After back-to-back losses to open SEC play, Jerry Stackhouse elected to shake up the starting lineup, throwing JQ Roberts — who’d played all of 23 minutes over the previous seven games entering Saturday — and Malik Presley — 11 minutes over the last five — out there, and the somewhat predictable result was a slow start with the Commodores not scoring for nearly three minutes out of the gate. Luckily, Ole Miss was also sluggish and a three-pointer by Jason Rivera-Torres with 6:02 left in the first half gave Vanderbilt its first lead of the game at 23-22. But the Rebels would go on a 12-3 run over the next three and a half minutes and go into halftime with a 41-32 lead.
Early in the second half, it looked as though Ole Miss would be able to keep the Commodores at arms’ length all day; the Rebels couldn’t quite put the Commodores away, though they did build the lead up to 14 points with 13:19 left in the game. Then Vanderbilt went on a 13-2 run capped by a JQ Roberts three that cut the Ole Miss lead to three at 55-52 with 8:17 left in the game.
And just like that, Vanderbilt fell apart. Ole Miss’s Jaylen Murray answered the Roberts three with one at the other end; on the ensuing possession, 7’5” Jamarion Sharp swatted a Tyrin Lawrence shot out of bounds, and Matthew Murrell extended the Ole Miss lead to nine. The Commodores started committing some baffling turnovers — including a five-second call on Ven-Allen Lubin 20 feet from the basket! — and Ole Miss scored 10 points in 98 seconds of game time. Suddenly a three-point deficit had ballooned to 13.
The final was 69-56, dropping Vanderbilt to 5-11 and 0-3 in the SEC. The Commodores shot 37.7 percent from the floor and 4-of-18 from three. Tyrin Lawrence led the Commodores with 14 points, Jason Rivera-Torres finished with 12 off the bench and Ezra Manjon scored 11. Vanderbilt will host Auburn on Wednesday night.