Ole Miss basketball fell to Louisiana Tech 70-61 on Friday night in the NIT.
Ole Miss (16-12) only had eight scholarship players against the Bulldogs. The Rebels were led on the floor by Jarkel Joiner with 22 points and a team-high five assists.
Luis Rodriguez added 10 points and 10 rebounds.
In the last four minutes of the first half, Ole Miss took a 23-22 advantage over Louisiana Tech. Rodriguez scored eight straight points for the Rebels and Matthew Murrell converted an old-fashioned three-point lay, the cushion grew to seven. The Ole Miss advantage remained that way until another three by Joiner beat the buzzer and sent the Rebels into the locker room up double digits, 37-27. With a 29-9 run and over the final 11 minutes of the first half, Ole Miss turned a 10-point deficit into a 10-point lead.
The Rebels shot 50 percent (14 of 28) in the opening 20 minutes, including 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. Joiner (11) and Rodriguez (10) reached double figures in the first half, while Murrell had seven points as well.
Louisiana Tech was led on the floor by Kenneth Lofton Jr who was Conference USA Freshman of the Year with 22 points.
Similar to the start of the game, Louisiana Tech took control coming out of the break. A 22-4 spurt erased the Ole Miss lead and put the Bulldogs in front 49-41. White broke the momentum with a finish in the post plus the free throw. Louisiana Tech answered with a three on the other end before Hunter a three of his own. The sophomore added an offensive putback to make it a one possession game, 52-49.
The Rebels could not get any closer the rest of the game. Louisiana Tech got to the free-throw line and knocked them down in the closing minutes to secure the win.