Kermit Davis’ Rebel hoops outfit didn’t let a midweek loss to LSU drag them down to regression levels, as Ole Miss throttled Arkansas in The Pavilion, 84-67. The win leaves the Rebels 3-0 following losses on the year, and 4-1 in conference play before Ole Miss travels to Alabama then hosts Iowa State next week.
Ole Miss jumped out to an early 9-2 lead at the first media timeout on the strength of robust interior play and a timely Breein Tyree steal for a Terence Davis finish at the rim. The Rebs’ defense masked over the offense’s struggles, with none other than Tyree picking up a violent block on a Razorback breakaway dunk attempt.
The middle minutes of the first half saw the Rebs draw out to a 30-22 lead, with the help of a three-pointer from Devontae Shuler and a long 15-footer from Tyree. The opening period also saw the encouraging emergence of Dominik Olejniczak, who went 5-5 from the floor and 3-3 from the free throw line to surpass his previous career high in points up to 13 with five minutes to go in the frame.
It was 46-35 in the Rebs’ favor at recess.
The second half opened with the Rebs continuing to create turnovers and scoring on those opportunities. Davis finally converted a colossal alley-oop as the 6-7-8 guys contributed in their own ways. Bruce Stevens and KJ Buffen found ways to use their length inside, and that helped on the defensive side of the affair as Shuler played limited minutes due to a stress fracture in his foot. Kermit’s men stretched their halftime lead out to a 62-47 lead by midway through the second period.
From there the Rebels slowly pulled away, maintained that separation, and in the end looked comfortable in an impressive win.
Ole Miss dominated in every facet of the game.
The Rebs won the turnover battle, 17-13. They shot more efficiently, dropping 48 percent of their attempts to Arkansas’ 40 percent. They shot 32 percent from range to Arkansas’ 26 percent. Davis scored 18 points, distributed assists, and ripped away five steals, which had SECN’s broadcast team openly musing about his likelihood of hitting a triple-double.
Four Rebel players scored double-digit points, with Tyree leading the way on 22.
The team bounced back after a disappointing loss to LSU.
Kermit Davis deserves a lot of credit for keeping these guys’ heads up, running a hard practice as recently as Friday afternoon. Those who perhaps held some doubts about Ole Miss’ No. 18 rank should start shelving those questions. Yes, the LSU loss was bad and probably in part due to a lack of focus, but the Rebs collectively put it behind them and played their asses off against Arkansas.
At least one bracketology projection slots the Rebs in to a No. 7 line if March Madness started today, and that may in fact be too low of a pick. Alabama is entirely beatable, though playing in Tuscaloosa is never an easy task. If the Rebs can down Iowa State next Saturday in Oxford, we’re certainly looking at Ole Miss basketball’s best performance to this point in a season in the history of the program.