Vandy shredded UM’s defense and rolled to a 102-76 win in Oxford. Home teams in the SEC are winning at a 72% clip this season (48-18) and that number is even more skewed if you take Kentucky’s many road wins out of the mix. To lose at home is rare. To be blown clean out of your home arena… almost never happens.
After the game, however, things got worse for the Rebels. Teammates Jelan Kendrick and Reginald Buckner had to be separated by coaches and UM staff members outside the team’s locker room. Kendrick would not enter the locker room “for some time after the game,” according to Hugh Kellenberger of The Jackson Clarion-Ledger. He also reports that Kendrick was heard complaining about Buckner’s defense against Commodore big man Festus Ezeli.
Parrish Alford of The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal called Kendrick’s outburst “a profanity-laced tirade.”
Andy Kennedy — who likely needs an NCAA bid to save his job — said that the teammate-on-teammate brouhaha began on the bench during the game and that he would determine a disciplinary response:
“I’ll figure it out. You guys would be amazed at what happens on a day-to-day basis. You got a little taste of it tonight… I’ve been doing this 16 years and when you’re in practice there’s competition and guys are going to get emotional at times. Obviously there’s a line that can’t be crossed.”
Making matters still worse, Ole Miss was hit with three technical foul calls, one coming after Rebel fans through debris onto the court… for a second time.
Kennedy is likely NIT-bound again. He was blown out at home in what amounted to a must-win game. His fans became so angry they threw cups and debris on the floor. Two of his teammates had a postgame altercation. Kendrick — who was viewed as a risk when he transferred in from Memphis — was in the middle of the dust-up. All this in a season in which the coach has had to dismiss two players — including leading scorer Dundrecous Nelson — because they were busted smoking pot just hours after a game.
Add it up and Kennedy is in serious, serious trouble. But Ole Miss is still searching for a new athletic director to replace Pete Boone. So that bit of abnormality has to be factored into the equation. Hmmm. Can Archie Manning go find a basketball coach? (What am I saying? Rebel fans believe Manning can walk on water.)
Oh, and up next for Mississippi? A short turnaround and a Saturday afternoon visit to Rupp Arena. Ouch
While UM appears to be coming apart at the seams, Vanderbilt looks to be regaining form. The Commodores hit on 17-of-24 shots from the floor (70.8%) and hit nine-of-11 from 3-point range (81.8%) in the first half alone. For the game, Vandy shot 62.5% from the field and 63.2% from behind the arc.
Jeffery Taylor hit his first seven shots, had 18 points just seven minutes into the game and finished with 28 points and 9 boards for the Dores.