Editor’s Note: We at the Cup apologize for the bad BBQ takes yesterday. Sometimes mistakes are made, and for that we are sorry. Ole Miss made up for this mishap with a 74-69 win last night to start SEC play.
Terence Davis picked up two quick fouls from the jump and would finish with just four points on 1-4 shooting, but backcourt mates Markel Crawford and Deandre Burnett picked him up by scoring 35 points on 6-13 shooting from three-point range.
You can’t start 2-0 if you don’t start 1-0.
A five point win over a Final Four team from last year to start SEC play is always a good thing, no matter how much production the Gamecocks lost from last year. Frank Martin is an elite coach and South Carolina has a top 15 defensive rating according to KenPom. Going into the new year with a win under their belt had to feel good after a tough non-conference slate. The Rebels also assisted on 75 percent of their made field goals. If they keep that up, they’ll win a bunch of SEC games.
Markel Crawford was the X-factor.
The transfer from Memphis showed poise in his SEC debut, scoring 17 points, shooting 50 percent from the field, a perfect 4-4 from the line, grabbing a couple rebounds, and getting three steals. Crawford’s play, combined with Bruce Stevens’ perfect shooting night of 4-4 from the field and 2-2 from the line, showed glimpses of what the team could be entering January.
The next two games are crucial.
Opening SEC play with a win was nice, but allowing the Gamecocks to get offensive rebounds on 35 percent of their missed shots isn’t a good habit to form. If not for the second chance opportunities, this could’ve been a blowout. Now with a trip to Athens and a rivalry game against Mississippi State in Oxford, the Rebels will need to get greedy. A 2-1 start is a must, but 3-0 could completely change the outlook on the season. After the MSU game things get dicey in a hurry. If the Rebels score and defend the interior, combined with just eight turnovers, like they did against South Carolina, they’ll like their chances against the bulldog bros.