The Rebels (12-10, 3-6 SEC) were led by freshman phenom Daeshun Ruffin who scored 19 points before an awkward landing and what looked like possibly a hyperextended knee sidelined him in the second half. Obviously, if Ruffin is out long-term, the Rebels are pretty much without a point guard until he or Jarkel Joiner can return.
Head coach Kermit Davis said in postgame interviews that Ruffin wanted to go back into the game, but he was held out as a precaution pending an MRI.
Ole Miss built an enormous 24 point lead in the first half, and this was primarily due to extremely hot shooting - at one point the team was a scorching 70 percent from the field. I poured a bourbon on the rocks around this time as the boos from LSU fans rained down on the beleaguered Tigers.
But LSU clawed its way methodically back into the game with a defense that held the Rebel offense to only free throws for nearly 10 minutes in the second half. The Tigers cut the lead to two points in the final minutes of the game but clutch free throws from Nysier Brooks and Luis Rodriguez iced the game.
LSU coach and likely FBI informant Will Wade had been running a six game winning streak on the Rebels, so this one does feel pretty darn good for Ole Miss fans. Unfortunately, it comes at the halfway point of the SEC season, and a duplication of the first half would leave the Rebels at 6-12 in the conference.
Next up for Ole Miss is another road trip as the Rebels head to Gainesville to face Florida on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The Gators lost its first game against the Rebels, 70-54, in Oxford.