Ole Miss loses to No. 24 Iowa State in rough defensive showing

Published 1:27 pm Saturday, January 26, 2019

OXFORD – In one of the worst defensive showings of the year for the Rebels, Ole Miss was unable to keep up offensively with Iowa State. They fell 87-73 to the Cyclones as part of the SEC-Big12 Challenge.

“We’ll bounce back,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “We have to have short memory. We have to have good practices. We gotta get our team back together and really, really play. We haven’t been very good this week, that’s for sure.’

Iowa State would get off to a hot start shooting in this one, shooting 62-percent from the field in the first half. They would lead by as much as 12 in the half. However, Ole Miss was able to hang around. Their ten forced turnovers in the half as well as a 16-12 run over the last five minutes of the half kept them in the game, trailing just 43-38 at halftime.

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But the hot shooting for the Cyclones never stopped. Iowa State would outscore the Rebels by another nine points in the second half, leading to the 14-point victory. They shot a simply preposterous 77-percent in the half. Many of the shots simply coming uncontested, a product of poor defense. Surely it was the worst defensive game on the year for the Rebels.

“It’s probably the best put together offensive team in college basketball,” Davis said, speaking about the Iowa State roster. “We just had a lot of defensive breakdowns. The defensive field goal percentage is ridiculously high. In these kind of games, we just have to get more players to play better.”

Losing a game where you win the turnover battle by 11 and take 14 more shots than your opponent is difficult. However, that’s exactly what happened in this one. It seems ridiculous to say the game came down to who made shots and who didn’t, but ISU made 69-percent of their shots to Ole Miss’ 36-percent.

“Sixty-nine shots is way too many. That’s way too many possessions for us. That’s just not running very good offense,” Davis said. “We’ve just gotten out of character. To give up 87 points at home, in front of that kind of crowd is really poor.”

Marial Shayok, the Big12’s leading scorer, was phenomenal again for Iowa State in this one. Shayok scored 17 points. At his size for a guard, 6-foot-6, he was also a major factor defensively for the Cyclones. True freshman Talen Horton-Tucker was arguably even better than Shayok. He accumulated 23 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.

“I think we have to listen to coach more and move the ball better. That’s why we were winning so many games because a lot of our field goals were coming off of assists,” said junior guard Breein Tyree. “I had one assist tonight and no rebounds. I have to do better than that.”

The loss drops Ole Miss to 14-5 on the year, and just 1-3 since they got ranked two weeks ago. They’ll drop out of the AP Poll this week, leading up to a Wednesday trip to Gainesville to take on Florida before coming home one week from today to play No. 22 Mississippi State.