Rolled Over

SOUTHAVEN – The game changed when Murphy Holloway went out. Ole Miss, which lost to Middle Tennessee State 68-56 Wednesday night, had struggled already in the contest. But it was anybody's game at that point.

Follow SpiritJeff on Twitter

The Rebel leader, who injured an ankle with just over 10 minutes to go in the game, only had six points at the time but had 11 rebounds.

Seasoned veteran Terrance Henry had already picked up his fourth foul at the 13:13 mark of the second half.

Needless to say, the Rebels were in trouble as their two clear leaders were, well, in trouble. Henry eventually fouled out, with just under two minutes to go. Holloway never returned.

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said Holloway would be evaluated Thursday, but he did not know postgame the extent of the injury.

"We'll take him back and get him X-rayed," Kennedy said. "I think when he was going for a loose ball, he said he got rolled on, almost like a football injury. Kind of like a chop block, I guess. He was in a lot of pain."

Certainly Holloway's health is a concern of the major variety for Ole Miss. Until that is known, Kennedy will have to try to figure out what is going on with a team that won nine of its first 10 games but has struggled in its last two, both losses.

"We put so much pressure on our defense because our offense is so inefficient," he said. "It continues to be a recurring theme, regardless of who we put in the game. Obviously tonight Jelan (Kendrick) played a lot more minutes (29). We're trying to get Snoop (Ladarius White) more minutes. He played 20.

"Our inability just to make basketball plays...for us to have 21 turnovers and for the season now we're probably plus-50 in the turnover to assist category. Our inability to make free throws. Our inability to execute. It just kills us. It kills us."

The Rebels, now 9-3, struggled to get anything going early offensively. Some offensive fouls and also other miscues, coupled with a stout MTSU defense, and Ole Miss was down 18-9 midway through the first half.

Ole Miss seemed to get kick-started from that point on. A Reggie Buckner monster block that brought the crowd to its feet was followed by a Holloway jumper at the other end to tie the game 18-18.

Holloway is assisted from the court
Bruce Newman

A nice drive and layup by Kendrick tied things again at 20-20 after MTSU (11-2) had gone back out in front.

Ole Miss led 24-21 on a Holloway dunk with a behind the back, over the head assist from LaDarius White.

The Rebels went on an 18-8 run late to lead 27-26 at halftime.

The second half started much like the first half for the Rebels, who were ice cold and had five turnovers in the first six minutes to just two points. MTSU led 36-29 when Kennedy called a timeout to try to get his troops regrouped.

Down 38-31, Jarvis Summers hit a 3-pointer from the corner and was fouled. He sank the free throw and that play seemed to give Ole Miss life, down just 38-35.

The Rebels were behind 42-41 when Holloway's departure occurred. Coupled with Henry's foul situation, that spelled trouble for Ole Miss. From that point on, the Rebels seemed to lose their way.

Middle Tennessee State outscored Ole Miss 26-15 over the final 10 minutes of the contest.

Kennedy was concerned Henry only played 16 minutes because of the foul situation, ultimately fouling out.

"Obviously our most experienced player needs to play more than 16 minutes for us to be successful," he said. "He fouls out in 16 minutes, and I don't know what that tells you. But for me, a guy that fouls out in 16 minutes means something's up. Mentally, are you into this game?"

The Rebels shot 40 percent (15-45) from the floor, 35 percent (8-23) from 3-point range, and 55 percent (17-31) from the free throw line.

MTSU shot 45 percent (24-53) from the floor, 36 percent (5-14) from beyond the arc, and 56 percent (15-27) from the line.

Ole Miss had a slight edge on the boards, 33-32.

The Rebels had 21 turnovers and eight assists. The Blue Raiders had 14 turnovers and 17 assists.

No Rebels were in double-figure scoring. Summers had 9 points to lead Ole Miss, while Henry and Kendrick had 8 each.

MTSU had four players with double digits, led by Raymond Cintron with 18.

The Rebels are off until they play at Dayton on Dec. 30.

OM Spirit Top Stories