While you were sleeping, we were torturing ourselves, watching Ole Miss do battle with Utah in Las Vegas in the wee hours of the night, only to lose 83-74 early Tuesday morning.
We cannot be totally sure this game was actually played. Or, at least the first half. Admittedly, I spent the better part of 15 game minutes searching for a way to see this game with my own two eyes. Eli Savoie was only helping so much. By the time we got a visual on T-Mobile Arena, Ole Miss was trailing, not shooting well or rebounding with much conviction. The defense was as dodgy as the stream I watched it on.
Late in the half though, Terence Davis implored the Rebels to hitch a ride on his back. Davis had 10 points, two rebounds, two assists, and one steal in the first half to do it all. After sitting for much of the second half, Davis would finish with just 10 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals.
Foul trouble plagued the Rebels.
Terence Davis had a terrific first half and was doing it all on both ends for the Rebels until he picked up his third personal foul early in the second half, and his fourth quickly after reentering around the halfway mark of the second half. Davis wasn’t the only Rebel in foul trouble as Hymon fouled out, Olejniczak played much of the second half with four fouls, and both Tyree and Stevens each had three fouls with over 12 minutes to go in the game. Of course with these fouls came free throws for Utah, where the Utes were 20-24 from the line.
An unheralded 5’8” Utah player had a career night.
Long Beach State transfer Justin Bibbins started 5-of-7 from 3-point range and was a perfect 4-of-4 from the line to put together a 23-point, four assist night. Bibbins had 27 points on the entire season, and was just 2-of-8 from deep coming into the game. It seemed like all night a Utah big man would grab a rebound and find a man at the 3-point line for an uncontested shot. Unfortunately for Ole Miss, that open man seemed to almost always be Bibbins. In the second half, as the Rebels would cut it to a single possession, a killer three would inch Utah further in front.
Deandre Burnett found a rhythm but it wasn’t enough.
If Ole Miss had won the game, Block U would be writing about how an unheralded 6’2” Miami transfer came off the bench for a career night, I suppose. It’s all about perspective. Which is why I watched this until after 1:30 in the morning. Perspective. Deandre Burnett was 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and allowed Ole Miss a punchers chance late into the second half. Burnett’s shooting was the lone bright spot for the Rebels, as the rest of the team combined to shoot just 18-for-47 (3-of-18 from deep) on the night.
Ole Miss still struggled to get quality minutes from their big men, with starters Hymon and Olejniczak combining for just four points and seven rebounds. Stevens and Furmanavicius were spark plugs off the bench with nine and seven points respectively, but allowing 37 points and 25 rebounds by Utah forwards just isn’t going to be enough against good Power 5 opponents.
The Rebels need a quick turnaround as they face Rice on Wednesday before heading back to Oxford. Thankfully for everyone, that one should end well before tonight’s game even tipped off.