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Ole Miss basketball rallies late against Missouri for win number 20

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The Rebels probably just locked up an NCAA Tournament berth.

NCAA Basketball: Mississippi at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss basketball dug deep after a disastrous first half to come back and win on the road against Missouri, 73-68.

The win likely stamped Ole Miss’ ticket to the NCAA Tournament capping the regular season at 20-11, 10-8 SEC. ESPN bracketologist extraordinaire Joe Lunardi had Ole Miss as a 10-seed coming into the game.

Devontae Shuler undoubtedly came up huge for the Rebels, scoring 18 points and getting a game-changing steal and dunk late in the second half. Junior guard Breein Tyree led the team in scoring with 21 (ho-hum, another 20 point game for Tyree).

The first half started just fine, with the Rebels building out a six-point lead at the first media timeout after four Missouri turnovers led to five Ole Miss points.

But things went to hot garbage town for awhile. Mizzou went into the locker room up 34-26 as Ole Miss struggled to find offensive consistency. The Tigers regularly used most of the 30-second shot clock to find open shots—though they had not problem sinking the contested ones, either. The Rebels, meanwhile, started 0-6 from three point range.

What most likely stunted the Rebels offense was a struggle bus day for Terence Davis, who scored only seven points—nearly 10 off his season average. Davis scored 25 in the Rebels’ last game against Kentucky, so it was a regression to the mean for the senior guard.

But with Ole Miss trailing by three points with just over two minutes left in the game, TD did have a ridiculous, contested dunk that should make some kind of top ten list. It was one of those dunks where the bench stands up and everyone holds each other from charging the court out of excitement.

That jam kicked off a 10-2 Rebel charge to close the game. Shuler banked an acrobatic layup and banked a clutch jumper to give Ole Miss a 70-66 lead inside the one-minute mark. Davis iced the game with a pair of free throws in the closing seconds.

The Rebels finished the regular season in the top half of the SEC after preseason media picked the team dead last. As Ole Miss heads into the SEC Tournament, it seems like a lock that first-year head coach Kermit Davis will be taking his third school to the Big Dance.

A late game between Alabama and Arkansas on Saturday will decide who the Rebels will play first in Nashville.