Offense falters late, Ole Miss losing streak extended by LSU  

Published 9:11 pm Saturday, January 18, 2020

The 2019-20 Ole Miss basketball team is still in search of their first SEC win.

Despite working a 18-2 second half run to go up on LSU, Ole Miss simply could not score late against the Tigers, losing 80-76 to extend their losing streak to five games.

“This is really frustrating,” said senior guard Breein Tyree. “I’m trying to give this team everything I’ve got. My teammates are doing everything that they can. We just can’t get a win… I’m going to keep trying till the wheels fall off. But it’s very hard.”

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Still not back to full-strength, Ole Miss senior guard Tyree started the LSU game after missing Tuesday’s game at Florida with a badly bruised back sustained in a prior practice. Tyree would leave the game in the first half, momentarily, after he came up limping following a breakaway dunk. He only missed a few minutes, returning to score 17 first half points in a game that went to halftime tied at 36.

Early in the second half, three, three-pointers in a row for LSU sparked an 11-2 run, extending the Tiger lead to 54-45.

But Blake Hinson is fearless. Sure, he warms up to the Taylor Swift album by the same title, but the word is a great way to explain how he plays basketball. Just like LSU had a run in them initiated by the long ball, back-to-back threes by Blake Hinson began a 18-2 run for the Rebels, giving them their first lead since early in the half with 8:54 to play. Including the back-to-back makes, Hinson shot just 5 of 15 in the game.

“That run was great. We got down to a good team and we really started getting stops,” said head coach Kermit Davis. “Breein started driving the ball and they really couldn’t do much with him. We played really quality during that period of time. But then, a couple of hand checks and I don’t know. They were at the line a bunch (and got back in it).”

Yet despite finding buckets in bunches mid-way through the final frame, the Rebel offense just fell apart late. After going up 67-61 on LSU with 6:57 to play in the game, Ole Miss scored just nine points over that final stretch. The Tigers held course through the Rebel onslaught, coming all the way back for the 80-76 win.

For a stretch of over four minutes, late in the game, Ole Miss scored just two points.

Tyree, nursing that back injury, finished with 36 points, a new career high. At one point, the Rebels were shooting 2 of 12 from the free throw line in the game. Then Tyree hit seven straight free throws. He was the only Rebel to convert on a free throw. Exactly one week after Ole Miss shot 25-26 from the free throw line in a loss to Arkansas at home, the team shot 9 for 19 from the line against LSU. Ole Miss was also out-rebounded by LSU 47-31.

“Tonight the difference was the free throws,” Tyree said. “We missed 10 free throws and lost by four. If we make half of those, we’re up by one, making it more of a game. I’m not saying we’d win, but it would be a different game.”

With the loss, Ole Miss falls to 9-8 on the season and 0-4 in conference play. The Rebels will hit the road for their next two games at Tennessee and at Georgia, not playing again in the Pavilion until Jan. 28 against No. 4 Auburn.