Nothing compares to getting a win in the opener of conference play. Ole Miss basketball earned one in their SEC opener in The Pavilion on New Years Eve.
OK, question? Could this be the Ole Miss basketball team which we’ve been looking for? Does this team have a diamond in the rough which will come out in SEC action? We really can’t be sure, but we know the Rebels took a step forward tonight.
Picking up a 74-69 home win in a SEC opener may have been just what this team needed. Of course, getting a win over Frank Martin’s Gamecocks team is huge. This was one of the best-played games by the Rebels I have seen this season in my opinion. All season we’ve heard about a ‘sense of urgency’ which needed to be maintained to win games.
I’d say we found it tonight against USC. I’ve said thus far this team just needed to gel under AK. We know we have a great team and we know we have a great coach. I have faith in this team and coach Kennedy. Of course, when you look at the numbers you can see it was a very close game.
Ole Miss Rebels Basketball
As I always say the most important number is the final score. Of course, in this case the final score fell in the favor of the Rebels. However, when we look at the stats we can see it wasn’t as dominating as we’d like to see. There is always room for improvement.
The Rebels went 20 of 49 from the field for 40.8% while the Gamecocks shot 22 of 58 or 37.9%. The Rebels shot better from the free throw line hitting 26 of 33 or 78.8% while the Gamecocks 17 of 26 or 65.4%. The Rebels hit 20 of their last 23 from the charity stripe in the second half alone.
Ole Miss was 8 of 21 or 38.1% from beyond the arc while South Carolina went 8 of 20 or 40.0%. Of course, when the Rebels shoot well from the arc they can beat anybody. Although we did see some ill-advised shots from distance the Rebels did get hot from 3-point range at the right times.
Of course, according to OleMissSports.com, coach Andy Kennedy was very pleased with his teams defensive play.
"“We have gotten better defensively over the last two weeks, certainly in the last two games.” ~Andy Kennedy"
Senior Deandre Burnett led all Rebels scoring against the Roosters with an 18 point effort. Burnett also added 1 rebound to go with 6 assists and a steal. Graduate transfer Markel Crawford added 17 points on the night while also getting 2 rebounds, an assist and 3 steals.
Other Rebels getting into the scoring mix were junior Bruce Stevens and senior Marcanvis Hymon. Stevens had 10 points with 4 rebounds, 2 blocked shots and a steal. Hymon added 7 points while snagging 4 rebounds. Hymon also had an assist and 2 blocked shots.
Sophomore Breein Tyree also had 7 points in the game while also adding 4 rebounds and an assist. Freshman Devontae Shuler added 6 points while also getting 1 rebound and a steal. Justas Furmanavicius had 5 points while also adding a board and a steal. Terence Davis added 4 points to go with his 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block and 2 steals.
Of course, now that conference play has begun there will be no easy games for the Rebels. Coach Andy Kennedy has insisted on the Rebels leaning on their ‘blue collar’ work ethic to play better. We have to wait and see if this Ole Miss basketball team has gotten over the hump in the learning curve. However, we don’t have to wait for long.
The Rebels hit the road Wednesday night to take on the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens. Tip-off is set for 5:30pm CT and will be televised via the SEC Network. Good luck to the 8-5 Rebels. Hotty Toddy!