After a first half in which both teams gave homage to the #SECBasketballFever gods, LSU got itself in gear in the second half, doing things Ole Miss could not and is not capable of doing, on its way to an 83-69 win. The Tigers’ size and athleticism, particularly that of their big men, allowed them to turn Ole Miss’ half-court offense into a machine that lacked every bit of oil.
The Tigers teetered on the edge of blowing the game open in the second half, pushing their lead to double digits several times from the 10-minute mark to the eight-minute mark, but Ole Miss, despite offensive struggles, refused to yield and kept the game within single digits until the final two minutes. In the end, LSU’s size and future NBA dudes were too much for Ole Miss to overcome, denying us the opportunity to sip that tea on a Tuesday night.
The Rebels finished shooting 40.6 percent from the floor, but they were an abysmal 28.6 percent from three (8-of-28) and committed 16 turnovers, which were in no way maddening at all and very good for everyone’s mental health. I have watched as many as seven Ole Miss games this season, and it was the first time I’ve seen them cough and sputter to find even a semi-uncontested shot.
Defensively, Ole Miss held up fairly well against LSU’s post players (all things considered), but the Tigers’ guards wrecked the Rebels. Marion Taylor, Skylar Mays, and Tremont Waters combined to score 46 points. When Ole Miss did make those late pushes on offense to make things interesting, they couldn’t string together any defensive stops, which, according to the Wikipedia page on basketball, is not a way to win games.
Full credit for the win goes to LSU and head coach Will Wade, who was allegedly (ALLEGEDLY, FRIENDS) caught on a wiretapped phone call* discussing croots and getting them money, marking the second time in three games Ole Miss has battled programs affected by the FBI, which took in interest in cheating other than loaner cars and sleeping on couches. At times, the Tigers did not have their best stuff, but they got a result on the road against a team that had won 10 straight.
*Using a burner phone (maybe?) in the office qualifies him to work on Hugh Freeze’s staff at Liberty.
For Ole Miss, it marks the end of a delightful sprint out of the gate in conference play (prayers sent to the degenerates who had us at -3.5 tonight; smh, KNOW YOUR TEAM, BROS AND LADYBROS). I think the last time Ole Miss sports were fun was the Texas Tech game to start the 2018 football season, so thanks to Kermit Davis’ group for this blip of joy.
The good news is that not every team Ole Miss plays the rest of the season will look like LSU. The Rebels’ lack of size and depth in the post will catch up to them again, but we’ve seen enough to know they’ll be a tough team to beat. Given where our expectations were coming in to the season, we’re still playing with house money, which is the best kind of money.
Next chance to sip that tea is Saturday against Arkansas in Oxford.