Ghosts of Egg Bowl past were in the Pavilion Saturday to see Ole Miss score a comeback victory over Mississippi State. A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf were shown on the video board early in the game still laughing about our large son, DeKaylin, peeing in the MSU end zone on Thanksgiving, and Matt Luke pumped up the crowd in the second half.
The Bulldogs led for most of the afternoon, building up a 51-42 lead with 8:21 to go in the game, before Ole Miss fell into a half court trap and never looked back. The Rebels finished the game on a 22-7 run and end up winning by six, earning Andy Kennedy his 100th Southeastern Conference win of his career.
Here’s what we learned:
Breein Tyree can take over a game.
With his ability to get to the rim and around the big men inside for MSU, Tyree completely changed the tone for the Rebels. Struggling to score and shooting just 25% from three-point range, Tyree scored all 16 of his points in the second half. Tyree turned the ball over just twice while running the point and helped force MSU into 14 turnovers.
After scoring 17 in Athens, Tyree is playing his best ball as SEC play gets ramped up. His assist totals are down, just four in his last three games with 26 coming in the six before that. If he can keep up the scoring pace and find the the open man at the three-point line, look out.
Ole Miss needs Terence Davis.
I’m not sure how many more 1-of-13 shooting nights from Davis that the Rebels can overcome this year. Davis struggled in the first half and it looked like Kennedy told him to shoot through it, and that he did. Davis finished 0-of-8 from three-point range and missed his only two free throws.
The free throws came at a good time and should he have made the pair, perhaps the night turns out differently. Getting good shooters to the line is a recipe for turning a bad night around. That wasn’t the case tonight and it nearly cost the Rebels.
Davis won’t shoot like this forever, but you can sense his frustration growing. Davis’ plight is the best argument for throwing in a game against Georgia State or Eastern Illinois in the middle of January. That would be a sight for Davis’ sore eyes.
Things are about to get a lot tougher.
The Rebels now travel to Auburn, host Florida, and then travel to Texas A&M and Arkansas. KenPom gives them a 37% chance to beat Florida, and less than 20% in each of the road games. Getting through this stretch at 1-3 will be difficult and anything beyond that is something to build on.
Texas A&M has dropped their first three SEC games but hasn’t had the same starting lineup yet due to suspensions and injuries. Unfortunately they’re healing up and the Aggies are the best team in the SEC when they’re healthy. Auburn dropped a neutral site game to Temple the week before Thanksgiving but moved to 14-1 after a road win in Knoxville and an 11 point victory over Arkansas Saturday. Bruce Pearl has the Tigers rolling in year four and the Rebels trip to the Plains Tuesday comes at a critical time for Ole Miss.