Notes and thoughts from the Rebels’ 75-71 loss to No. 2 Florida …
Martavious Newby’s postgame:
It was an inspired effort, a winning effort, as Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said, but the fact of the matter is Ole Miss fans can get out their NIT brackets now.
A win over No. 2 Florida alone — which will be No. 1 Florida when the polls are released — would not have gotten Ole Miss in the NCAA tournament, and I’m not sure the Rebels would have had the goods to finish strong and get the necessary wins to get there.
Too much inconsistency from this team. Yesterday’s effort would have won games against Alabama and Georgia and likely Kentucky.
Even with their effort there were still enough holes to come up short. Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers were each spectacular in one half but absent in the other, and they weren’t spectacular together.
Anthony Perez showed a pulse in the second half but did not factor in enough throughout the game.
Those three guys played their roles, however. Henderson led with 22 points, Summers added 20, and Perez had 10.
That trio outscored Florida’s main trio of Scottie Wilbekin, Michael Frazier and Patric Young 52-47.
The difference was in support scoring. When Henderson, Summers and Perez are on, Ole Miss needs a little — not a lot — from LaDarius White and Derrick Millinghaus and got virtually nothing. Millinghaus took one shot and missed, but did have four assists. White attempted no shot, had one rebound and one turnover in eight minutes.
There’s the game. Quality depth. Ole Miss’ better players outplayed Florida’s better players. The Gators’ support cast played their roles better, and that was the difference.
The Rebels played more man defense than they normally do, and they were pretty good with it. Kennedy said that was because of how well Florida passes and moves the ball against the zone. The man defense actually helped Ole Miss rebound better, and the Rebels were plus-2 at halftime.
I thought Ole Miss bigs battled and gave good effort in the zone as well. Aaron Jones’ nine rebounds were a game-high, and Martavious Newby had six in 17 minutes of play.
But at the end, the numbers still tilted to Florida. The Gators got to more loose balls and finished plus-2 on the glass. Both teams had 15 offensive rebounds, but the Gators got more done — a lot more — with theirs, scoring 21 second-chance points to the Rebels’ eight.
Henderson was hot in the first half, but Florida did a better job against him in in the second, pushing him farther away from the basket. That created space for Summers to get inside, and he took advantage of that.
If the Rebels can duplicate the effort they’ll get a few more wins down the stretch. The last four for Ole Miss includes Alabama Wednesday, then at Texas A&M, at Arkansas and Vanderbilt back home.
There aren’t any marquee wins to be had there, and Ole Miss — with an RPI of 81 according to ESPN — will have to win a second-straight SEC tournament title to get back to the NCAAs.