One win away from having yet another opportunity to make more fans in New York or New Jersey sad about their teams, Ole Miss was denied that chance by a Georgia Tech team that decided tonight was a good night to offense. The 271st-ranked team in adjusted offensive efficiency in Ken Pomeroy’s rankings managed to shoot 53 percent in the first half and 52 percent for the game on their way to a 74-66 win over the Rebels.
After hitting 15 three-pointers against Syracuse on Saturday, it was only only human nature that the Rebels tried to find out if that blistering outside shooting could continue for another game. RON HOWARD VOICE: It didn’t.
Ole Miss was abysmal from beyond the arc, shooting 6 of 28 (21.4 percent), made even more frustrating by the fact that they were 21 of 40 from inside the arc. Despite the number of quality looks from in close, the Rebels couldn’t break their habit of putting up threes and, combined with a steady diet of defensive breakdowns, it cost them the game.
To Ole Miss’ credit, after going through extended stretches where they trailed by double digits, the Rebels slapped together a couple of runs and pushed Georgia Tech in the final minutes of the game, closing the gap to four with just over three minutes remaining. Unfortunately, the Rebels were unable to hit the shots and get the defensive stops they needed, which allowed the Yellow Jackets to close out the game in the last three minutes with a 10-6 run.
With the loss, Ole Miss’ season is over and the college careers of Sebastian Saiz and Rasheed Brooks have reached their ends (MORE BOYZ II MEN IN YOUR HEAD). A sincere thank you to those two and good luck in whatever comes next. Also, if you need fashion tips, Andy Kennedy is one text away.
Finally, the three things we can take away from tonight.
Ole Miss’ guards did the opposite of the Syracuse game
After a sensational Saturday in the Carrier Dome, the Rebel guards, combined, went 15 of 49 from the floor (30.6 percent) tonight, which included 5 of 27 from three (18.5 percent) tonight. In a word, GROSS.
Some of that goes to Georgia Tech’s defense, which is ranked sixth in Pomeroy’s adjusted defensive efficiency rankings, but the rushed threes and lack of urgency to attack a zone defense that wasn’t good at stopping penetration didn’t make much sense.
There were baskets to be made inside the lane, yet the guards kept settling for shots from well beyond 20 feet. Not great, Bob.
Sebastian Saiz, we shall miss you
It was fitting that he closed out his career with his 4,932nd career double-double (speaking in generalities), scoring 19 points and grabbing 15 rebounds. While doing so, he also made a little bit of history:
Sebastian Saiz now the seventh player in SEC history to score 1,000 points, pull down 1,000 rebounds and record 100 blocked shots.— Neal McCready (@NealMcCready) March 22, 2017
Granted, I am not a trained historian, I think that may be good.
In all seriousness, it was great to watch Saiz grow from a freshman who showed flashes of what he could do into a senior who did as he damn well pleased. I hope he continues to drop double-doubles on all of the professional teams that think they can stop him.
Next year has the potential to be fun
Starting with Terence Davis, who did this as casually as you are about to click the play button:
Terence Davis of Ole Miss posters Ben Lemmers and friends. Wow pic.twitter.com/xLStAsvVNc— Joe Mazur (@joemazurabc11) March 22, 2017
Davis was the breakout star of this year’s team, especially from the middle of January to the end of the season. In the last 19 games, Davis scored 10 or more points in 17 games, which included 12 games of 15 points or more.
His explosiveness is something few Ole Miss basketball players, save for Terrico White, have ever had and his shooting percentages are where they need to be (48 percent from the floor, 33.8 percent from three). If he puts in the work before next season, we could have one of the league’s most dynamic players.
Throw in Breein Tyree’s continued development and full health (cc: Deandre Burnett) combined with an adequate front court and CROOTS, this team could be very entertaining next season. While many will continue to despise Andy Kennedy’s historic success, I look forward to watching him get by the many coaches who were supposed to run him out of the league years ago.