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Vanderbilt, Ole Miss meet, each with something to prove

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Vanderbilt and visiting Ole Miss each look to snap losing streaks as the Southeastern Conference foes meet Saturday at Nashville, Tenn.

Vanderbilt (10-12, 3-6 SEC) has lost three straight games, the latest a 101-44 humiliation at Alabama on Tuesday, in a result that added to the speculation regarding coach Jerry Stackhouse’s future with the program.

While the road loss to the No. 4 team in the country was likely, the complete lack of a competitive approach was not.

“I really can’t put my finger on why we were just a step slow in everything that we did,” Stackhouse said. “It was one of those games where you just have to throw it away, flush it. Just an awful night all the way around on both sides of the ball.”

Vanderbilt did welcome back leading scorer Liam Robbins, after missing the previous four games with a foot injury, but it made nary an impact. Robbins is scoring 13.0 points per game with 5.9 rebounds and 2.8 blocks, while shooting 53.1 percent from the field.

But Robbins played just 15 minutes against Alabama after he and teammate Jordan Wright collided early in the game. Wright left for the remainder of the contest, taking his 10.3 points per game off the floor, and he is not expected to play against Ole Miss.

The Commodores’ Tyrin Lawrence (10.7 points) did not play Tuesday after an incident in practice earlier in the week. Walk-on Myles Keefe received his first start and went scoreless in nine minutes.

The Commodores shot just 15.2 percent in the first half and 25.0 percent for the game. They also struggled on defense as the Crimson Tide made 17 of their 20 shots (85.0 percent) from inside the 3-point line.

Things aren’t all that great for the Rebels (9-13, 1-8), who have lost four straight games and 10 of their last 11. The lone victory in that stretch was a 70-58 win at South Carolina on Jan. 17.

On Saturday, the Rebels could be without their best two players.

Second-leading scorer Daeshun Ruffin (9.5 points) announced he was stepping away from the team for the rest of the season due to physical and mental health concerns. Matt Murrell (14.9 points) hasn’t played the last three games due to a knee injury.

A pair of freshmen led the way for Ole Miss in a 75-66 home loss to Kentucky on Tuesday as Amaree Abram scored 17 points and TJ Caldwell added 12.

“Our two freshmen, I was really proud of them,” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said. “They played hard. Some freshmen things came up for a six-minute period and (Kentucky’s) experience kind of won out. But I was really proud of our team and our team is devastated by the loss.”

–Field Level Media

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