Notes and observations from the Rebels’ 61-60 loss at Georgia …
For much of this season we’ve written about the Rebels’ need to develop a third scorer.
Unfortunately, over the last three road games it looks like they’ll need to develop a second one.
That has been Jarvis Summers, but Summers has struggled away from Oxford lately. Jarvis Summers deserves an enormous amount of credit for changing his game, from being an old-school pass-first point guard to a legitimate scorer, a guy who gets to the rim and creates his own shot off the bounce. He’s had a nice mid-range game too, which is sometimes something of a lost art in college basketball. With most players it’s a 3 or a slashing move all the way to the rim. Not everybody can pull up and knocked down jump shots consistently. Summers was doing that much of this season.
Summers had shot better than 50 percent from the floor for a stretch of five games, but that hasn’t happened since he was 6-for-11 against South Carolina on Feb. 1.
While his total scoring has been down he’s come up with some big plays at key moments, like his two free throws to tie the game at 64 at Alabama and his three-point play to tie the Georgia game at 60.
However, at Georgia the Rebels were getting little done beyond Marshall Henderson.
After Summers’ 11 points, the Rebels’ next-leading scorer was Derrick Millinghaus with five.
Summers was 4-for-12 from the floor. LaDarius White, Anthony Perez and Sebastian Saiz, who occasionally provide support scoring, were a combined 3-for-15.
Had any of them chipped in a little more it would have made a difference. White had been pretty good of late. He had 10 points on 4-for-6 shooting and eight rebounds at Alabama. In his previous two games he was 9-for-12 from the floor, 6-for-8 from 3. At Georgia he regressed.
Ole Miss shot in the 30s for a third-straight road game, this one the lowest at 32.2 percent.
Freshman Janari Joesaar got in the game with 1 minute in the first half. He got fouled and went to the line and hit both free throws.
I know this kid doesn’t play because of defense, but he’s a skilled offensive player. He’s only attempted nine field goals this year and has hit seven of them including 2-for-3 behind the arc.
With another team shooting performance like this one maybe Joesaar gets a few more minutes. If Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy had last year’s post defenders he might be more willing to let Joesaar play through some defensive mistakes.
For the second time this week Kennedy told his players they didn’t deserve to win the game.
He’s clearly frustrated by shortcomings in the post that don’t look like they’re going to get better soon.
Now one of his best players is fading, at least on the road.
I don’t want want to lay too much blame at the feet of Summers. The reality is there are some other skilled offensive players on this roster – I’m thinking mostly of Perez and White now – and nobody rose to the challenge Saturday.
We’ll continue to keep an eye on RPI and things like that, because as Kennedy has pointed out, there are opportunities as long as there are games on the schedule, and Ole Miss went on a somewhat magical March run last year.
The Rebels’ RPI is a messy 68 right now. That could change with wins against Kentucky Tuesday night and Florida Saturday.
That could happen, because sometimes the unexpected happens, like an earthquake in Georgia on Friday night.
But I’m not seeing enough from Ole Miss in the post to make me think it’s about to spring a couple of upsets on the SEC’s top two teams even though they’re home games.
Kennedy used the word “toughness” to talk about the missing ingredient from his bigs. I’ve used the word physicality there. They both fit.
I wish I had kept count of how many times Ole Miss missed a tip, a follow-up, a layup … some type of shot right at the rim.
Those misses were plentiful, and any single make among them would have tipped a critical road game the Rebels’ way.
Toughness shows up in in making that shot at the rim. It shows up in the “want to” that you have to have with rebounding. So much of rebounding is about effort and intensity. Size and quickness matters, but players who make rebounding a priority usually seem to find themselves in good position.
South Carolina guard Michael Carrera comes to mind there.
I liked what I saw from Dwight Coleby yesterday. He showed improvement in his ability to stay on the floor without fouling.
It would have been good to see Coleby with a little more production in the second half, but his playing time was less after halftime also.
Coleby was better. He and Sebastian Saiz have the potential to be good post players. Whether that intensity increases, that drive to really go after the ball and rebound hard, remains to be seen.