Ole Miss Drops Hard-Fought Game to Marquette, 72-78
CHARLESTON — It was a tale of two halves for both Ole Miss (2-1) and Marquette (3-1). The Rebels took the lead early, but the Golden Eagles would eventually go on a second-half rally to defeat Ole Miss, 78-72, in the opening round of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic.
“I thought our team for the first 15 or 16 minutes really competed at a high level,” head coach Kermit Davis said.
“We guarded them, took them out of a rhythm, and they made some tough, tough shots. They made a tough one at the end of the half that kind of got them going a bit. They shot 13-for-32 from three, we shot 6-for-15 from the line. That was kind of the difference in the game.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
Ole Miss is now slated to play Elon in the second round of the multi-team event.
In the first half, the Rebels dictated most of the pace. Their ball movement gave them an early offensive advantage over Marquette. A balanced offensive attack in the first saw six players shoot the ball efficiently as the Rebels went 50% from the field in the first.
Ole Miss excelled at getting the ball inside as Nysier Brooks was a big threat early on. In the first half, Brooks shot 4-4 on a variety of post-ups, alley-oops, and off the roll.
Once Ole Miss established the inside, they went outside as the Rebels shot 6-11 from deep in the first. The trio of Jarkel Joiner, AustinCrowley, and Luis Rodriquez all knocked down two triples. The group shot 55% from the field in the first half. A couple of these triples came after Ole Miss navigated Marquette head coach Shaka Smart’s diamond press.
The Rebel physicality on defense gave the Golden Eagles fits. Credit needs to be given to Nysier Brooks and Robert Allen. They limited Marquette inside the paint to only six points in the first. The big matchups were how Luis Rodriquez would guard Darryl Morsell and the duo of Jaemyn Brakefield and Allen would cover Justin Lewis.
The second half brought a flip in the contest as Marquette got the ball rolling. A strong shooting performance in from deep gave Marquette the lead and they never looked back.
Morsell scored a game-high 22 points with 13 coming in the second half. Justin Lewis was the player of the game as he notched 21 total points with 16 coming in the second half. Marquette’s ball movement in the second half resulted in a lot of triples.
Ole Miss battled foul trouble as Brooks notched some early fouls and Tye Fagan was hit with four quick fouls.
Joiner and Brooks led the way for the Rebels with 13 points apiece. Brakefield added 11, Rodriquez tallied 9, and the trio of Crowley, Fagan, and Allen all had 8.
Ole Miss finished the game shooting 47% (29-62) while Marquette shot 43% (24-56). The Rebels dominated inside the paint, outscoring Marquette 38-16. The big difference in the game came from the free-throw line as Ole Miss was only 6-15 from the line. Marquette was 17-19.
“I thought we were the toughest team in the first 15 minutes, and they were the toughest team in the first 10 minutes of the second half once they had settled in,” Davis explained.
“We just have to do everything better. We gotta be better on the ball, we gotta move the ball better…There’s a lot of different areas we can get better, but we’re a good team. We have a good team that just got beat by a good team tonight.“
Coach Davis on the loss to Marquette
Two Individual Observations
A Brake-out Coming
Jaemyn Brakefield is getting close to being “that guy.” Tonight he had 11 points on 5-9 shooting but also added five rebounds and two assists. For him, it’s all about getting more and more comfortable.
Coach Davis thinks the same and dialed up more isolation calls for Brakefield. We are starting to see the inside-out skill set that made him such a coveted recruit coming out of high school. Having a big who can attack on his own would do wonders for this team going forward.
Tye Fagan is better than what I (or anyone else) thought
Look at the box score and you see Tye Fagan played ten minutes. However, he definitely made the most of them. In that span, he scored eight points, grabbed one rebound, had an assist, and committed four fouls.
Fagan’s slashing ability really gave this team a spark late in the second half as they struggled to get points down the stretch. However, he has really impressed with his shooting ability thus far as an Ole Miss Rebel. Despite just ten minutes of action (due to fouls), it is clear he needs to be on the floor more.
Just look at this play. No one thought he was capable of this when he came in this summer.
Ole Miss now plays Elon in the first consolation round which will stream online on ESPN3 with tipoff slated for 8:00 p.m. CT Friday night.
(Feature image credit: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
TJ Oxley is the Director of Basketball Content and Senior Basketball Writer for The Rebel Walk. He has over five years of experience providing in-depth analysis of college basketball through multiple platforms. A former MBA graduate of Ole Miss, TJ started with The Rebel Walk in 2019.