Rebels drop fourth straight in 64-54 loss at Mississippi State
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss men’s basketball team dropped its fourth straight game in a 64-54 loss at Mississippi State Saturday afternoon in Starkville.
The loss dropped the Rebels to 8-7 on the season and 0-3 in conference play, the worst start in the SEC since the 0-5 start in the 2019-20 season, which was head coach Kermit Davis’ second season with the Rebels.
Davis attributed the loss to the Bulldogs to a lack of toughness from both the players and the coaches.
“When you get in a rivalry game, when you leave a gymnasium, and when you think that the other team was tougher than you, and that’s the reason you lost, that is really hard to take. They absolutely out-toughed us the last 12 minutes.”
Kermit Davis on the loss to State
Many statistics from the matchup point to a lack of toughness on both ends. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Rebels 42-34, including 17-11 on the offensive boards. Ole Miss was also outscored in the paint, 34-24.
“They beat us in 50-50 balls. They outrebounded us. Every hustle play, they made. That is just the difference in a rivalry game. It’s too bad for our team that it showed up today.”
Both teams struggled on the offensive end throughout the game, but Mississippi State was able to turn on the motors on the offensive end in the second half, leaving the Rebels behind.
After Ole Miss took its largest lead of the game, 38-31, with 12:43 to go, the Bulldogs outscored the Rebs 33-16 the rest of the way.
Matthew Murrell was the leading scorer for Ole Miss with 19 points. The only other Rebel in double-figures was Jaemyn Brakefield with 10 points. The team finished 36% from the floor and 4-17 from three-point land.
The Rebel defense up until the last half of the second half was great. Even with the offensive spurt at the end for the Bulldogs, Ole Miss held MSU to 40% shooting for the game.
“Both teams were really guarding at a high level,” Davis said. “I thought we guarded at a high level. Shots were contested.”
Murrell, a junior and one of the longest-tenured players on this Ole Miss roster, said that it is more important now than ever for him to be a leader in the locker room during this losing streak.
“I am just trying to stay level-headed as one of the leaders on the team. I always remain positive because others are going to look towards me. I’m just staying positive and being encouraging to my teammates.”
Davis’ team has a quick turnaround before facing its third ranked team of the season against Auburn on Tuesday. The Rebels may be sitting at the bottom of the SEC, but Davis understands that he needs to keep his team positive.
“We have to get positive tomorrow and get right back to try and correct some of the mistakes that we had,” Davis said. “But we all signed up for this league. We just have to go through it.”
Ole Miss (8-7, 0-3 SEC) will look to snap its four-game losing streak in a tough home matchup with current No. 22 Auburn Tuesday (Jan. 10th) night at the SJB Pavilion in Oxford. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
Trevor is a senior at Ole Miss pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Communication and Promotion. He has previous experience covering sports for another site, including a variety of Ole Miss sports. Growing up in New Orleans, La., he has the Pelicans and Saints running through his blood. He also grew up in an LSU family, but his love for Ole Miss continues to grow. Trevor hopes to cover sports back in his hometown after college. Laissez les bons temps rouler!