Ole Miss played approximately 35 minutes of dominant basketball on Saturday afternoon in Oxford, but in the end they couldn’t hold on in overtime and lost, 83-80, to Virginia Tech. This is the second year in a row that the Hokies have beaten Andy Kennedy’s club.
Terence Davis was a monster on both ends of the floor, scoring 17 points, hauling in seven rebounds, contributing five assists, and slamming down two thunderous blocks besides. Breein Tyree also scored 17 for the Basketsharks, and despite his diminutive stature, he led the team with eight rebounds. Sure, why not.
Ole Miss led by as much as 39-29 coming out of halftime against KenPom’s No. 36 ranked team. Virginia Tech is likely tournament bound this year, even though the Hokies play in the loaded ACC. A win here or against Utah back in November would have provided one or a pair of feathers in Ole Miss hoops’ collective cap, and they couldn’t pull through. The Rebs’ last real out-of-conference opportunity rests in the form of Texas in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, which will punctuate the midpoint of conference play in January.
This game was exciting as all hell, though.
Down two with 11 seconds remaining in regulation, the Rebs managed a steal directly under the Hokies’ basket and they worked the ball to Markel Crawford, who laid in the game-tying twofer. That forced the second overtime game that Ole Miss has played in six days, the first being an overtime loss to South Dakota State last week.
The Hokies gained some separation in the early portion of the extra five minutes, but the Rebs managed to foul their way back into it with under a minute remaining. With 1:56 remaining, and down 81-78, they for some reason let 10 seconds slip off the clock before offering up a terrible Bruce Stevens three point attempt from the key. From there the Hokies would not relinquish the advantage and that was that.
This team has room to grow, but they’re talented and fun to watch.
The biggest problem point to date is the ability to defend without drawing fouls. Davis drew two early in the first frame and had to sit for a large chunk of it. He cleaned himself up in the second and ended the game with just four, but his foul struggles — and Deandre Burnett’s — can’t keep them out of commission for extended stretches.
Still, the offense is potent. It currently ranks No. 41 in KenPom’s adjusted offense rating, scoring just over 122 points per 100 possessions. The defense, however, ranks down at No. 102 in adjusted defense, allowing 102 points per 100 defensive sets.
Just judging from an eye test, though, this platoon here is athletic, fast, and clearly out to prove something. They obviously love playing for AK, as evidenced by Kennedy and Davis going full SCREAM AT EACH OTHER TO PUMP UP after a particularly impressive 90-feet effort by TD.