Rebels can't answer Tigers' start

Andy Kennedy said he didn't sense before this one the same energy and looseness from his team that he did before the Arkansas game four days earlier. It didn't improve during the game either as LSU beat Ole Miss 83-51.

The Tigers, picked by many to win the SEC West, showed why, jumping out to early leads of 12-0 and 19-2. By then an Ole Miss team that had gained confidence from a good second half at Florida, a 78-68 loss, and a 74-65 win at home against the Razorbacks was in big trouble.

"Against Arkansas we were the more aggressive team, the more physical team. I thought we were the team on the attack," the Ole Miss head coach said after his team fell to 10-7 overall and 1-2 in SEC play. "I thought today we were the total opposite."

A good summation. Ole Miss was down double-digits before many in an announced crowd of 7,674 were comfortably settled in their seats. And it didn't get any better.

LSU led 41-18 at halftime and by as many as 37 points (73-36 with 6:08 to go) before this one ended.

"Obviously we played extremely well," said first-year LSU head coach Trent Johnson. "I don't think we could have played a better first half of basketball."

A good summation as well. The halftime stats weren't that terrific for the Tigers. They shot 46 percent, including 44 percent from 3-point range and were 7 of 10 from the free throw line.

The Rebels shot 29 percent, were only 2 of 10 from 3-point range and shot no free throws. That stat remained until 3:59 to go in the game and Zach Graham went to the line after being fouled by Tasmin Mitchell. He made both.

Normally a situation like that would have incited some mocking applause and cheering from a crowd. By then, half had gone and the rest didn't seem to care.

As good as things were Wednesday, they were just as bad Saturday afternoon.

As Kennedy said, the total opposite of the Arkansas game.

The second half stats remained in LSU's favor, obviously. The Rebels improved their shooting to 41 percent for that half but again only made two 3-pointers on 11 attempts. In the last four minutes the Rebels were 3 of 5 from the line, their day's total from the charity stripe.

The Tigers shot 49 percent overall, 40 percent from 3-point range and were 11 of 16 from the line.

The Rebels had only 13 turnovers in the game, not bad considering the combo of Will Bogan and Terrico White continues to adjust to this level of basketball.

But the first three turnovers all resulted in LSU points. It was 9-0 when Kennedy called his first timeout. However the break only delayed more of the same that was to follow.

White, the freshman point guard, led Ole Miss with 22 points.

The Tigers (14-3, 2-1) had four players in double figures, paced by Mitchell's 17.

Rebel freshman Murphy Holloway said the team has to develop more leadership or things won't get better.

"They (Tigers) know what it takes to win more than we do," said Holloway, with 10 points in the game. "They went harder. They banged the boards harder. The problem is, EP (Polynice) and Trevor (Gaskins) are still trying to be leaders, and they're hurt. They're in the huddle before we leave and all that. But we've got to have floor leaders. We need a leader, somebody to step up and not just in certain games."

Holloway said he felt the Rebels were focused beforehand.

"I thought we were ready to go. Then they came out and hit us first," Holloway said. "We didn't bounce back at all."

They get a chance to do just that at Alabama Wednesday night.

OM Spirit Top Stories