OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss looks to get back in the win column Tuesday night when the Rebels take on Missouri at 8:00 p.m. in The Pavilion.
Since their 78-66 home win over Alabama on January 23, the Rebels (11-2, 4-6 Southeastern Conference) have struggled to finish off opponents in the second half. After experiencing defensive woes against Texas and Auburn, Ole Miss ran into a buzz saw last Saturday against then-No. 18 Tennessee, who trounced the Rebels 94-61 in Knoxville.
Against the Vols, Terence Davis scored 13 points, while Deandre Burnett, the team’s leading scorer, scored seven. Burnett has averaged 20.8 points in the team’s four SEC wins. In the loss to Tennessee, the Rebels couldn’t slow down the pace of the game as the Vols made 33 of 62 shots, including 13 of 29 from 3.
Tonight (8:00 p.m. CT, SECN), the Rebels will face a Missouri team that’s starting to play its best basketball at the right time of the season.
After losing three straight, the Tigers (15-8, 5-5) put together two gritty performances against Alabama and Kentucky, defeating both teams 69-60. Against the Wildcats, Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin received production from Jontay Porter and Jeremiah Tilmon. Porter added 13 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks. Tilmon added nine points and two blocks.
Senior guard Kassius Robertson led the team with 19 points per game during the two-game winning streak. For the season, Robertson is averaging 16 points and leads the team in steals (21). Senior Jordan Barnett is putting up 14 points per contest.
Missouri may not be the biggest team in the SEC, but it’s one of the most physical out of the league’s 14 programs. The Tigers are first in the conference in rebounding defense during SEC games, allowing only 32.8 rebounds per game. Ole Miss will need to find a way to win the rebounding battle and get some offensive rhythm from its backcourt.
Ole Miss and Missouri have met 10 times, with all 10 meetings coming since the Tigers joined the SEC in 2012-13. The Rebels lead the all-time series 9-1 and have won eight straight, including a three-game sweep last season.