In a battle of two of the SEC’s top rebounding teams, Ole Miss kept No. 5 LSU on the ropes, ultimately falling 69-60 from Baton Rouge on Thursday.
In front of a rambunctious crowd, Ole Miss (20-6, 9-4 SEC) was unable to fend off LSU (24-1, 12-1 SEC) and one of the nation’s top players in Angel Reese. Reese led all scorers, scoring more than half of the Tiger’s points with 36. Ole Miss’ own Angel led the Rebels with 21 points, her seventh 20 plus game of the season.
Defensively, Ole Miss was able to keep LSU below its scoring average and held it to 33% from the field. As a team, it was Ole Miss’ 15th game with five or more blocks by finishing with eight. Rita Igbokwe carried the Rebels around the rim with five rejections. Off the glass, Igbokwe led the Rebels as well with nine rebounds.
Ole Miss also limited LSU to a season-low tying one three, its 23rd game this season in limiting an opponent to five or fewer triples.
Three-straight Rebel buckets to start the night provided an early advantage for the Rebels, until LSU answered hitting four-of-five field goals to climb on top. A quick response from Ole Miss defensively held one of the nation’s most high-powered offenses off for multiple possessions to pull within three at 17-14. The turnover bug hit Ole Miss, as LSU extended its lead to 22-16 through one.
Five blocks in the first half alone helped Ole Miss stay aggressive and remain within close range of LSU. An over five-minute scoring drought by LSU provided Ole Miss time to work itself within striking distance. Working in the paint with 12 points in the second quarter as well as forcing five Tiger turnovers, Ole Miss cut the deficit to two at 30-28 heading into the break. The eight points surrendered to the Tigers in the second quarter were the fewest scored by LSU in a quarter this season.
Right of the gate in the second half, a Davis jumper evened thing up at 30 all and once again at 34. LSU quickly took off on an 8-0 run to reassert its lead at 42-34. A clutch three from Baker quieted the Tiger crowd as Ole Miss worked to erase its deficit. With 10 minutes remaining the Rebels faced a nine-point climb, trailing 50-41.
Ole Miss remained in the fight as Collins’ second triple of the night cut the Tiger lead to six with seven minutes left. Despite limiting LSU without a field goal for over three minutes, foul trouble from the Rebels caused the Tiger to hold its lead through the charity stripe. The Rebels refused to go away, however not enough time remained to complete a comeback, falling 69-60 to the No. 5 Tigers.
The Rebels face another test on Sunday (Feb. 19) when they welcome the defending National Champions in No. 1 South Carolina. The 3 p.m. tilt against the Gamecocks will air nationally on SEC Network.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports