Rebels Fall to Razorbacks in Closing Seconds
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – For the second time this week, the Ole Miss men’s basketball suffered a heartbreaking loss in the waning seconds of a ballgame. A Jalen Harris floater with 5.9 seconds left tumbled around the rim before falling to give Arkansas a 74-73 victory Saturday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.
The Rebels (19-10, 9-7 SEC) were led by Breein Tyree, who scored 17 of his 20 points in the second half on 8 of 14 shooting. Devontae Shuler, Terence Davis, and Bruce Stevens all joined Tyree in double figures with 12 points apiece. Ole Miss’ 53.7 field goal percentage was its best in SEC play this season.
The Razorbacks (15-14, 6-10 SEC) were led by Mason Jones, who had 22 points going 6 of 8 from behind the arc. Daniel Gafford scored 17 points on 7 of 9 shooting, while the team shot 50 percent from three (9 of 18) for the game.
Ole Miss forced the Razorbacks to come up empty on their first three possessions, allowing the visitors to jump out to an early 8-2 lead. Behind six points from Daniel Gafford, including an elbow jumper at the 14:32 mark of the first half, Arkansas used a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game.
However, the Rebels countered as Devontae Shuler took a steal all the way to the rack at the 12:40 mark. Blake Hinson made a smooth cut to the hoop shortly thereafter, and Terence Davis delivered the ball to the freshman. On the next possession, Terence Davis picked a pass at midcourt before finishing with an emphatic dunk. Davis followed with a three, and his own 7-0 run increased the cushion to eight, 21-13 at the 9:50 mark.
Dominik Olejniczak scored six straight points to keep the Rebels in front. Shuler found the seven-footer for an rim-rattling alley-oop to make it 31-24 Ole Miss. Arkansas scored the final five points of the first half as the Rebels took a 35-34 lead into the locker room. Hinson and Terence Davis scored seven points in the opening 20 minutes, while the trio of Olejniczak, Shuler and Stevens added six apiece. Ole Miss battled foul trouble in the first half with five different Rebels picking up two fouls. Gafford’s 11 points on 5 of 6 shooting paced Arkansas. Both teams shot well in the first half as Ole Miss made half of its shot for a 50 percent clip (13 of 26), while the Razorbacks were 13 of 24 (54.2 percent) from the field.
Coming out to start the second half, the Razorbacks scored the first four points to grab a three-point lead before Ole Miss countered to reclaim the advantage. The two teams continued to go back and forth with buckets, exchanging leads throughout the seesaw battle which saw 21 lead changes total, 20 coming in the second half.
Jones hit back-to-back threes to put Arkansas up four, 62-58, before Tyree put the Rebels on his back. The junior scored 13 of the team’s final 15 points, which included a tightly-contested jumper and a pair of free throws to give Ole Miss a 71-68 lead with 1:45 to go. After two Gafford free throws, Tyree made another tough bucket to get the cushion back to three. However, Gafford countered on the other end, getting the difference back to one. The Razorbacks forced an Ole Miss turnover, and Jalen Harris drove the lane for a circus layup that fell with 5.9 seconds to go. The Rebels called a timeout, but a turnover brought the game to a close.
Ole Miss returns to The Pavilion, squaring off against No. 4 Kentucky in the final home game of the season (March 5). Prior to the 8 p.m. CT tip on ESPN, the Rebels will honor their three seniors: D.C. Davis, Terence Davis and Bruce Stevens.
via. Will Redmond (Ole Miss Athletics)