Ole Miss Men’s Basketball Finishes Regular Season with 63-61 Loss to Vanderbilt
OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss fell to Vanderbilt, 63-61, Saturday in the SJB Pavilion on Senior Night for the Rebels. Truth be told, neither a win nor loss against Vanderbilt would have changed a lot for Ole Miss when it comes to the upcoming SEC tournament. The Rebels are locked into a first-round contest against Missouri in Tampa.
That being said, this game was an opportunity to send the seniors out of Oxford on a good note. Three Rebels participated in the Senior Day ceremony: Jarkel Joiner, Nysier Brooks, and John McBride.
Thank you seniors ❤️💙 pic.twitter.com/GPf01okj6u
— Ole Miss Men’s Basketball (@OleMissMBB) March 5, 2022
Joiner has the opportunity to come back if he chooses as he has a COVID-year of eligibility remaining. Transfer Brooks has used all his eligibility. In his sixth year (first at Ole Miss) Brooks has had statistically the best season of his career. McBride has been a walk-on for the Rebels who is widely praised as a great teammate.
In the hard-fought contest against the Commodores, Ole Miss came up just short.
“We’ve been involved with a lot of these games this year, where it’s a one possession game at the end, and if you go out tonight and watch some college basketball, you’ll see plays being made at the end of games, and we just weren’t able to,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis.
“Give Vanderbilt credit. Scotty Pippen Jr., First Team All-League player, and he made some plays down the stretch. Tough loss for us at home for sure.”
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
Trailing 63-61, Ole Miss had two opportunities to get a go-ahead bucket or a tie opportunity. The first was a three from Matthew Murrell that rimmed out followed by a James White-contested jumper that missed. Ole Miss caps off the regular season with a 13-18 record. In regular-season conference play, the Rebels finish at 4-14.
Ole Miss couldn’t build on a double-digit lead in the first half. Some first-half foul troubles forced head coach Kermit Davis to go to his bench, allowing Vanderbilt to cut the lead before halftime. Ole Miss shot an impressive 50% from the field in the first half but like other instances, this year’s second-half struggles took their toll and played a role in the outcome of this game.
After the hot-shooting start in the first, Ole Miss shot 34.5% from the field in the second half The biggest issue was finding someone to complement Matthew Murrell’s scoring output in the second. Murrell notched 13 of his 15 points in the second half and shot 5/10. The Commodores outscored Ole Miss 37-28 in the second half. Vanderbilt can attribute a lot of that to their 8 3PM.
Vanderbilt was led by Scotty Pippen Jr. who finished with a game-high 22 points on 7-18 shooting. Jordan Wright also finished with a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds.
Vanderbilt is now 15-15 overall, 7-11 in SEC play.
The Rebels got a good spark from Austin Crowley who led the way early. Crowley, like Murrell, scored 15 for the game including 11 in the first half. Those two finished with fifteen, and Nysier Brooks was the only other Rebel to finish in double figures as he tallied 12 points and 5 rebounds.
Overall, Ole Miss shot 42% from the field and lost the rebounding battle, 35-33.
The 13th-seeded Rebels will travel to Tampa for a first-round SEC Tournament matchup against No. 12 seed Missouri (11-20, 5-13 SEC) on Wednesday. Tipoff for the postseason clash is scheduled for 5 p.m. CT on SEC Network.
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.