Rebels, Bulldogs turn to rivalry

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

Ole Miss miss coach Andy Kennedy hopes the Rebels can rebound from a tough week with a win against their in-state rival.
After winning their first six SEC games – the best conference start in school history – the No. 16-ranked Rebels have dropped their last two games and have lost two key players to injury.
Backup forward Aaron Jones is done for the year with an ACL tear, but it’s possible guard Nick Williams (foot) could play against Mississippi State on Wednesday.
More on Williams’ availability should be known today as his foot is evaluated after a cast is removed.
The Bulldogs (7-13, 2-6 SEC) have lost six straight after opening SEC play 2-0.
The latest loss came Saturday by a single point at home when LSU guard Anthony Hickey hit a floater in the lane over two defenders with 1.5 seconds left.
“We can bounce back from it,” MSU center Gavin Ware said. “It’s just the simple stuff, just the simple things. If we just go over film and we just watch the simple stuff we mess up on, we’ll get it right.”
The Rebels scored 64 points at Florida against the SEC’s top defensive team but still lost by 14 points. Ole Miss fell behind early in the first half and every time it would shave some points off the deficit, Florida would push the lead out again.
“I wanted to put some game pressure on them. Nobody’s put any game pressure on them in SEC play in this building,” Kennedy said.
The Rebels and Bulldogs split last year’s series, each team winning at home.
later in the week
MSU remains on the road Saturday, facing Florida for the second time in two weeks. The tip at the O’Connell Center is at 4 p.m. The Gators defeated the Bulldogs 82-47 in Starkville on Jan. 26.
After the MSU game, Ole Miss is back on the road with a noon tip at Missouri on Saturday.
The Tigers were ranked No. 10 when Ole Miss defeated Missouri 64-49 in Oxford on Jan. 12.
“The first three weeks were pretty good for the Rebels. This has been a tough week for us on a number of fronts,” Kennedy said. “We’ve got to get home, get healthy and get our focus on the next challenge.”
parrish.alford@journalinc.com