Per the University of Mississippi charter, nothing can ever be easy for Ole Miss, which is why we were treated to a Saturday afternoon of very healthy stress on the way to a 72-71 win over Georgia.
Up one with just over five seconds to play, the Rebels dodged a last-second three-point attempt that everyone in The Pavilion and watching on television was 2,000 percent sure would find the bottom of the net after smashing off the backboard.
Fortunately for Ole Miss, #WAOM was either on a smoke break or traveled with the baseball team to New Orleans, and the Rebels were able to avoid the dreaded THAT’S A BAD LOSS, BOB. Georgia sat beyond the top 100 in NET standings and would be a quadrant two loss, and a back-to-back loss coupled with South Carolina to boot.
Though, with about 11 minutes remaining, all signs pointed to a vintage Ole Miss collapse.
Spending the first part of the second half undoing every single good thing accomplished in the first half, Ole Miss found themselves down five after taking a 10-point lead to halftime. Enter Breein Tyree ENGAGED MODE.
Tyree, who decided he was not going to let ESPN update the bad losses area of Ole Miss’ NCAA Tournament resumé graphic, scored 12 of the Rebels’ final 19 points, including nine straight in a three-minute stretch. The junior finished with a team-high 17 points and should be given the first choice of seats on the plane to the NCAA Tournament for pulling this game out of the fire.
Tyree’s efforts helped Ole Miss build a seven-point lead with four minutes to play, which was slowly chopped to pieces because, again, NEVER EASY. Terence Davis and Devontae Shuler added big shots of their own in the final three minutes, generating just enough offense to hold off Georgia.
While Tyree, Davis, and Shuler all turned in solid performances, let us take time to eyeball the work of Bruce Stevens, Dominik Olejniczak, and KJ Buffen. The front court trio combined for 21 points and 14 rebounds, which isn’t overwhelming, but it is very much in the category of WE’LL TAKE IT.
For Ole Miss to have a chance at keeping this thing going, those three have to get in that neighborhood every game. Tyree, Davis, and Shuler can’t carry the whole operation and need those three to take on some weight.
With only four regular season conference games remaining, Ole Miss is 19-8 overall and 9-5 in SEC play. One would assume that has them in the NCAA Tournament right now.
That means the formula for the next two weeks is find a way to not go 0-4 against Tennessee, Arkansas (away), Kentucky, and Missouri (away). Do that and we won’t have to debate whether we should hang an NIT appearance banner, which undoubtedly we absolutely would hang for sure right?
Ole Miss will host Tennessee Wednesday at 6 p.m. The Volunteers lost today on the road against LSU but are tied for first in the SEC and rank in the top ten nationally, meaning we will need all of Kermit’s tea superpowers.