OXFORD — With just four regular-season games left before the SEC tournament, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team’s chances to make any sort of late surge are quickly running out.
The Rebels lost a 69-61 heartbreaker at SJB Pavilion in overtime Saturday against Mississippi State, their 14th loss in 16 games overall. The Rebels led by two with 38 seconds to play before Bulldogs forward Tolu Smith tied the game with a layup, sending the game to overtime after junior guard Matthew Murrell’s shot was blocked.
Ole Miss was outscored 13-5 in overtime and missed its last six field goals in the extra period, giving Mississippi State the regular-season sweep. The Rebels shot just 32 percent from the field in the game — including 14.3 percent in overtime — and were outrebounded 46-32 overall. Junior forward Jaemyn Brakefield led Ole Miss with 20 points and eight rebounds.
The Rebels forced 19 Bulldogs turnovers and scored 16 points off those turnovers.
“(We) had all the chances in the world to finish it out. Couldn’t get stops, and I thought those guys made some plays at the end, we made plays at the end,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “ … We get 13 steals; Myles (Burns) gets seven steals. How many times do you get 13 steals and lose the game? But we’re 20 for 62 (from the field). Some of that’s Mississippi State, a lot of it’s just, we had some point-blank looks that we couldn’t finish.”
The Rebels (10-17, 2-12 SEC) face Auburn (18-9, 8-6 SEC) on the road at 8 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be broadcasted on the SEC Network. The Tigers won 82-73 on Jan. 10 in Oxford and were led by guard Wendell Green Jr.’s 23 points, one of four Auburn players who finished in double-figure scoring.
Auburn is 12-2 at home this season and is led by forward Johni Broome’s 14 points and 8.9 rebounds per game.
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