State came into this game winning three of its last four games against SEC opponents. Ole Miss held the Bulldogs to an impressive 21 points in the first half and later handed the Bulldogs a deflating loss at home.
Ole Miss was able to pull away and went into the second half up 29-21. Things started to look as though it would be a close battle to the last second when the Bulldogs rallied to make it 42-38 with 12:07 left to play.
While the Rebels have not made it easy to watch them on the offensive side of the ball this year, they did against State. They went on to make an 18-4 run that solidified the lead with three minutes left in the game.
In the last 15 meetings, the Rebels have won 11 in the most-played rivalry in the SEC.
The departure of Breein Tyree left a massive hole that needed to be filled with leadership and big numbers. Senior guard, Devontae Shuler has done just that. He led the team with 22 points. He shot for 8-of-13 along with three three-pointers, and three steals.
Jarkel Joiner, the junior guard, had 12 points and was able to be a difference-maker in the historic rivalry.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Rebels forced State to shoot for 18-52 (35%) overall with 10 missed three-pointers and 12 turnovers.
And as we all know, turnovers win games.
Mississippi State head coach Ben Howland said “I thought our attack of the 2-3 zone was really subpar. We’ve got to do better against the 2-3. Basically what we saw was just pressure, denial of everything, fight through every screen, really be in your face man to man. Then they played that 2-3 zone quite a bit and we did not attack it well. I thought the defense they played on us really bothered us.”
Beating an in-state rival on the road is enough to build quite a bit of momentum and change the course of the season. The Rebels are now 7-6 and will take on Texas A&M at home.