By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
COLUMBIA, Mo. – A change of venue changed everything for Missouri.
The Tigers dominated the glass, kept Marshall Henderson’s contributions negligible and even won the fight by keeping all their players in the game.
After Ole Miss snapped a two-game SEC skid in the mid-week against Mississippi State, the Rebels found themselves back in the loss column on Saturday afternoon, trashed 98-79 by No. 21 Missouri before a crowd of 14,013 at Mizzou Arena.
Ole Miss was the dominant team on Jan. 12, defeating then-No. 10 Missouri 64-49 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Henderson, the SEC’s leading scorer at 20.0 points a game, had hit 13 of his last 25 3-point shots but was just 2 for 8 from the arc on Saturday.
He had 16 points, as did Ole Miss point guard Jarvis Summers.
The story of the game was rebounding, however, where Missouri had a 50-32 edge. The Tigers (17-6, 6-4 SEC) had more offensive rebounds (22) than the Rebels (18-5, 7-3) had defensive rebounds (19).
Murphy Holloway and Reggie Buckner had just five rebounds combined. Holloway – the SEC leader at 10.0 per game and the Rebels’ career leader – had just one rebound.
Missouri’s Alex Oriakhi had 18 rebounds to go along 22 points and three blocked shots. As good as he was throughout, Oriakhi’s most notable action was to grab Buckner’s ankle after the two had hit the floor with 7 minutes, 31 seconds remaining.
Buckner responded by jumping up and throwing a punch. A flagrant foul was assessed to Oriakhi, but Buckner was ejected, and his status for Wednesday’s game at Texas A&M is unclear.
“The officials told me Oriakhi grabbed his ankle, which was a flagrant 1, and Reg retaliated with a punch,” Kennedy said. “That’s a flagrant 2, which means an ejection. The supervisor of officials along with our conference office will determine what happens next.”
Kennedy and Missouri coach Frank Haith both went onto the floor to help restore order, but collateral damage in the aftermath include technical fouls for Holloway and Missouri’s Laurence Bowers.
Ole Miss guard Nick Williams – back after missing two games with a foot injury – said Oriakhi had been talking before the fight.
“He did what he had to do. He had what, 22 and 18? Talk all you want to. He punked us down there,” Williams said.
The Tigers had much more than Oriakhi. Guards Phil Pressey, Keiwon Bell and Jabari Brown were a combined 10 for 18 from the arc.
Missouri was 8 for 15 from 3-point range in the first half, surpassing its Game 1 point total by sprinting to a 50-34 halftime lead.
Ole Miss scored the last seven points of the half just to trail by 16.
“We had the first possession of the second half. My hope was that we could put a couple of baskets together, make some adjustments, put some game pressure on them,” Kennedy said. “We never got to that point.”