I did not go to this game, and watched most of it without the audio, so my perspective may be a little different than normal. I was going to post something last night, but decided to wait and let my anger and disappointment subside a little.
The game was not nearly as close as the final score indicated. We scored 23 points in the last 3 minutes of the game to make it respectable, but we got our asses kicked for the other 35+ minutes.
In the biggest game of the year, with our tournament hopes on the line, we came out flat. We fell down 7-2, but came back to tie it at 7 before stinking up the gym for the rest of the half. In fairness, it was also the biggest game of the year for Ole Miss, and they were playing at home, on senior night, so there was no reason for us to expect it to be easy. It seemed like all the bounces were going the Rebel's way. When they jacked up a contested 3 that hit the back rim, bounced straight up about 2 feet higher than the top of the backboard, and came straight back down through the hoop, I knew it probably was not going to be our night.
They stretched the lead to 16 in the first half, but we were able to get it back down to 12 at halftime. We seemed to get a little bit of a spark after Retin stole the ball from Eminem, who then proceeded to body slam Retin in what should have resulted in a flagrant foul and an ejection. Instead, it was merely called a personal foul, and of course we didn't score. I would have sent in Dakota Slaughter, or Keon Blackledge, or any of the walkons into the game with direct instructions to punch that thug in the nose. Fines, suspensions, whatever be damned, Marshall Henderson would have been taken out of the game one way or another following that incident.
Ole Miss can score some points, and like I said, they got some incredibly lucky bounces, but this defense should never give up 87 points in a game. The offense did not help either by failing to take care of the basketball. We were very careless on our dribble drive and made poor decisions and lazy passes all night. Lacey had 5 turnovers himself.
At some point, we have to start winning big games like this. I guess you could say the Kentucky win was big, and Georgia on the road to an extent, but we failed to finish at Baton Rouge, couldn't sustain a good effort in Gainesville, and frankly failed to show up in Oxford for the biggest game of the year. Once again, I am declaring our at large tournament bid hopes dead.
On the positive side, Lacey's shot seems to be coming back, Nick Jacobs had a great game scoring 18 points, and Retin continues to give us a spark and is playing well. Releford is playing well and seems to be trying to take on more of a leadership role, but the team does not seem to respond to him. Andrew Steele only played 8 minutes and didn't do much other than turn it over a couple of times. I suspect he is still bothered by one or more of his numerous injuries.
Up next, we return home for the last regular season game of the year against the Georgia Bulldogs for a 3pm start Saturday. I know everyone is disappointed right now, but it is senior day, and quite possibly the last time Andrew Steele plays a game in Coleman Coliseum. That guy has been through a lot of adversity in his career, but always gave his best for Bama basketball, and I hope the fans will turn out to show our appreciation. Not to mention, if we beat UGA, we are still in pretty good shape to get a top 4 seed and the crucial double bye in the SEC tournament.