Kennedy keeps working to get Rebs over hump

Andy Kennedy is frustrated and pleased at the same time.

Frustrated that the Rebels continue to find ways late in games to lose. Pleased that his players have found a way to stay in games to give themselves a chance to win.

Trouble is there haven't been many of those wins recently.

The latest loss, a 62-55 setback at LSU Wednesday night, was another one the Rebels let get away, according to Kennedy.

Certainly he knows and understands how tough it is to win games, especially on the road. But the trends that he is getting from his team with how they've lost some games disturbs him.

"Sometimes from a coaching perspective it's easier to accept, believe it or not, if right from the jump you can tell you're the inferior opponent and you know it's not your night and everything goes their way and everything goes against you. You kind of discard it and move on," he said. "But we've had some opportunities, like last night, and not seizing them haunts you."

Kennedy says he's still searching, still waiting on this year's team to take a step in the right direction in that regard.

"What I'm waiting to see out of this group is some growth, so that we're not making the same mistakes we did in losses at Saint Louis or against Kentucky or at Mississippi State. Those are the things that are concerning to me, because I continue to see a lot of the same mistakes being made."

The Rebels trailed LSU by a single point as late as four minutes remaining in the contest. But they never led and that also haunts Kennedy.

"If you'd have told me on the flight down that we'd be down one with the ball and with seven minutes to go, I'd take it. We had that opportunity and didn't seize it. We got it down to a single point again with four minutes left and didn't get the lead."

Kennedy lays it all out there on such aspects as free throw discrepancy. Ole Miss shot two in the game while LSU shot 22.

"A lot of that is our inability to be strong and finish at the basket," he said. "Maybe there is a call here or there we'd like to dispute. But we have to be honest, too. Officials are human. We have to earn our way. It's certainly not going to be given to us.

"And there's a certain respect that comes with success," he continued. "And we don't have that."

Kennedy says at least one other area really concerns him and that's shot selection.

"Our shot selection is abysmal. People think we're playing fast now. But this is as slow you'll ever see an Ole Miss team play as long as I'm here. But we have to make some adjustments based on current personnel.

"I'm going to, starting today, even take it to another level. Honestly we're going to have to make some huge adjustments inwardly because we're having a hard time accepting the freedom that comes with the way that we play."

So what does that mean with Florida up next in Gainesville?

"It means we'll become a little more structured in who shoots when and where," he said.

He also says it won't be easy to change things dramatically in a couple of days before playing the No. 1 team in the country.

"We've been working with these kids since August, since we were allowed to work with them from an individual standpoint, and a lot of them still haven't grasped the way we're trying to play. So I can't be foolish enough to think that in 48 hours we can re-invent the team. But we are going to have to make some adjustments."

And if only they'd gotten that lead in the second half at LSU. The next time that scenario happens, then Kennedy hopes the Rebels can take advantage of the situation.

"You never know," he said of never quite getting over the hump and taking a lead in Baton Rouge. "You always like to be able to take advantage of your opportunities. That's what we showed the team today (watching the film of last night's game). We had our opportunities."

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