Transcript: Everything Chris Beard said after the Rebels’ loss to Auburn
OXFORD, Miss. — The Ole Miss men’s basketball team dropped a 91-77 game with No. 16 Auburn on Saturday in the SJB Pavilion.
A big second half from the visitors overcame a hot first half from the Rebels (18-4, 5-4 SEC), as the Tigers’ (18-4, 7-2 SEC) 56 points were the most scored by an opponent against Ole Miss this year. A solid offensive performance from the home team wasn’t quite enough, as the Rebels had four of their five starters score in double figures.
Here’s everything Coach Beard said after the game:
Chris Beard: Yeah, same clear message, even when the scoreboard doesn’t go our way, really thankful and appreciative of the crowd. You know, we had one of the best crowds in college basketball tonight. We’ve worked really hard to build this in our first season. And we had a nice home winning streak in November and December and January. Our fans were great to us. And now the question is let’s respond. Can’t wait to get back here and play again and put a better effort out there for the fans. But thank you for coming to the game.
Obviously really wanted to win this game today for so many reasons. You can feel the momentum building here as we build the program. So today would have been a nice one for the next step, but it just didn’t go our way. Give Auburn all the credit.
When you shoot the ball like that on the road (like Auburn did), you’re going to have a chance to beat anybody. I thought the tougher, better-conditioned team won the game in the second half. We played really well in the first half, in a lot of ways, to be up nine. We gave up a three at the end of the first half, which was a missed assignment. So really we could have been up 12 at half. Then the second half, just different side of the coin. They were the tougher team, definitely a better conditioned team in the second half. So we take responsibility for that, you know, we are a no excuse program. We didn’t play well today, especially in the second half.
Question: Just kind of talk about that second half. Y’all did a good job early on stopping (Johni) Broome in the paint, and then he finishes with 15 in the second half. What was the challenge of guarding him?
Chris Beard: He played like a veteran. You could tell he wasn’t going to let his first half affect his second half, which is a common trait of a really good player, a future pro, to put one possession behind, let’s win the next one. So I was really impressed with his poise and leadership today. He’s one of the better players in the SEC for a reason and I would say that about all their guys; they played great in the second half.
Question: What did you tell your guys when you saw them after the game wrapped up? And what was the message?
Coach Beard: Yeah, same message after every game. You know, it’s let’s hydrate, take care of your bodies tonight. We’re back to work tomorrow. So obviously a different feeling in the locker room after a loss, but same same message. It’s a long season.
Question: Was it injury-related why (Jamarion) Sharp wasn’t able to go?
Coach Beard: Sharp, we obviously missed him tonight, no doubt about it, especially playing Auburn, an opponent that we needed another big. Again it’s not an excuse. Auburn beats us tonight no matter who we have, playing the way they played in the second half. But Books (Sharp) wasn’t able to play tonight. It’s an illness, not an injury. And so at this point, he’s kind of day to day.
Question: Chris just as a whole defensively, you know the game against Auburn in Auburn, probably not great defensively either. What are some of the commonalities that you saw?
Chris Beard: Well, the first common thing is Auburn and they played really well. I thought they were composed. They were very aggressive in the second half. You’re going to look at this box score and you’re going to look at the threes. They had a special night shooting the ball, but you know, if you’re going to win, you have to win in different ways. And as obvious as the three-point defense was tonight, I thought the key was they were just driving the ball. They were getting paint touch after paint touch. Our on ball defense was was not where it needs to be in the second half. Our rim protection and help wasn’t where it needed to be. And then you know in our drops, our rotation.
So on defense you have different layers of defense. It starts on ball. Then it’s the first help guy, the rim protection, everybody drops. It’s a rotational game. And tonight there were possessions where we just failed on the first line, first insurance policy, second insurance policy. So again, give Auburn credit I thought they were very aggressive offensively. We just didn’t play Ole Miss defense in the second half. We had breakdowns at every level of our defense.
Question: And how many of those defensive discrepancies in the second half come from losing the rebounding battle?
Chris Beard: It doesn’t help for sure. I think a lot of that when you get beat driving the ball to the basket and you’re in rotations, it puts a lot of pressure on your rebounding. So, there was a lot of just simple missed block outs tonight. There were many rotational, and I thought there was just some competitive plays.
The tougher team and the better-conditioned team won the second half. I think you could say the same thing about us in the first half. We played really well in the first half in a lot of ways, and the second half there’s not much to talk about. And you guys saw it.
Question: You say better-conditioned team, what are you referring to and in February how is that something they can improve on?
Chris Beard: I thought we looked physically tired at times and I thought the mental toughness wasn’t there. You know, when you play this game, there’s going to be some times where you’re physically fatigued and that’s where mental toughness kicks in. I did not like our mental toughness tonight in a lot of areas, one area being when we get fatigued, we got guys at the scorer’s table. We can’t just stop the game. And so I thought we had multiple players tonight just take plays off when they appeared to be physically tired.
Question: As a coach, how can you kind maybe address that in practice to fix it moving forward to make sure that that doesn’t happen?
Chris Beard: Right back to the process. It doesn’t change when you when you win, or when you run out of time, which we didn’t do tonight. We got beat. So, right back to the process. It’s a long season. We’ve just got to get back to practice tomorrow. We’ve got to address it. We’ve got to have some man-to-man conversations, eye to eye. And we have to hold ourselves accountable, myself included. We obviously tried to help the guys out in the second half, and the things we were trying obviously didn’t work.
So the Ole Miss players didn’t get beat tonight. The Ole Miss organization got beat tonight, and our coaching staff is certainly a part of that, myself included.
Question: You guys dominated the turnover battle in the first half, but turned it over twice as many times as Auburn in the second half. Do you attribute that lack of mental toughness to that feat?
Chris Beard: I thought the guys pressed a little bit. You know when you’re up nine, we took their first couple of shots and that’s where a championship team has got to buckle down. You can’t let the last four minutes affect this four minutes. And I thought we did that tonight. I just didn’t think that was Ole Miss basketball out there tonight for a lot of segments. We’ve just got to play a lot better. But again, I’m not up here telling you it was all about us. Auburn played great tonight. It’s one of the best teams in the SEC, which means they’re one of the best teams in the country. I thought they they really responded in the second half.
Up next for the Rebels is a tough road game at South Carolina on Tuesday, February 6 at 5:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.