spot.
- Rosburg started the second half tonight. You are in bad, bad shape when that happens.
- Center Alex Oriakhi has really turned into a black hole in the post. Granted, he is a physical presence down there that Missouri has had – and needed – in a LONG time. But, once the ball goes in, it never comes back out. EVER. I honestly can’t remember the last time he passed the ball from the paint.
- Ole Miss is now 7-19 against ranked opponents under head coach Andy Kennedy.
- Defense was not the problem for Mizzou. Ole Miss shot below 40%, hit just 5-of-18 3’s and did not even average a point per possession. Yet, they lost by 15.
- NWC is just plain lost right now. He is a hindrance to the team when he is on the floor. He again averaged more TO’s (3) than shot attempts (0-2) in nine minutes. One single Missouri player averaged better than one point per FG attempt (Criswell), and he attempted only four shots (making 3) and fouled out in 14 minutes. It was his return form a three-game absence (broken finger).
- Based on the circumstances, this loss was not that unexpected, but the underwhelming play was unexpected. I thought the Tigers still had a chance to win IF they did not fall behind early – which they did.
- Bowers will miss the next game – Georgia at home Wednesday night – and will be reevaluated after the game. It is possible he will play in the huge road game at Florida next Saturday, but Haith said he would not be rushed back: “He was missed (Saturday). But we won’t rush him back. He’s gonna be 100% or really ready before we let him back on the court.”
- Missouri, the nations top rebounding team, beat Ole Miss on the glass just 37-36.
Pressey: “That was our worst two halves of basketball all year,” the point guard said. “It’s on us to get better… Hats off to them, but we just didn’t execute. If we execute like that, we’re going to get beat. It’s going to be a long season if we execute like that.”
Haith: “We were timid, drove the ball but missed so many layups. We weren’t attacking with aggression. It wasn’t so much, yeah they blocked shots, but we were too timid and missed chippies and were looking for someone to bail us out instead of making plays… “We should have been good tonight, but when we had opportunities we weren’t aggressive. We avoided contact instead of taking contact on. We have to have more composure playing on the road. We didn’t have that.”
|Alex Oriakhi, F||23||2-4||0-0||0-0||2||6||0||0||3||2||2||4|
|Keion Bell, G||30||5-11||0-1||1-1||1||7||1||1||0||2||3||11|
|Earnest Ross, G||24||1-7||0-4||1-2||0||3||1||4||0||3||1||3|
|Phil Pressey, G||36||5-11||0-4||0-0||1||3||5||0||0||5||0||10|
|Jabari Brown, G||38||4-13||2-7||3-3||0||7||1||0||0||3||2||13|
|Danny Feldmann, F||4||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tony Criswell, F||14||3-4||0-0||0-0||1||2||1||0||0||0||5||6|
|Dominique Bull, G||1||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Negus Webster-Chan, G||9||0-2||0-2||0-0||1||1||0||0||0||3||1||0|
|Stefan Jankovic, F||4||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||1||0||0||1||0||1||0|
|Ryan Rosburg, F||17||1-3||0-0||0-0||1||1||0||1||0||1||4||2|
|Ole Miss Rebels|
|Murphy Holloway, F||31||8-12||0-0||6-10||3||8||1||4||1||1||1||22|
|Reginald Buckner, F||32||0-5||0-0||0-0||3||10||0||1||1||1||3||0|
|Jarvis Summers, G||27||2-8||0-1||8-8||0||3||2||1||1||1||3||12|
|Ladarius White, G||20||2-6||0-3||0-0||0||2||1||0||0||3||0||4|
|Nick Williams, G||26||2-6||1-3||0-0||0||2||2||3||0||1||1||5|
|Aaron Jones, F||16||1-2||0-0||0-0||1||3||0||0||1||0||1||2|
|Terry Brutus, F||1||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Derrick Millinghaus, G||15||3-6||2-3||0-0||1||1||1||1||0||1||2||8|
|Martavious Newby, G||3||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
Officials: Mike Nance, Lee Cassell, Tracy Woodson