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Ole Miss drops hard-fought SEC tourney game to LSU, 73-76

Ole Miss drops hard-fought SEC tourney game to LSU, 73-76

Jarkel Joiner’s career night not enough as the Rebels lose to LSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn- The Ole Miss Men’s Basketball team traveled to Nashville this week for the SEC Tournament. After beating South Carolina, 76-59, in the first game, the Rebels advanced to the quarterfinals to take on No. 3-seed LSU.

Unfortunately, Ole Miss came up just short, losing a 73-76 thriller. The loss eliminates the Rebels from the SEC Tournament.

Head coach Kermit Davis and his team knew the stakes were high and fought like it was an NCAA Tournament game because with a win, they were in — according to ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi. Now… they are forced to play the waiting game and will hope to hear their name called on Selection Sunday.

(Click here for box score.)

Ole Miss is definitely an NCAA Tournament team.

LSU head coach Will Wade after the 76-73 win over Ole Miss

First-Half Action

Early in the contest, there weren’t many jump shots being taken as both teams hoped to take advantage of the paint. Ole Miss senior Romello White would get himself going early by backing down whoever LSU put on him. He used his footwork to finish at the rim on multiple occasions in the first half.

Neither the Rebels nor the Tigers shot well outside of the paint, combining for 1/11 from three going into the locker room.

LSU connected on 40.6% of its field goals in the first half, while Ole Miss would hit 35.7% of its total shots from the court. The Rebels also shot much better from the free throw line than the Tigers, hitting 71.4% (5/7) compared to the LSU’s 33.3% (2/6).

The Rebels were able to end the half down by only two, 27-29, and were feeling fairly good about themselves after getting the stop they needed to end the half.

Second-Half Action

Down two to start the biggest half of their season, Ole Miss would come out somewhat slow and eventually found themselves down by as much as 11 at one point. After a much-needed timeout, the Rebels gathered themselves and went on a run to get themselves back into the game.

Junior guard Jarkel Joiner was huge in Ole Miss’ offense, making tough shot after tough shot. He scored 15+ points in the second half, including a stretch where he scored 13 of the Rebs’ 17 points. His biggest shot put Ole Miss up by five which was a step-back, and-one, three point shot.

Then it was LSU who started to catch fire and knock down some cold-blooded three-point shots. Tigers’ forward Darius Days hit two big threes, including a devastating response after Devontae Shuler’s clutch three pointer that cut the deficit to just one with one minute to go.

Ole Miss would finish the game with their total shooting percentage at 40.6% and 31.6% from three. Romello finished with 20 points on 7/8 shooting to go with 13 rebounds. Shuler scored 7 on 3/13 shooting and notched three assists and rebounds.

That was a high-level SEC tournament game. I’m so proud of our team, that’s a hugely disappointed team in the locker room. Proud of our team, we played like an NCAA Tournament team. We’re going to stay in Nashville and wait for Selection Sunday.” 

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis

The Case

If Ole Miss had defeated LSU, the Rebels were widely thought to have earned a bid into the NCAA tournament. Technically, even after the loss to LSU, Ole Miss still has a chance to make it into March Madness, but it won’t be an easy task. The Rebels have a total of seven Quad 1 and Quad 2 wins, along with a 40 BPI (ESPN). They’ve also managed to win eight of their last 11 games and lost to a really solid LSU team by just three points. The case is there but, again, now they play the waiting game.

The accomplishments of this Ole Miss team far outweigh any other team also hoping and waiting to be selected.

UP NEXT: 

Selection Sunday at 5:00 p.m. CT on your local CBS affiliate.

(Feature image credit courtesy of Ole Miss Men’s Basketball.)

About The Author

Tyler Komis

Tyler Komis is currently a sophomore at the University of Mississippi majoring in Broadcast Journalism. The Princeton, New Jersey native is also a reporter for the school's media center with Rebel Radio.

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