Day After Observations

Notes and thoughts from the Rebels 59-57 win over Tennessee …

Jarvis Summers was 5-for-15 from the floor last night. It’s hard to declare him all the way back, but he looked better last night than he’s looked in a while.

You can’t get “back” if you keep passing up shots,and Summers had reverted to some of his old school point guard thinking with a guy like Stefan Moody so willing to take shots and so often successful.

Summers had taken only 21 shots in the last three games combined. He was just 10-for-40 (25 percent) over a five-game span before going 3-for-7 at Mississippi State.

The shots he passed up in Starkville were indicative of a confidence drain. While he wasn’t terribly efficient last night and missed some open looks, he was confident he drove the ball to both sides of the basket. Some drives were more successful than others. He missed some wide open jump shots, but he played within the offense and wasn’t hesitant.

Jarvis Summers put the ball on the floor more against the Vols. (Petre Thomas photo)

Jarvis Summers put the ball on the floor more against the Vols. (Petre Thomas photo)

The guess here is that if Summers keeps attacking he’ll hit some shots and his confidence will grow.

It needs to. The last third of the Big Three was just 2-for-7 from the floor, 1-for-5 from 3. LaDarius “Snoop” White is averaging just six points over his last three games.

It would seem to take more to qualify for Big Three inclusion. Everyone knows what White is capable of, and it would be an immense help to this team if he hit double figures a little more often.

Ole Miss has shot under 40 percent in two of its last three games. White is 6-for-25 from the floor in that span.

The Rebels didn’t really off-set that shooting with fantastic defense last night.

Tennessee was shooting 50 percent from 3 until Josh Richardson missed a relatively clean look on the Vols’ last possession..

Ole Miss was good on defense when it had to be. The Rebels forced some turnovers to get back in the game when they were down eight. The 1-3-1 zone was really good to them. They mixed some zones and played very little man until several key possessions right at the end including the last one.

Kennedy wasn’t sure the 1-3-1 would work as well as it did, but it was big in the comeback.

“That 1-3-1. I got that from Kermit Davis at Middle Tennessee State. Both Al Pinkins who worked for me who now works for Donnie and Donnie both worked for Kerm, so if there’s anybody that knows it, they know it. So I was a little concerned about that. I thought they hurt us in it some early. You can talk about it all you want, but having to score against it is completely different,” he said.

The Tennessee matchup zone caused problems for Ole Miss. The Rebels attempted 22 shots in the first half, 15 from 3-point range when they were fairly stagnant on offense.

Things were better when they started attacking in the second half. They didn’t shoot great, but they retained possession with eight offensive rebounds compared to one in the first half. Ultimately they scored more points.

Among the bigs, Sebastian Saiz continues to be efficient with a limited number of touches. He was 4-for-6 at State and 3-for-5 last night. His biggest successes come when Summers attacks though it does look like Saiz and his mates have gotten better in anticipating and handling quick passes from Summers.

Summers had eight assists last night, and he’s prone to throw the “wow” passes every now and then. As a big guy you’ve got to be ready, and the Rebels are handling the ball better down low.

ESPN has the Ole Miss RPI at 32, third in the SEC. Georgia, with a 35 RPI, is right behind and visits Tad Smith Wednesday night.

You can talk in and out and what have you. Nothing is guaranteed for Ole Miss right now, but with a win over Georgia and maybe one more it would be really hard to turn away the Rebels.

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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