The odd timing of the SEC-Big-12 challenge came at a really bad point for Ole Miss basketball as the Rebels dropped their fifth game out of the last six at the hands of Kansas State.
The game was tight at the half, thanks in part to Ole Miss shooting 50 percent from three in the first 20 minutes. However, foul trouble, physical mismatches, and poor second-half shooting by the Rebels lead to the loss in Manhattan.
As you have probably learned by now, the Basketbears go as Stefan Moody goes, and the senior was nowhere to be found in the second half. He finished with a season-low 10 points on 3-of-6 shooting, all of which came in the first half.
On top of Moody's second-half struggles, it's games against teams like Kansas State, who has great size and physicality down low, where Ole Miss' lack of post depth gets taken advantage of. It's clear the Rebels miss Sebastian Saiz, who is recovering from eye surgery, but Ole Miss was especially bad down low Saturday against the Wildcats.
Anthony Perez led all scorers for Ole Miss with 13 points but played most of the game with foul issues and only brought down two rebounds. Gielo only added five points and three rebounds, while Terry Brutus had more fouls than points, and Marcanvis Hymon added eight points but only four rebounds AND fouled out. Not a good day at the office for the Ole Miss big men.
The Wildcats had some injury trouble of their own. Starting guard Kamau Stokes went down with an apparent knee injury in the first half and did not return. The freshman was averaging 10 points per game coming into Saturday's match-up with the Rebels.
Kansas State didn't need Stokes, though, or any outside shooting whatsoever (KSU was 3-of-19 shooting from beyond the arc) to beat the Rebels. Their second half surge came by way of their big-men, three of whom scored in double figures.
Ole Miss returns to the floor in Columbia, Mo. Wednesday to take on the struggling Tigers at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.