Things are starting to get kind of serious now.
Ole Miss basketball wrapped up a finals week and got its first true road win of the Kermit Davis era: a 81-74 W over Illinois State, who is a top 150 KenPom rated team.
The lack of a mid-week game last week came mostly because of final exams for the fall semester. From here on out, there will be less breaks in the glorious sport of basketball for Ole Miss fans.
Revenge dished in Normal, Ill.
Breein Tyree and Terence Davis combined for 42 points to lead the Rebels in a game they really controlled for the majority of the 40 minutes. The 81-74 win at Illinois State wiped away the bad memory of an overtime loss to the Redbirds last season in Oxford.
So Breein’s final stat line of 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists — a fantastic night for a player who last year would show flashes like this, but this was in my opinion one of his best games to date.
Coach Davis lamented a slow start as the Rebels were down 8-4 early, but they methodically built a lead in the first half that would never be truly challenged. The Rebels shot 56 percent from three point range with some great ball movement to have a five-point advantage at the half.
The scrappy Devontae Shuler, who I had hoped preseason would be an emerging leader on this team, had eight points and five rebounds but most importantly led the team with four steals. He didn’t have the most efficient 31 minutes of play, but his defensive abilities continue to show why he is on the court.
Ole Miss had a +8 rebounding advantage in the game with Tyree, Dominik Olejniczak and KJ Buffen all chipping in with seven boards. The Rebels now sit at 6-2 on the season with four non-conference games left until Southeastern Conference play.
LOOK OUT JAAAACKSON TOWN.
If you visit message boards in the history of ever, you have noticed a trend from time to time regarding sporting events in Jackson — they are few and far between, and Ole Miss alums who live there are sad about it.
So typically they’ll ask why they don’t get more games in Jackson, they complain about the drive to Oxford, et cetera, et cetera.
Well, boy oh boy, is this the week for you, folks: real, live, American college basketball in JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI. Who cares if they’re playing directional Louisiana college? You can hop in your Tahoe, drive 15 minutes, shove $25 worth of concessions down your face and enjoy a win. Merry Christmas, you guys.
Something REALLY Nice *winking face emoji*
The movie Christmas Vacation is way better than A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, and pretty much any other Christmas movie you can come up with. Finally, it’s getting its due.
The first 1,000 fans at Sunday’s game against Tennessee-Chattanooga will get an Ole Miss branded Christmas Vacation ornament. Dress up like Cousin Eddie, bring a moose mug, really go all out for this one.
Chattanooga is a 300-level KenPom team, so this one should be a fun one that the Rebels can really get every player into the game for experience sake.
So, yeah, the promotion is the most important part of this game. It shouldn’t be a competitive game, and with a 5 p.m. CT tip time on a Sunday after students have essentially left town, this is going to be a family friendly atmosphere most likely unless you load up on eggnog pre-game.