It’s not like Ole Miss’ 69-47 blowout loss to Georgia—the Rebels’ worst offensive performance of the season—can be explained away solely by the loss of Deandre Burnett. After all, the Rebs were down by 11 points and shooting 6-of-24 from the field when their leading scorer stepped on an opponent’s foot and crumpled to the floor in pain.
But any hopes for a turnaround followed Burnett into the locker room, where he remained for the rest of the game with what was later reported as a high ankle sprain. Burnett couldn’t put any weight on his left leg as he was helped off the court about four minutes before halftime.
Andy Kennedy said Burnett, who was on crutches after the game, hadn’t been given a return timetable yet.
“You know how sprained ankles are. We’ll know a lot more tomorrow and then Friday, how quickly the swelling goes down.”
High ankle sprains can be tricky to heal. The rest of Wednesday’s blowout in Oxford proved that an Ole Miss team that’s now 1-3 in SEC play can’t afford a lengthy absence for Burnett, who ranks third in the conference with 19 points per game. He was having an off night before the injury (1-of-6 from the field), and the Rebels simply don’t have a reliable enough scorer to replace him. The athletic Terence Davis went 4-of-9 for a team-high 12 points, but isn’t consistent enough to carry the team.
Sebastian Saiz went 3-of-9 and, according to Kennedy during his postgame presser, was bothered by consistent double teams in the post—double teams that Ole Miss couldn’t break up because of its poor perimeter shooting.
The Rebels shot just 27.5 percent from the field and missed seven of its nine shots from behind the arc. On top of that, they went 17-of-32 from the charity stripe. That translated to the worst scoring output of the season, the previous low having been a 62-point outing during the loss to Middle Tennessee.
“I thought our ball movement was decent early,” AK said. “We had some looks, didn’t make ‘em. Then guys start pressing and thinking ‘I gotta go make a play, I gotta go make a play,’ and it snowballs.”
Ole Miss’ next game is at South Carolina on Saturday night.
“If we don’t improve in every area,” Kennedy mused, “we have no chance.”