A few thoughts on the Rebels’ 88-55 win over Auburn …
All Ole Miss-Auburn basketball games are not memorable, but Saturday’s romp for the Rebels will be remembered for Marshall Henderson not as a “coming out party,” so to speak, but as the day that things really clicked for him.
Henderson hadn’t really shot well from 3-point range in the last four games, and the 3 is what he does. It’s unfair to lay the losses at Missouri, Texas A&M and South Carolina at Henderson’s feet. There was plenty more non-productivity going on, particularly on defense, but Henderson has become the face of this team. When he’s on, it sets up others, and the Rebels play better.
Speaking of the others.
There seemed to be more effort from Murphy Holloway on the glass than in the last home game when he had no offensive rebounds against Georgia. In a three-game stretch against Missouri, Texas A&M and Georgia, Holloway had just two offensive rebounds, both against A&M. He had three against Auburn, all in the first half, and finished with 10 rebounds and 10 points, giving him back-to-back double-doubles in the SEC for the first time this season.
Holloway still left points on the table. He was just 4-for-9 shooting and took some awkward, off-balance shots. He thinks every shot going to his left is a good shot. I disagree.
Reggie Buckner seemed to show defensive energy yesterday more often than in recent games.
Andy Kennedy mentioned the rebound contributions of other players, guys like LaDarius White and Terry Brutus, who each had six rebounds.
Honestly, there were a lot of rebounds to be had when Auburn was clanking wide open 3s off the iron. Just 3-for-18 from the arc were the Tigers.
Ole Miss was plus-16 on the glass, a 38-22 edge, equalling a season-high. The Rebels were also plus-16 against McNeese State back in November.
Brutus and Anthony Perez, both freshmen, have split Aaron Jones‘ minutes since Jones’ injury. They’ve had times where they’ve been productive, but it’s hard to say they’ve shown much progress since Jones went down against Kentucky. It’s never been a question of effort with these guys. Both are hustlers. Rebounding is a hustle stat, and six rebounds were a season-high for Brutus.
Brutus often seems to be in the right place but doesn’t always hold on to the ball. Perez has always had more of an up-side with his offense, but hasn’t hit shots since Missouri when he was 3-for-4 in 10 minutes. He played 12 minutes yesterday and was 0-for-1 for the fourth-straight game.
There were nice minutes from Derrick Millinghaus yesterday. He had 14 points going 3-for-5 from the field and 6-for-6 from the free throw line. He was 2-for-2 from 3-point range. White was good on offense too, going for 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting.
Lots of players look good when a team looks as out of it as Auburn did.
Ole Miss will need players not named Henderson to rise up, defense and hit tough shots these last four games when Henderson isn’t knocking down 3-pointers.
The book on Henderson doesn’t make you think he’s about to become an efficient 3-point shooter in each of the last four games.
Someone will have to make tough shots and big defensive plays, because the Rebels need every one of these games for their NCAA tournament chances.