After a breakout game for Sebastian Saiz against LSU, a lot of eyes were on the Ole Miss freshman to see if he could duplicate that performance on the road.
The performance was duplicated – though not by Saiz.
The light went on for Anthony Perez, whose success early in the game gave his self-esteem a boost.
He didn’t rebound like Saiz, but got to the free throw line where he was 10 for 12. That’s a big stat for Perez, because his game will get him to the line.
While the Rebels look for that third scorer to add to what they’re getting from guards Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers – which is quite a lot – there may be many answers, not just one.
LaDarius White, a big guard or small forward depending on time and circumstance, and small-but-quick guard Derrick Millinghaus have put up some big games but haven’t put them up consistently.
You can add Saiz and Perez to that group now, and maybe the committee approach can be successful for Ole Miss.
Henderson is scoring 19.2 points a game, Summers 18.1. It’s not easy to be the primary guys each night.
It’s also unrealistic to think that Saiz would move from his first big game to be a double-double guy.
That might not be true for Perez, a sophomore. There’s more water under the bridge with him, and it’s less about speed of the game and new surroundings as it is with Saiz.
Still, the body of work for Perez says that while talented, it’s taken him a while to become a key producer.
The Vanderbilt game – Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Nashville – will be important for him. He’s got a lot of confidence right now. Another big game could set him on his way.
The Rebels need their supplemental scoring, because there are defensive question marks, particularly in the post.
Kennedy praised the toughness of South Carolina’s guards, and it’s a trait his own need to develop.
Part of improving post defense is stopping the ball before it gets down low.
For all that Henderson brings offensively, he has defensive limitations.
A bigger defender like White might help there, but he’s often needed to play down low in the zone.
For Saiz and Dwight Coleby, also a freshman, defense is part of the ongoing growth process.
Aaron Jones and Saiz are the best rebounders on a team that struggles in that category. Foul trouble can really change the landscape for Ole Miss, and that’s why Perez’s big game could not have come at a better time.
Now he just needs to do it again.
Either Perez or someone else.
Parrish Alford (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers Ole Miss for the Daily Journal. He blogs daily at InsideOleMissSports.com