Usually, the Thursday night late game at the SEC Tournament is a perfect storm for #SECBasketballFeverAfterDark that results in several hundred Kentucky fans cheering for an upset. Ole Miss, having no use for your snarky fun with that hashtag, ran a highly efficient offense to jump on Missouri in the first half, and spent the second half crushing hope on the way to an 86-74 win.
Led in the first half by Deandre Burnett’s 16 points, which included four threes and perfection from the field (6-6), and Sebastian Saiz’s 948th-ish career double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds), the Rebels were out in front by as many as 14 points in the first 20 minutes before getting to the locker room up 10. In the final 20 minutes, it was more of the same, albeit at a slower pace, as Ole Miss smashed what was left of Missouri into tiny season-ending pieces.
The only drama in the second half surrounded whether or not the Tigers could break the five-technical-foul barrier. Sadly, after getting two in about three minutes, they crashed out three shy of that goal, disappointing the hundreds in attendance.
Overall, it was somewhat unsettling to experience an Ole Miss basketball game that did not involve coming back from a large deficit, scratching and clawing to stay alive, or hanging on to survive a late whirlwind of offensive terror from an opponent. But I think we would all take feeling unsettled if it meant a mostly comfortable win.
Let’s get to the three takeaways because WHY IS IT SO LATE.
Welcome back, Deandre Burnett and Terence Davis
After a dreadful game against Alabama and missing the South Carolina game, a less-than-100-percent Burnett was aggressive and efficient on his way to 23 points on just 9 shots. Davis, who was having his own offensive struggles coming into this game, scored points, looking like the Terence Davis who played so well during stretches this season.
If Ole Miss is going to upset Arkansas and keep alive whatever glimmer of an NCAA Tournament bid remains, these two need to play like they did Thursday night. Obviously, Burnett’s health is a concern, but he doesn’t have to be the leading scorer. Andy Kennedy just needs contribution.
My Spanish isn’t great, but I believe ‘Sebas’ means “Out of the way, I will give you another double-double”
The senior piled up 14 points and 16 rebounds, while going 1-for-6 from the floor, which was most impressive, considering shots only count for two or three points. Thankfully, he took advantage of Missouri fouling him pretty much every time he touched the ball, and hit 12 of his 16 free throw attempts.
The competition will jump up somewhat Friday night, and given that he was only 2-for-13 against Arkansas a few weeks ago, he’ll need to continue that free throw excellence or be more effective from the floor. Or, you know, do both and let’s win by 20.
Even though he couldn’t hear, Andy Kennedy thinks it was a good question
This is what happens when a halftime interview intersects with a pep band playing 12 feet away.