Ole Miss basketball has now lost five in a row and eight of its last ten games with a loss on Tuesday to Auburn, 82-73.
Matthew Murrell was the bright spot offensively scoring 24 points to lead the team, and Tye Fagan came off the bench to score 13 points. The Rebels (8-8, 0-4 SEC) led the Tigers (13-3, 3-1 SEC) at halftime by one point and at times seemed poised early on to make this an upset.
However, Auburn leaned on its transition offense for an early run in the second half to put this game away. In less than eight minutes of play, Auburn outscored Ole Miss 17-6 to build a ten point lead into the second half. From there, the teams traded baskets until the end of the game.
This really just seems like the end of the Rod Barnes era where the roster seems unwilling or unmotivated or incapable of stringing together two halves of basketball in SEC play. The 2019-2020 version of the Rebels under Kermit Davis started 0-5 in SEC play only to rebound to a 6-12 final conference record.
Right now, there has been two seasons Davis can hang his tenure on at Ole Miss - his first season with Andy Kennedy’s players where it made the NCAA tournament and the ‘21-’22 season where the team posted a 10-8 conference record under COVID protocols and were quickly ousted from the NIT.
To compound issues, Davis seems to be calling out players, specifically Daeshun Ruffin who is recovering from an ACL tear last February for “bad body language” and “needing better practice effort”, according to reports.
It’s not a good look for the fifth year coach, but it’s also probably true that Ole Miss’ coaching staff certainly didn’t think this group of players wouldn’t progress a little more than they have this season.
No one wants to be where the Rebels are right now, obviously, but here we are. Ole Miss plays at home against Georgia on Saturday at 12 p.m. CST.
In more encouraging news, baseball season is only 37 days away.