Three takeaways from Ole Miss’ loss to South Carolina
The Ole Miss men’s basketball team is looking to regroup after the Rebels (10-7, 1-4 SEC) suffered a 67-56 loss on the road Saturday night against South Carolina (14-3, 4-0). The Gamecocks, who have yet to drop a game in Southeastern Conference play, have not lost since a 70-54 road defeat at the hands of the Memphis Tigers on Dec. 30. Ole Miss, on the other hand, has lost two straight in league play, falling to 0-7 against the RPI Top 50.
Here are three takeaways from Ole Miss’ loss to South Carolina:
1. Foul trouble
Foul trouble hurt Ole Miss and showed how thin the Rebels really are. Junior forward Marcanvis Hymon was called for four fouls in the first half. Four more Ole Miss players (Terence Davis, Sebastian Saiz, Justas Furmanavicius, and Rasheed Brooks) finished with four fouls each—on a team with only eight available bodies.
With Ole Miss in foul trouble and limited with its roster, the Rebels’ defense couldn’t play physical against a South Carolina team that only averaged 72.0 points per game, ranking the Gamecocks 226th out of 351 Division I Basketball programs.
2. Rebels’ offense out of sync without Burnett
Deandre Burnett was at Saturday night’s game against the Gamecocks but was in a walking boot after suffering a high ankle sprain injury against Georgia on Wednesday night. Burnett’s offensive presence (18.0 points per game) was truly missed as the Rebels couldn’t muster a steady offense against USC.
Ole Miss shot 30.9 percent (17 of 55) from the field, a percentage boosted when the Rebels made four of their last six shots.
Redshirt junior Cullen Neal led the Rebels with 12 points. Saiz added 11 points and 15 rebounds for his 20th career double-double, with 11 of those coming this season. Nonetheless, Ole Miss’ 56 points were the second-lowest scoring effort of the season.
Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Rebels as they tallied 21 against South Carolina. The Gamecocks converted those miscues into 20 points. Ole Miss ranks dead last in the SEC in turnovers per game (15.4).
Ole Miss’ four SEC losses have come by seven points to Florida; 11 points to South Carolina; 22 to Georgia; and 23 to Kentucky. Andy Kennedy is the longest-tenured coach in the SEC at 11 years, and he finds his team looking at a 1-4 record in league play, leaving some questioning if this team can turn things around in order to make a postseason push.
Quote of the Night
Following his team’s loss to the Gamecocks, Kennedy was obvious displeased with the performance. “My group is awfully soft. I hate to say that as a head coach,” Kennedy said about his team’s physicality.
Ole Miss hosts Tennessee on Tuesday (8:00 p.m., SECN). The Vols were on the verge of falling to 1-4 in league play but defeated Vanderbilt, 87-75, inside Memorial Gym in Nashville, Tennessee.
(Feature image credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)