Sun, 11 Apr 2021

Kentucky meets Ole Miss in a bounce-back game

Field Level Media
02 Mar 2021, 12:19 GMT+10

Both teams will look to bounce back from crushing weekend defeats when Ole Miss plays host to Kentucky on Tuesday night in Oxford, Miss.

The Rebels (13-10, 8-8 SEC) likely saw their hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament squelched with their 75 -70 loss at Vanderbilt on Saturday, while the Wildcats (8-14, 7-8) dropped a momentum-killing 71-67 decision at home to Florida.

The Wildcats were beginning to look like a team that could make a run in the conference tournament that opens March 10 at Nashville. They built a three-game winning streak that included a 70-55 thumping of then-No. 19 Tennessee at Knoxville.

Against the Gators, though, Kentucky reverted back to the crew that has struggled throughout the season. The Wildcats, who routed the Gators 76-58 at Gainesville on Jan. 9, shot only 39.6 percent from the field in the rematch at home.

"We had some bad play, individual bad play today, and that happens," Wildcats coach John Calipari said. "They are not machines. They are not robots. We had a couple guys play one of their worst games, no energy. And you know, we still had our chance to win."

Davion Mintz hit half his 14 field-goal attempts on his way to 21 points, but the rest of the team was a combined 12 of 34 (35.3 percent) from the field.

Calipari dismissed any talk of how the loss could impact his team's chances in the SEC tourney.

"We're worried about Mississippi," he said. "I'm not worried about that other stuff. We've got to take one game and let's try to get better."

Ole Miss' loss figures to end the talk of an at-large tournament bid for the Rebels, who had played their way into the conversation by winning five of their first six games in February, including a victory at then-No. 24 Missouri on Feb. 10.

But despite a 25-point effort from Devontae Shuler on Saturday, the Rebels could not corral the last-place Commodores in what coach Kermit Davis called a "disappointing" performance.

"We're off the bubble," he said. "We're off the bubble. We've got to go play for pride and win an SEC tournament championship."

--Field Level Media

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