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COLLEGE STATION — Having played some good basketball as of late, Ole Miss traveled to College Station for a key conference game against Texas A&M. It was a tale of two halves for Kermit Davis’ team Tuesday night as the Rebels ultimately lost 67-51 to the Aggies.
Ole Miss drops to 9-6 overall, 1-2 in SEC play.
It was announced prior to tipoff that the team leader Jarkel Joiner was unable to make the trip due to a lingering back injury. He is now set on Thursday to have a procedure on his back, and the timeline for recovery is approximately six weeks.
Tye Fagan got the start tonight, but he would quickly suffer an ankle injury. He was later able to return; however, it was in a reduced capacity.
The Aggies got off to a hot shooting start that set the tone. It was their ability to get inside the perimeter that would be a large reason for their success. Texas A&M shot a blistering 77.7% (14-18) from inside the arc in the first half. A former teammate of Jaemyn Brakefield at Duke, Henry Coleman III, was the leader for the Aggies tonight and he found success early. In the first half, Coleman III scored 14 points on 7-8 shooting.
Ole Miss kept it close trading runs in the first half, going back and forth as the Rebels tried to close the gap. Ole Miss would head into the half down by four, an encouraging sign despite the large shooting difference between the teams. A lot of the Rebels’ ability to stay in the contest was because they made four outside shots in the first, compared to Texas A&M’s one.
In the second half, it was a different story as it appeared that Davis’ team ran out of gas, while the Aggies continued to put together an impressive shooting performance. A&M would shoot 50% from the field in the half. A 19-3 run early in the second half pushed the game out of reach as the A&M lead would reach a high of 18.
The Aggies dominated the paint as they outscored Ole Miss 42-24 from inside.
Ole Miss was down to seven guys who played over ten minutes tonight. With injuries lingering, it’s fair to wonder how much this has affected the morale and mentality of this team? This was the third game in less than a week’s span and the physicality could have been weighing on them.
On the opposite side, Texas A&M had ten players log double-digit minutes.
“I just thought that from the start our energy level was really low compared to games like Tennessee and State. We just couldn’t get consistent play out of the gate from Matt (Murrell), Tye (Fagan) or Jaemyn (Brakefield). Daeshun (Ruffin) made a few plays, but we had no rhythm offensively and that wasn’t very tough defensively.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
Ole Miss experienced some offensive issues as the Rebels struggled to ever get things going. With the loss of Jarkel, Ole Miss has looked for others to step up to the plate, and that will have to come from more than one or two players.
The Rebels shot 7-for-22 from the field in the second half and could only muster 22 points in the half.
“We really couldn’t get a rhythm offensively…The biggest thing was not letting offense affect defense. Down the stretch, we just didn’t make the defensive plays.“
Ole Miss’ Luis Rodriquez
Ole Miss was led by Murrell who scored 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting. Daeshun Ruffin added 10 points while the duo of Jaemyn Brakefield and Nysier Brooks added 9. Overall, the Rebels shot 35% from the field on 18-of-52 shooting. They shot 5-of-22 from the perimeter and 77% from the line.
A perfect example of Ruffin's shooting gravity. The threat alone draws defenders in. Here he makes a great kick to Luis for a three pic.twitter.com/niVzh8VAOU
— T.J. (@TJOxley1) January 12, 2022
Texas A&M was led by the aforementioned Coleman III who finished with 18 points on an efficient 9-of-10 shooting. Tyrece Radford added 12 points for the Aggies. They would win the rebounding battle 28-31 as well.
Next up for Ole Miss is a contest at home on Saturday as the team hosts Auburn. That game is set to tip-off at 7:30 PM CT.
(Feature image credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports)
TJ Oxley is a current MBA student at Ole Miss after having earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo. He currently covers college hoops and the NBA Draft for the Basketball Society as well as all things Ole Miss for The Rebel Walk.