Ole Miss Struggles Without Offensive Catalyst

FAYETTEVILLE -- Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes found himself behind the eight ball well before the opening tip of Wednesday's 69-46 loss to Arkansas in Bud Walton Arena.

That's because the Rebels made the trip without starting forward Tommie Eddie, a 6-foot-7 senior who's second on the team in scoring and rebounding. Eddie was dealing with academic issues and could be ruled ineligible for the remainder of the season.

"Basically this season, we run everything through him," Barnes said. "Whether it's him catching or passing or trying to score in the post. We missed him out there tonight because they really got out on us and I'm sure that was some of (Arkansas coach Stan Heath's) game plan."

True freshman Jeremy Parnell, from Gosnell, earned his first start in Eddie's place and received a baptism of sorts. He was 0 of 3 from the field, including a missed dunk that was uncontested late in the second half.

"It woke me up," Parnell said. "I didn't know the SEC was going to be like that. The tempo of the game and how everybody played hard. It was real tough. It was real frustrating."

Parnell's missed dunk typified the Rebels' night as they shot a season-low 25.5 percent from the field.

Without Eddie's presence in the paint, Barnes said it allowed Arkansas to extend its defense.

"We're normally throwing the ball into the post because we've always had effective post guys," Barnes said. "So, everything we were trying to work was perimeter oriented which fit into those guys like (Jonathon) Modica and (Ronnie) Brewer and those guys athleticism. If we had more inside presence, then those guys have to help. If they don't help, then it's one-on-one in there and we like our chances of being effective."

Arkansas' full-court press had a lot to do with the lopsided loss as well. Ole Miss had 24 turnovers with 18 coming in the second half when the Rebels were outscored 42-19. They hit just five field goals in the final 20 minutes.

"They press most of the game so, obviously, there's going to be times where you're going to turn the basketball over," Barnes said. "We just turned it over too many times at a crucial point.

"We didn't do a very good job in the second half of handling their press."

Trailing 39-31, Ole Miss tried its luck with a full-court press with 12 minutes remaining in regulation and it backfired as the Razorbacks went on an 11-0 run in a span of three minutes.

"I just think we got to relaxed," said Londrick Nolen, who was the only Ole Miss player in double figures with 19 points. "We thought we were going to come back out the second half and turn it around like we usually do, but I guess I was wrong."

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