Ole Miss got its fourth-straight win to open the season on the hardwood Wednesday, knocking off head coach Kermit Davis’ former team Middle Tennessee State 70-51.
Last season, the Rebels went 1-10 in true road games, good for the worst in the Southeastern Conference. Wednesday, however, they matched that mark just four games into the year after knocking off the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro.
The last time Ole Miss faced MTSU, Kermit Davis captured an 82-64 win over the Raiders in 2019 in Oxford on his birthday.
Kermit Davis is the winningest coach in MTSU history, going 332-188 in a 16-year tenure with the Blue Raiders. Wednesday’s matchup marked Davis’ first return to Murfreesboro since he left for the Ole Miss job two years ago.
Devontae Shuler faced off against his younger brother Dontrell Shuler in the Rebels’ win, but the brothers were relatively quiet, going a combined 10-28 from the field and not catching a ton of attention from the commentary crew. Devontae’s 10 points marked his lowest point total in the season.
Someone who wasn’t quiet was, once again, Romello White. White has, early on this season, provided a post presence the Rebels have longed for in recent years, and went 7-for-8 from the field tonight, leading the team with 16 points. White and K.J. Buffen combined for 13 boards, providing a solid post presence for the Rebels in the midst of somewhat-inconsistent guard play.
Another pleasant surprise was Jarkel Joiner, going 4-for-8 from the field and 1-of-2 from three, totaling in 10 points. In fact, all of Ole Miss’ starting five finished in double-digit point totals on Wednesday with White leading the way with 16.
While Ole Miss is still looking for consistent guard play outside of Devontae Shuler, the Rebels can feel good about their paint presence, at least in early non-conference play. Buffen also stepped up inside tonight with 11 points, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the field.
Off the bench, Matthew Murrell led the way with five points and going 2-for-4 from the field, a good sign for the top-notch Rebels’ recruit. Murrell also snagged five boards on Wednesday. Austin Crowley also dropped a quiet four points while going 2-for-5 from the field.
The Rebels’ next test comes Saturday at 1:30 on the road against Dayton who sits at 3-1 on the year.