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Ole Miss drops ugly loss to Iowa State, 87-73

That makes Ole Miss 0-6 in the SEC-Big 12 challenge.

NCAA Basketball: Iowa State at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Rebs never held a lead on Saturday in Oxford, and they dropped their sixth-straight SEC-Big 12 challenge game, 87-73. Downright ugly stuff.

It took nearly two minutes for either team to score, but Iowa State jumped out to a 5-0 lead on back-to-back makes, which immediately prompted a Kermit Davis timeout. The Rebs had by that point missed five-straight shot attempts and looked listless around the rim. Further still, Ole Miss’ first four points came from free throws, while ISU dropped makes from all over the floor.

It certainly didn’t help matters that the Rebs missed their first EIGHT attempts from the floor, but their defensive sets buttoned up at key moments to keep the proceedings within reason through the first half. After trailing by as many as 12 points in the frame, they went to the locker room down, 43-38, still very much in the game.

Ole Miss tightened up to start the second half, though Iowa State’s athleticism muscled the Cyclones out to a 51-44 advantage four minutes into the period. Terence Davis nabbed an impressive tip-in, Blake Hinson found a timely offensive rebound and a foul, but no one else was able to contribute meaningful action. Only Cyclone turnovers were able to keep the Rebs within striking distance.

As the second period wore on, though, Iowa State’s shooters got hotter and hotter while Ole Miss continuously failed to find the net, and now the Rebs’ short stint in this year’s top 25 is probably over come Monday.

Ole Miss just got out-shot.

The Rebels’ offense has been a point of pride this season, with the team collectively shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor coming in to Saturday’s bout. Iowa State entered the game shooting in the same neighborhood at 47 percent, and they picked apart The Pavilion’s buckets on Saturday.

When it was all said and done, the Cyclones shot nearly 70 percent from the floor, and 77 percent in the second half. Ole Miss shot just 37 percent.

Ole Miss is probably out of the top 25, but the Rebs’ tournament prospects aren’t necessarily dead.

If one can speak in terms of a “good loss,” this game is probably one of those. Iowa State is a damn fine basketball shop, and they’re a lock for at least an at-large bid to the tournament.

Rebel hoops should certainly keep their eyes on Alabama’s trajectory, however, because these past two weeks have been rough. The Rebs are 1-3 in their last four outings after breaking into the AP top 25, and the luster from that moment of excitement has certainly worn off.