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Ole Miss runs a 5K around Rice, wins by 17

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Andy Kennedy and Co. split their Vegas road trip.

Josh McCoy-Ole Miss Athletics

Deandre Burnett. Hello.

The Ole Miss Rebels guard looked to regain his 2016 form on Wednesday, scoring 18 points to lead the team in a 79-62 thrashing of the Rice Owls. He was in volume-scoring mode once again, going 6-of-12 from the field including 3-of-9 from three point range.

It was a good trip to Las Vegas for Burnett, who scored 21 on Monday vs Utah in the Rebels first loss of the season, and he continued that torrid start against the Owls in last night’s contest. Much of the scoring load fell to Burnett in the wake of foul trouble by fan favorite Terence Davis, who only played 17 minutes, but still somehow managed to scored 15 points. Ole Miss improved to 4-1 on the season while Rice fell to 1-4.

IN VEGAS? PRESS YOUR LUCK

The Rebel defense pressed a fair amount on Wednesday, leading to 13 turnovers. It was not the "40 minutes of hell" of Nolan Richardson Arkansas fame by any means, but it was effective against a lesser talented Owls squad that was only in it for the first 20 minutes. At one point in the first half, the Rebels were scoreless for more than six minutes while Rice built a 27-21 lead.

The Rebels, in turn, led at the half after a 19-8 run in the final six minutes of the half in explosive scoring fashion. Andy Kennedy made some changes in his defensive schemes (and the long stretches without Davis) and in turn it led to runs which eventually helped the Rebels pull away.

SECOND HALF TEAM

Yes, I think there's a pretty solid theme going now. The Rebels once again started slow in the first half, but then begin their climb to a W by taking the first ten minutes of the second half to build a sustainable lead and bury their opponent.

Here's a very fancy graphic we stayed up all night making:

  • First 10 minutes: 21-23
  • Second 10 minutes: 19-12 (40-35 Rebels)
  • Third 10 minutes: 20-9 (60-44 Rebels)
  • Fourth 10 minutes: 19-18 (79-62 Rebels)

Full disclosure, Rice is not a very good basketball team, but this is what the Rebels needed to shake off after the disappointment of the Utah loss. And they responded well. Which is what good teams do.

RIDING THE PINE

The bench only chipped in 19 points in the win Wednesday night and it seemed coach Kennedy may have found a good mix of starters potentially. Breein Tyree was not effective off the bench, however, only scoring three points in a tough night for him. We at The Cup like to think that won’t happen often.

But, newcomer Devontae Shuler took advantage of his start Wednesday, pouring in 13 points, five rebounds, two assists, and two steals. The freshman has continued to get looks in AK's offense and attacks the rim creating for himself and others. And with Tyree continuing to struggle to find his place, it could mean Memphis transfer Markel Crawford, Shuler, Davis and Burnett have locked up the minutes for the backcourt. For now.

Drake transfer Dominik Olejniczak is also on the struggle bus early on and despite his 7-foot frame, he only scored two points and snagged zero rebounds in just eight minutes. So far, it doesn't look like the big man has found a way to be consistent on either end though he did show a nifty little air hook on his one score of the night.

WHO NEXT

South Dakota State next Tuesday in Oxford BE THERE OR BE SQUARE I JUST MADE THAT UP.