Defensive Issues

In the wake of the Rebels’ 69-67 loss at Texas A&M last night, here are a few notes on the success of opponent shooters.

Since scoring a season-high 24 points on 5-for-12 3-point shooting, Kentucky’s Kyle Wiltjer has been held to single-digits three times in four games and has peaked at 14 points. He’s a combined 5-for-12 from the arc in those games.

Wiltjer is basically Kentucky’s third scoring option, but he got open looks and knocked them down against Ole Miss.

Murphy, another 6-foot-10 matchup problem, was 5-for-6 from 3-point range against Ole Miss.

Missouri’s success was more of a team effort as guards Phil Pressey, Keion Bell and Jabari Brown combined to go 10-for-18 from 3-point range.

Their work created spacing issues in the middle and allowed center Alex Oriakhi to shoot 7-for-10 from close range and finish with 22 points and 18 rebounds. That led to the Rebels getting “punked” in the post, as Nick Williams put it.

Over the life of the school-record SEC-opening six-game win streak five opponents were held to below 30 percent 3-point shooting.

Only Vanderbilt surpassed that mark at 42.5 percent. The Commodores, in a losing effort, set a home gym record with 17 3-point makes.

While winning six straight league games Ole Miss was able to find success even when opponent scorers had big games. Vanderbilt’s Kedren Johnson was 5-for-11 from the arc and scored 19 points. Tennessee’s Jordan McCrae twice scored 20-plus against the Rebels.

But no rival shooting star had gone for 37 points like Turner did. He scored from all over the floor, his seven 3-point goals only slightly more than half of his makes. He was 13-for-20 from the floor including a 10-foot jumper over Marshall Henderson to give the Aggies a four-point lead with 16.9 seconds left.

It has become clear that one guy can really hurt the Rebels, and while Georgia, coming in Saturday night at 7, isn’t immensely talented throughout its roster, it has possible the best NBA prospect in the league in guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. He’s second in the league to Henderson in scoring at 17.7 points a game, but he’s a bigger-body guy who can defend and rebound too. He’s second in the league in steals at 2.2 per game.

If something doesn’t change with the Rebels defensively, Caldwell-Pope is certainly capable of going off in the manner of Elston Turner.

Georgia, by the way, was able to figure out how to slow down Turner in Athens, holding him to 2-for-14 from the floor, 0-for-6 from 3-point range.

Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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  • Donttouchatwire

    I wonder what the percentage is for 3’s made against ole miss vs the rest of the league? I.e. teams have scored x number of 3’s against ole miss but only scored y number of 3’s vs everyone else.

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