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Unpacking Ole Miss basketball’s Auburn disaster, and whether defense is now cause for concern

Ole Miss basketball coach Chris Beard promised to deliver a team that would defend when he was introduced as Kermit Davis’ successor back in March.

Improbably, he’s lifted the Rebels back into the polls for the first time in five seasons and into NCAA Tournament contention without yet delivering on that promise.

The 82-59 thrashing Ole Miss took from Auburn on Saturday night was among the worst defensive performances Beard has ever overseen, with the No. 11 Tigers (16-2, 5-0 SEC) scoring 1.24 points per possession. Beard had coached 227 games at a Power Five institution before No. 21 Ole Miss (15-3, 2-3) took the court at Neville Arena against the Tigers. On a points-per-possession basis, he has only taken charge of six worse defensive showings.

There was never a top-25 feel to the one-sided bout. After scoring 46 first-half points, the Tigers spent the game’s final 20 minutes playing with their food.

“We didn’t take care of our end of the bargain to make it a top-25 type of game,” Beard said afterward. “But I would give Auburn the credit for that.”

The Tigers’ offense was, indeed, overwhelming.

No Auburn player scored more than 13 points – mostly because there were so many options to spread the ball to. Johni Broome and Jaylin Williams combined for 26. Dylan Cardwell added 12. Those players together missed only seven of their 22 field-goal attempts.

Auburn shot 58% as a team and 67% in the first half to knock the Rebels out on their feet. The Tigers made eight of their 18 3-pointers.

“Really just the play-calls,” Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. “We weren’t really trying to scout to go into the paint, but a lot of guys just kept helping up. And we realized that if our guards would drive, the bigs would help up, and with the backside wide open, no one was crashing down. So that’s pretty much it. The coaches had it really well-scouted.”

AUBURN: Ole Miss basketball live score updates vs. Auburn: Rebels take on Tigers in SEC play

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Source link : https://sports.yahoo.com/unpacking-ole-miss-basketballs-auburn-125854623.html

Author : The Clarion Ledger

Publish date : 2024-01-21 12:58:54

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