OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – A rough night shooting the basketball wrote another chapter in a frustrating season for Ole Miss as it fell to Arkansas 75-64 Tuesday night at The Pavilion.
The loss dropped the Rebels to 11-15 (4-9 SEC) on the year. Arkansas improved to 18-8 (7-6 SEC).
Ole Miss jumped out to an early 18-13 lead behind nine early points from Deandre Burnett. The senior guard finished with 24 points on 6 of 15 shooting. Terence Davis had a career-high 13 rebounds.
Arkansas began to defend better over the course of the last eight minutes of the half and took a 34-23 lead into halftime despite the Rebels getting Razorback big man Daniel Gafford into foul trouble. The freshman forward sat most of the first half with two fouls.
“If you were to script it as a coach, it is getting Gafford out of the game early and staying close to their two all-league players,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “They got great contributions from their role guys and that typically doesn’t happen on the road. All credit to Arkansas, but this was about Ole Miss.”
The deficit was trimmed in the early minutes of the second half. A 6-0 spurt from Burnett cut it to two at 36-34, despite the Rebels being just 9 of 37 from the field at the time. A Devontae Shuler triple cut the game to one point at 53-52 with just under nine minutes left, but Arkansas sealed the game with a 20-1 run over the next five minutes. Gafford spent much more time on the floor in the second half and recorded 14 points. He had 19 for the game and six rebounds.
“He’s a really good player and the rest of the country is starting to take notice of that,” Kennedy said. “He’s long, he’s athletic and he’s smart enough, even as a freshman, to play without fouling.”
Jaylen Barford and Anton Beard each had 13. Markel Crawford had 17 points for the Rebels. A frustrated Kennedy implored his team to finish the final six guaranteed games of the season on a high note.
“We have games left, and I want them to compete,” Kennedy said. ‘If not for me or for Ole Miss, then compete for themselves.”
He said he’s tried to reach this team, and the pieces just haven’t meshed together.
“We have good kids here, we don’t have any problems with them,” Kennedy said. “We just haven’t played to the standard that it takes to win tough games.”
Burnett says the team is still motivated for a number of different reasons.
“We have to embrace the process and face this like young men,” Burnett said. “We have to keep pushing forward.”
The Rebels travel to Starkville on Saturday to face Mississippi State. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.
Deandre Burnett (24 points) and Markel Crawford (17 points) combined for 41 of the team’s 64 points.
Burnett put together his sixth 20-point game of the season.
Earning the start, senior Marcanvis Hymon played in his 100th game as a Rebel.
Terence Davis pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds.
Andy Kennedy coached his 400th game at Ole Miss; he is 245-155 as the winningest coach in program history.