By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
– Looking back: The Rebels won twice on the week, beating LSU 72-59 on Senior Night in Oxford on Thursday, then rallying from 11 points back in the last 5:02 to beat Arkansas 68-66 in Fayetteville on Saturday.
Ole Miss had trouble with LSU until deep into the second half when a defensive adjustment helped slow down Tigers guard Bo Spencer, who went 5-for-11 from 3-point range. The Rebels held LSU star Tasmin Mitchell to 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting.
At Arkansas, Razorbacks post players Mike Washington and Marshawn Powell, who combed for 41 points in an 80-73 win in Oxford, combined for just 17. Ole Miss freshman Reggie Buckner fouled out late but not before getting four blocked shots.
Chris Warren was the difference for Ole Miss with 31 points. Warren was 11-for-17 from the floor, 5-for-9 from the arc, including the go-ahead 3 with less than a minute to play.
– Looking ahead: The Rebels are the West No. 2 seed with a first-round bye for the SEC tournament. They play the Tennessee-LSU winner on Friday.
– Who’s hot: Warren was 18-for-27 from the floor (67 percent), 10-for-16 from 3-point range (62.5 percent) and scored 53 points for the week.
– Who’s not: Eniel Polynice, averaging 10 points a game, reportedly quit the team over a playing time dispute after the LSU game but asked to be reinstated. His status was termed as “suspended indefinitely” in a news release emailed 30 minutes before the tip at Arkansas.
– RPI watch: Ole Miss heads to Nashville with an RPI of 56.
– Bottom line: What looked like a far-fetched plan to reach the NCAA tournament looks doable now.
The Rebels expect to play Tennessee on Friday, and a win over the 16th-ranked Vols would give them an impressive resume to take into Selection Sunday.
Other players need to step up big to take some heat off Warren to make that happen. Polynice with his head on straight can help this team. If his attitude is not right, then his absence helps team chemistry.