With 4:19 to go and up by five on La Salle, the Rebels had their largest lead of the game until that point. But that would be shortly lived, and Ole Miss would lose whatever momentum they had and struggle to put away the athletic, skilled Explorers. Here's how that happened:
- 4:01 - Sam Mills of La Salle makes a three point shot, and is fouled by Jarvis Summers in the process.
- Mills then misses his free throw, but the Rebels fail to rebound it (in spite of having a significant numbers and size advantage) and, instead the ball is put back in by Jerrell Wright. So, within a span of 18 seconds, Ole Miss lost its lead.
- Summers scores a jumper on the other end.
- Tyreek (that's an interesting way to spell that) Duren then makes a three. Now, La Salle has a one point lead with 3:05 to go.
- Henderson misses a three ball, but Buckner puts it back and is fouled. The Rebs are now up by one with a chance to be up by two.
- But, as he is wont to do, Buckner misses his free throw, which is rebounded by Sam Mills. La Salle misses on the other end, and Snoop White gets the rebound and is fouled.
- Snoop makes his first free. Misses the second. La Salle, again, gets a rebound that they shouldn't against our size advantage.
- La Salle's fouled again, then they miss their first free which is rebounded by Buckner. Timeout Ole Miss. One minute and twenty-three seconds to go. Ole Miss is up 74-72 with the ball.
- Then Jarvis Summers takes a bit of a headscratching three (why he didn't drive, I don't know), which is then rebounded by La Salle. Murphy Holloway fouls Duren on the rebound (again, why?), giving him the ball and two shots on the stripe.
- He makes them both.
- Rebel ball, Rebel timeout.
- Snoop White misses a shot, then Marshall Henderson misses, shoots again, is fouled, the foul is not called, and the ball is turned over to La Salle with less than 35 seconds to play.
- The Rebels concede the final shot to La Salle, who put it in using the Southwest Philly Floater (which, per my untrained eye, looks like any other layup I've seen, but I'm no Philadelphian).
- Then, with just 2.5 seconds to go, the Rebs don't call a timeout, shoot a dumbass halfcourt shot, and lose their chance to make the Sweet Sixteen.
But look, it's March. Weird shit happens. That's just the nature of this tournament, hence the whole "madness" bit. It's not really a loss to dwell on or get too beat up over. La Salle's a good team from a good conference, and they stuck to a very solid gameplan last night and executed down the stretch. Good on them and bad on us.
But I'll be damned if this wasn't a fun month or so of basketball. We went from "rabble rabble fire Andy Kennedy" to "wow, we're the most talked about team in college basketball right now." We won the SEC Tournament, beating Mizzou and Florida along the way. We stunned one of the best teams in the best basketball conference to open NCAA play. For a while, everyone in the college basketball watching world had their eyes on our Ole Miss Rebels. I'll be damned if this wasn't a really, really good time to be an Ole Miss fan.