A few quick thoughts here.
Terrico White is amazing. He became the best player on this team when the team needed him most. For a half today it looked like he might be enough to carry the Rebels to another win.
Kentucky guarded him much harder in the second half, trying as hard as they could to limit his touches, and the Wildcats were successful for the most part.
For much of this season the Rebels had another answer when Terrico needed help, but David Huertas has been limited by his foot the last three games, and that’s affected his shooting. It hasn’t affected his pushing off and technique so much, though that’s been part of it, but his rhythm has been off because of the practice time he’s missed.
Andy Kennedy early this season talked about the need to develop a third scorer. That was painfully evident today. When you get past Terrico’s 21 and David’s 15 on the box score you see six points from Murphy Holloway, Malcolm White and Zach Graham. That’s not enough from the supporting cast.
Graham played good defense against Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks again, but Meeks is more than a 3-point shooter. He was 1-for-4 behind the arc but got his points in other ways and was 9-for-15 from the floor. A couple of times he lost Graham on the dribble and was fouled by an Ole Miss post player.
The Rebels went a stretch of 7:17 between field goals in the second half. A big part of that was due to Kentucky center Patrick Patterson. Terrico wasn’t getting off his shots, and when Huertas, Graham and others tried to get it inside, Patterson had three blocked shots in the second half.
Kennedy came into this game believing Ole Miss needed a win to be in the conversation for the NIT, and I agree. The official word on postseason will come down Sunday night, but I think the roller coaster ends here. We’ll see.
If that is in fact the case, it was a great job of coaching and bringing together players who didn’t expect to play the roles they were asked to play in late December.
Finally, with Huertas’ bruised foot and the impact that head on the Rebels’ leading scorer, Ole Miss had the injury it couldn’t overcome and ran out of gas at the end.