Neither team looked very polished, and no individual players stood out, but in a game where both teams shot under 40%, the Rebels stifling zone defense ended up being the difference.
While the game ended up being a 60-53 Rebel victory, it wasn’t always that low scoring. Both teams got off to a hot start, and at the under-16 timeout, the scoreboard read 11-10 in favor of Ole Miss. However, that did not last. Both offenses disappeared for the remainder of the half until a late surge from Ole Miss sent them into halftime up 9.
It looked like Ole Miss could pull away from the Tigers in the second half, but an 11-0 run spearheaded by Kobe Brown tied the game for the Tigers.
The Mizzou Arena crowd made their voices heard during the run, and they tried to will their Tigers to a victory. However, Mizzou’s lack of a go-to scoring option plagued them all night as they were unable to pull away from the Rebels.
Much like the conclusion of the first half, the Tiger offense faltered down the stretch of the second half as well. Allowing only 3 points in the final three minutes, the Ole Miss zone once again prevailed for the Rebels over the Tigers.
“I just feel like every time we play them it’s going to be a dog fight… at a certain point we got caught up looking for a foul,” said Jeremiah Tilmon about the Tigers performance down the stretch, and Mark Smith added, “We were stagnant towards the end. We were getting the ball in spots we wanted, but it just stuck, and then we didn’t get a basket in the last couple minutes.”
That zone allowed the Rebels to outscore the Tigers 10-3 in the final three minutes and secure the season sweep over a Mizzou team that has now lost 4 of their last 5.
For the Tigers, it’s back to the drawing board once more as they look for some source of offense after having no players eclipse 12 points against Ole Miss’ stingy defense.
They’ll be back in action on Saturday as they host A&M.