Arkansas had dropped four of their last five SEC games, but Saturday they played like a team on a mission, beating the visiting Rebs 97-93 in Fayetteville. The Hogs shot 59 percent from the field and 8-of-13 from three-point range in the first half while racing out to a 12-point lead at the half. Ole Miss’ defense never found a rhythm and could only claw back within three in the second half.
The Razorbacks had five players in double figures and showed why KenPom.com has them as the 23rd best offensive team in the country. Here’s what we learned:
Terence Davis looked like Terence Davis circa February 2017.
Davis’s struggles this season have been well chronicled. His poor shooting has lasted so long folks were starting to wonder if last season was the outlier. After missing his first shot of the game, Davis went 7-of-8 from the field and scored 17 points in the first half. He was perhaps the lone bright spot in the first half where Ole Miss allowed the Hogs to drop half a hundred.
Davis finished with 30 points on 67 percent shooting. With the emergence of a dominant post presence in Bruce Stevens, Ole Miss needs someone who can hit some outside shots and draw defenders away from the interior. Davis has always been that guy, today he finally showed it.
Arkansas can score, but the defensive effort was lacking
Giving up 50 points in the first half and 97 on the game really sours what was a great offensive performance all around for the Rebels. The Hogs hit 18 second half free throws, so allowing a bunch of points was to be expected. But, letting the Hogs shoot 58 percent from inside the arc and 50 percent from long range is unacceptable.
The Rebels defense had been rounding into form. Games against Florida and MSU showed Kennedy was getting the most out of his players on the defensive end. That trend didn’t continue today.
It may not mean much, but the team never gave up.
Ole Miss trailed by as many as 16 in the first half and 12 at the halfway mark of the second half. They rallied to bring the game with five on consecutive possessions but came up empty-handed on both trips. With 28 seconds left, the margin was down to three. The Rebels never had the ball with a chance to tie it up in the second half, but they never quit coming at the Razorbacks.
On the road in front of a sellout crowd behind a team playing to get into the NCAA tournament, things could have unraveled. Deandre Burnett and Breein Tyree combined for 21 second half points and helped pace the Rebels to the tune of 1.24 points per possession, their best offensive showing on the road since 2016.
Alabama and probable lottery pick Collin Sexton visit Oxford Tuesday. The Tide are winners of four in a row in the SEC and bring two of the best freshman in the SEC in town. In the midst of one of Kennedy’s rockiest seasons in Oxford, a return home to the Pavilion comes at the perfect time.