Ole Miss slides past Missouri, 80-77
OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss has been in close games all season long and Rebels’ head coach Andy Kennedy is getting used to it.
Just as they did in Columbia earlier this season, the Missouri Tigers made things interesting Saturday in Oxford, trading baskets with Ole Miss as the Rebels were trying to put the game away for good.
But some clutch scores late in the second half, along with some miscues from the Tigers, propelled Ole Miss (18-11, 9-7 Southeastern Conference) to the 80-77 victory over Missouri for the season sweep.
Deandre Burnett led the Rebels with a game-high 28 points, 13 of which came from the free throw line. He was 5 of 11 from the field.
The Rebels picked up the victory, but it wasn’t easy as the Tigers matched Ole Miss shot for shot.
The Rebels built their lead to double figures on multiple occasions, but Missouri kept crawling its way back into the game off strong outside shooting from its perimeter players. Frankie Hughes’ 3-pointer cut the Tigers’ deficit to 58-54 after once trailing 58-47.
Hughes finished with a team-high 22 points for the Tigers on 6 of 16 shooting. Jordan Barnett added 14, while Cullen VanLeer scored 10.
Later in the game, Missouri (7-21, 2-14) took its first lead of the second half off of two free throws from VanLeer that gave the Tigers a 72-71 lead. His free throws came after Marcanvis Hymon was called for a technical foul following a hard hit on Jordan Geist. Geist had 11 points on 5 of 10 shooting.
But the Mizzou lead was short lived after Sebastian Saiz knocked down his second 3-pointer of the game to give the Rebels a 74-72 lead, and Ole Miss didn’t look back.
Terence Davis and Breein Tyree made clutch shots towards the end, and Burnett sealed the win with two foul shots with 17 seconds to go.
Tyree finished with 15 points while Davis and Saiz each added 10. Saiz also grabbed seven rebounds.
As for Kennedy, he wasn’t complaining about the game being close.
“Our margin for error is just too small. Typically, if it’s going to be a blowout, it’s not going to be good for us, so I want a close one. We have lived in this world all year.”
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss head coach
Like Kennedy, Tigers head coach Kim Anderson has watched his team stay in games throughout SEC play–only to find them unable to finish at the end. Missouri’s Terence Phillips and Hughes had chances to tie the game at 80, but both of their 3-point attempts bounced off the back of the rim.
The Tigers made only 14 of 41 shots in the first half, but made 20 of 35 in the second half to make the game interesting.
“I was proud of the way these guys competed,” Anderson said.
“We had a chance to win and things just didn’t go our way at the end. We tried to trap them at the end. Unfortunately, we fouled and they made free throws when they had to.”
Kim Anderson, Missouri head coach
After two foul shots from Justas Furmanavicius plus a 3 from Rasheed Brooks, the Rebels led 25-19 with 4:01 to go in the first half. But Missouri quickly scored five points to cut its deficit to one with 2:02 left. VanLeer started the short scoring spurt with a 3 from the right wing then Barnett followed with a layup on the team’s next possession.
Ole Miss was able to go into halftime with the 29-26 lead thanks to two foul shots from Burnett and Cullen Neal’s tip-in off Tyree’s missed layup.
The Rebels found ways to manage things on the court in the first half without Davis and Saiz, who sat on the bench with two fouls apiece. Both played seven minutes in the first period, with Davis scoring four points and Saiz being held scoreless.
Hughes led Missouri with 10 points in the first 20 minutes, despite making just 2 of 7 shots from the field.
Each team had players with at least three fouls. Neal had the highest for Ole Miss with four. Missouri’s Russell Woods was the only player to foul out. He picked up his fifth foul late in the second half. He finished with four points in 14 minutes of action.
- In the first meeting, Ole Miss lost the offensive rebounding battle 17-7. On Saturday, the Rebels outrebounded Missouri 13-12 (38-28 overall).
- Ole Miss is 10-3 this season when leading at halftime and 12-3 when it plays in white jerseys.
- Rebels went 27 for 29 from the foul line and 11 for 21 from 3-point range.
- In the first meeting, Missouri made 11 of 25 from 3-point range. On Saturday, the Tigers were 10 of 30, which was part of the reason Missouri was competitive throughout the game.
- The Tigers are still winless on the road in SEC play (0-8).
Ole Miss travels to Alabama on Wednesday (8:30 p.m., SECN).
Missouri hosts Texas A&M on Tuesday (7:00 p.m., SECN).
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)