If there was a question of how Ole Miss would respond to a blowout loss, it was answered emphatically with one of the best offensive games in decades with a 103-85 win over Florida on Wednesday.
The Rebels (14-1, 1-1 SEC) scored more than 100 points in an SEC game for the first time since 2001, but the defense set a record in the game as well recording 16 total blocks in the game led by the tallest player in college basketball Jamarion Sharp with nine. The nine blocks for Sharp tied an SEC record for most swats in a conference game and ranks fifth all time in SEC history.
It really seemed like late in the game there was a solid effort to get Sharp a double-double in points and blocks falling just short - only eight points for the big man left him one basket and one block shy.
But let’s get back to the offense, which just seemed like it could not miss as the Rebels shot 59 percent from the floor. Jaemyn Brakefield led the team in scoring with 28 points on 11 of 16 shooting while Matthew Murrell scored 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting. The team also had a very solid night from the free throw line going 17 of 20 from the charity stripe.
The game was not a complete story of domination, however as the Rebels went down early on 17-12 after a Gators 7-0 run in the first half. A little mathing and get out the ol’ Red Cup abacus... that’s a 91-68 difference by Ole Miss from there on out.
If there is anything the Rebels could improve on, it’s the offensive rebounding which has been a theme this season. The Gators logged 26 offensive rebounds to the Rebels 10 offensive boards equating to a +10 overall rebounding margin for the game. That could be an Achilles heel in closer games for the future.
Speaking of the future, next up for Ole Miss is the struggling but scrappy Vanderbilt Commodores in Oxford on Saturday. The game will tip off at noon and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.