LSU hands No. 18 Ole Miss its first SEC loss
OXFORD — After putting together one of their more successful weeks of basketball in recent years Ole Miss faced its first bit of adversity of the season on Tuesday. LSU defeated the No. 18 Rebels 83-69 inside the Pavilion, snapping a 10-game win streak in the process.
The loss is the first for the Rebels (13-3, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) since their 71-57 loss to Cincinnati at the Emerald Coast Classic in Niceville, Fla. on Nov. 24. A combination of sluggish play and an athletic LSU team kept the Rebels from being one of the remaining unbeaten teams in the SEC.
“We had no ball movement, offensively,” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said. “Didn’t trust the offense in the first half. Couldn’t do anything.”
Terence Davis scored a game-high 21 points. The reigning SEC Player of the Week finished the game with a double-double, pulling down 10 rebounds and also had 3 assists. K.J. Buffen scored 13 points and Breein Tyree added 12.
After heading into halftime tied at 31-all the second half is where LSU (13-3, 3-0) shined and the Rebels struggled. Following an opening three-pointer by Davis to start the final 20 minutes the Tigers worked methodically to flip the score and grab a 12-point lead with eight minutes remaining. From there the closest the Rebels could get was within six points at the five-minute mark before LSU outscored them 17-9 to close out the game.
“We ended the half in such a bad way, offensively,” Kermit Davis said. “In the second half we had defensive mistakes and live ball turnovers. Paint points for them and points off turnovers was the key to that game.”
The Rebels finished with 16 turnovers, which LSU converted into 19 points. The Tigers also edged Ole Miss in the points in the paint category 32-30.
Part of the game plan for LSU was to keep the Rebels from the free-throw line. At the charity stripe during SEC play the Rebels had outscored their opponents 61-37 at the line. On Tuesday they struggled, hitting 9-of-17.
“They’ve just been killing people from the foul line,” LSU head coach Will Wade said. “Everybody gets caught up in the three-point shooting. That’s the margins in their wins is the foul line. …If you look at (the free throw) margin, it’s 11 points and we win by 13. Luckily we were able to flip the script tonight.”
Tremont Waters led the Tigers with 20 points to go with his 9 assists, Skylar Mays and Kavell Bigby-Williams scored 14 each and Taylor added 12. Bigby-Williams also had 10 rebounds and 5 blocks.
The Rebels stay at home and will look to bounce back with Arkansas coming to town on Saturday at noon.
After the game Kermit Davis noted point guard Devontae Shuler has been dealing with a foot injury for the past week-and-a-half. It has limited Shuler in what he as been able to do, including sitting out of practices. On Tuesday Shuler played 31 minutes but finished with 6 points, 2 rebounds and six assists.
Shuler is going to get evaluated and if he ends up missing time Davis said DC Davis and Tyree could see time filling in at point guard.