Men’s basketball falls at Texas A&M, 67-51
Published 3:19 pm Thursday, January 13, 2022
BRYAN-COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Ole Miss men’s basketball team fought evenly with a talented Texas A&M squad, but a blistering second half Aggie run ended up being the difference as the Rebels fell, 67-51, at Reed Arena on Tuesday night.
The Rebels (9-6, 1-2 SEC) trailed by only four at halftime following a neck-and-neck opening frame that featured three ties and three lead changes, but a 9-0 second half run by the Aggies (14-2, 3-0 SEC) that ultimately wound up as a 19-3 streak gave Texas A&M enough space to coast to its eventual victory.
“I just thought that from the start our energy level was really low compared to games like Tennessee and State,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “We just couldn’t get consistent play out of the gate from Matt (Murrell), Tye (Fagan) or Jaemyn (Brakefield). Daeshun (Ruffin) made a few plays, but we had no rhythm offensively and that wasn’t very tough defensively.”
The Aggies jumped out to an early 8-2 lead, but a Ruffin (10 points, four assists, two steals, one rebound) layup and Nysier Brooks (nine points, five rebounds, two blocks, two steals, one assist) dunk quickly took the momentum back. Ruffin then tied and gave Ole Miss its first lead on a pair of free throws at 14:02 with the score 11-10. Ole Miss then found its recent hot hand from beyond the arc again, hitting consecutive threes from Luis Rodriguez (seven points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals) and Jaemyn Brakefield (nine points, four rebounds, one steal) to cap an 8-0 Rebel run, giving Ole Miss a 14-10 lead at 13:44.
That would be the first of a handful of lead changes in the first half, as Texas A&M took it right back at 10:40, but a Rodriguez fastbreak dunk knotted it all up again at 16-16 with 9:57 to go. Ruffin would score six more points in the half from that point on, and Murrell (11 points, three rebounds, two steals, one assist) would add five more at the close to keep it a 31-27 game at the break.
Texas A&M – which shot 62.5 percent overall in the first half but just 1-of-6 from three – would add a handful of three-pointers to its strong 42-24 paint presence to pull away from the Rebels in the second half. The Rebels had one last burst of energy, a 7-0 run capped by a Murrell three at 16:34 to cut the Aggie lead to 39-37, but that would be as close as Ole Miss would get for the remainder of the game. A Tyrece Radford (12 points) three with 16:14 left to play kicked off a 9-0 Aggie run that turned into a 19-3 stretch that featured three of their five made threes on the evening.
Murrell led the Rebels with his 11 points, his second straight game leading the way after a career-high 31 scored vs. Mississippi State on Jan. 8. Rodriguez led with his seven rebounds and three steals, his fifth game with as many steals this season.
Ole Miss now returns home for another home ranked contest at SJB Pavilion on Saturday (Jan. 15), when the Rebels will welcome in the No. 4 Auburn Tigers (15-1, 4-0 SEC). Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network.
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