Ole Miss had a great chance to go to the Sweet 16, but it slipped through its fingers in a 76-74 loss to La Salle.
The Rebels actually trailed a lot of the game, but it was never more than by five points. They would occasionally pull even, but it would take until the 10:42 point in the second half for the team to take its first lead since 9-6 in the opening minutes. That lead was a 56-55 advantage, and the team held it for about six minutes.
La Salle tied it up with four to play on a five-point swing. Sam Mills hit a three point shot to cut the lead to two, and he went to the line after a foul for a chance at a four-point play. He missed the free throw, but La Salle's Jerrell Wright got the offensive rebound and then scored to tie it at 69. It was a huge exchange that deflated Ole Miss some.
On the Rebels' final possession, they got a favorable call on a ball that went out of bounds to retain possession with not much time on the shot clock. They ran a play to Marshall Henderson, who failed to hit the rim on a runner. He got his rebound and attempted another shot, but it was partially blocked for a shot clock violation. Henderson campaigned for a foul, and there was some contact, but the no-call was not out of line for the amount of physicality that refs typically allow at the end of games. La Salle's Tyrone Garland knifed through the defense on the other end and put in a layup just over the outstretched hand of Reginald Buckner to secure the win. A Jarvis Summers heave was no good as time expired.
Henderson led the team with 21 points, but he was just 8-21 from the field and an awful 4-15 from three. Murphy Holloway had 14 and 13 on the front line, while Summers had 12 points and Nick Williams had 10. La Salle's Ramon Galloway led all scorers with 24, and Tyreek Duren had 19.
It's a disappointing end to the season, but it still was a successful one in Oxford. Ole Miss won the SEC Tournament, beat a 5-seed from the nation's best conference in the NCAA Tournament, and it has a nationally known name in Henderson. You could certainly write a worse script for the team.