A promising first half was undone by a disastrous ten-minute passage, and we ultimately offered little resistance during a non-competitive second half. Nothing in that sentence separates this game from three of the last four preceding it.
Let’s dive in!
We didn’t exactly light the barn on fire offensively (which is a kind way to describe an 0-for-7 start), but our defensive rotations were on point and we seemed to be legitimately causing Ole Miss problems on the other end. We maintained the advantage in this ugly, low scoring affair for the majority of the half, even opening up a 26-19 lead with three minutes remaining! We then committed five consecutive turnovers to close the half, which the Rebels used to kickstart a 12-2 run that completely flipped the momentum.
The first 17 minutes of this game were promising, and it was all undone in a flash.
Halftime Score: Ole Miss 31, Texas A&M 28
The one bankable quality of a Buzz Williams team (things generally look better immediately after halftime) was nowhere to be found on Saturday, as the Aggies opened the second half with a 2-for-18 stretch that was rife with turnovers and sloppy offensive sets. Ole Miss continued to capitalize on our offensive nonsense, tacking on another 12-2 run to start the second half that [checks notes] sounds an awful lot like a 24-4 run spanning halftime. A surefire way to play your way out of any ballgame.
We pushed the lead back to single digits for a moment, but a quick 8-0 run by the Rebels put any notion of a comeback to sleep.
Final Score: Ole Miss 61, Texas A&M 50
An uncomfortable narrative has taken hold. We’re 7-6 on the season, and in all six losses we were down by at least 18 in the 2nd half (and lost by 10+). Our only two wins against P5 opponents have come in the final possession. We’re the most turnover-prone P5 team in the country, we’re still scrambling for starting lineup and rotation combinations at the end of January... and none of it seems to be coming together.
It doesn’t look like an effort problem, but this team has too much talent to get run off the floor in four of its last five games.
A friendlier stretch of the schedule beckons, beginning with a midweek home game against LSU.