Ole Miss and Missouri played around 20 minutes of un-televised basketball before ESPN2 switched over from West Virginia and Baylor on Tuesday, but the broadcast finally picked with Ole Miss leading Missouri, 11-9, in the midst of the first half’s under 16 break. Ole Miss managed to force overtime with seven seconds left in the game, and the Rebs managed to prevailed, 90-87, in Columbia.
Interim head coach Tony Madlock brought the boys ready to play on Tuesday night, as the Basketsharks dropped down six three pointers in the game’s first 10 minutes. Ole Miss shoots a lot of threes, but they don’t make a lot of them, and the Rebs’ range in the early going held them out to a 13-point lead in the waning minutes of the first half.
Mistakes on both ends of the floor — especially on the defensive side with fouls and poor rebounding — soon dwindled the lead down to 42-35, and Ole Miss held a tenuous lead into recess.
The Rebs hopped out to a 54-42 lead to begin the second frame, helped along by a couple of timely Rebel threes and some atrocious Missouri offensive sets. Still, those unforced errors couldn’t keep Mizzou fully out of it, as Ole Miss committed plenty of their own, and with 13 minutes left in the second half, Madlock was calling timeout just to stem the tide of a hard Tigers comeback.
Mizzou pulled to within 64-62 with less than eight minutes left in the game, their closest margin since they trailed 5-4 in the game’s opening minutes. Bruce Stevens had picked up his fourth foul after scoring six points — all in the second half — and soon enough the wheels appeared to fall off the Ole Miss bus.
Ole Miss gained a late opportunity after Bruce Stevens was fouled on a rebound opportunity, which brought the score down to 81-80 Mizzou, and the Rebs managed a crucial turnover on the Tigers’ ensuing possession. After an Ole Miss timeout with 38 seconds left in the game, Breein Tyree went iso from the elbow and missed bad, but he soon redeemed himself by netting the game-tying two to seal overtime against the third-best team in the SEC.
Here are two takeaways from Tuesday’s historic bout in Columbia.
Interim head coach Tony Madlock had the guys ready to go.
The Rebs looked aggressive and energized for considerable stretches of the first half, but they still committed egregious fouls and played bad defense to allow Mizzou to crawl back into the mix of things. After legging out a 13-point lead late in the opening frame, the teams went into the locker room separated by just seven, 42-35.
Terence Davis and Breein Tyree leapt out to become the game’s leading scorers, each downing 12 points in the first half. Davis played especially pissed off, perhaps due to the fact that he came off the bench for the second-straight game. It’s interesting that Madlock would keep TD housed on the pine for the second game in a row after Andy Kennedy did so against Mississippi State, but perhaps that consistent week-to-week doghouse help spur a rather classic TD performance.
The second half began well enough, with three Rebel scorers hitting clutch shots to rip off a 12-point lead, but that tide wasn’t strong enough to last as Mizzou fought their way back to a 64-point tie with just over seven minutes to go. From there, the Rebs fell apart for approximately 120 seconds to fall to a 70-69 deficit with five minutes left in the game, but a late field goal from the right elbow by Tyree pushed both teams into overtime.
From there, both teams traded blows back and forth, but finally Missouri made more mistakes than the Rebs to give up a costly loss at home in the final stretch of the season.
Given the week these players have had, the Rebs played admirably.
Eight days ago, Andy Kennedy announced that he was stepping down at the end of the season. After an 0-2 week, he announced his immediate resignation on Sunday afternoon. Then, these guys had to travel all the damn way up to Columbia, Mo. to play the third-best club in the SEC. Those circumstances don’t seem so conducive to executing effective basketball, especially on the road, and they held their own against some of the league’s best.
Ole Miss next gets Tennessee on Saturday, and that’ll be ugly as all hell.