South Carolina 63, Ole Miss 62

A few observations about last night …

I suspect the Rebels secured an NIT berth with their 63-62 loss at struggling South Carolina, which had won just twice in a weakened SEC and had lost six straight going into the game with an RPI of 211.

There has been a lot of speculation about an NCAA bid for Ole Miss should the Rebels finish 13-5 in the SEC. They can still reach that mark by winning their five remaining regular season games, but this is a bad loss that might be too much for the resume to overcome.

I don’t see this team winning its final five games anyway given the current state of affairs. It has tended to rely on Marshall Henderson, and Henderson hasn’t been an efficient 3-point shooter since hitting 13-for-25 combined in the Florida and MSU games. He was 3-for-11 from the arc in Columbia and finished with 11 points.

Neither Henderson nor any of his teammates could hit a clutch shot after Reggie Buckner fouled out with a little less than 4 minutes to play. Buckner wasn’t hitting them either, but the Rebels led 62-56 at that time and were outscored 7-0 the rest of the way.

In a game in which neither team established firm control, Ole Miss ran out to a 62-56 lead as the minutes clicked away by getting hands in the passing lanes and scoring in transition. When Carolina was more careful with the basketball those opportunities stopped, and Ole Miss struggled to score in a halfcourt set.

Murphy Holloway had 19 points and 13 rebounds, his first double-double since the Arkansas game on Jan. 19, but it was too little for Ole Miss.

The Rebels, 19-7 overall and 8-5 in the SEC after a 6-0 conference start, play Saturday at 4 at home against Auburn.

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.

Posted in Basketball
  • I agree with everything you said. I think AK will not return next year. I am not sure that he is the coach that can lead Ole Miss to being a consistent NCAA Tourney team. I also think that there is not a coach that can until Ole Miss changes the way they view basketball. This is both the fans and school. Basketball has always been the sport that got the school and fans from football to spring training and baseball. What was important to our 2013 signings was fan support and team support for the coach. Watch the last 30 sec. of the video on the pregame speech before the state game. You hear players saying to other playersthat they will play for the other players today. Then Freeze said let’s go what are your waiting for and you hear a player say, “we are behind you coach.” When basketball has that, they will become a team that can win.

  • Lifers good

    I just wish we could get a beat writer that wasn’t ALWAYS negative

    • matchbox20

      Usually I try to give Andy Kennedy and Ole Miss the benefit of the doubt…that changed with the South Carolina game. Truthfully, PA is correct. This is a loss of monumental proportions. According to the AP story, Ole Miss went ahead 62-56 on a basket by Holloway with 5:04 remaining (that’s 5:04 left in the game) … and DID NOT score again. That’s pitiful! South Carolina, sporting a 12-13 record, scored only 7 points. That’s pitiful, too! If the Rebels win the SEC Tournament, that loss against the Gamecocks is too hard to ignore, they might be a 15th seed. Other than that, they very well may have played themselves out of the NCAA Tournament. Even an NIT berth now suggest that whenever they get away from The Tad Pad, its an automatic loss.

  • JB

    The Rebels are done for as yet, they have five (5) more regular season game ahead. three in Oxford. There is also the chance of winning that SEC tournament, that would carry an automatic NCAA berth. They have pulled it off before and can do it once again, they have that potential. it would be very helpful if they could secure one of those four tournament byes. Looks like Gators and Alabama claim two, but two still open. JB

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