The Chris Beard era at Ole Miss has officially begun, and the Rebels logged a win on Monday against Alabama St., 69-59.
A late offensive burst from the Rebels led by TJ Caldwell solidified the win, but overall the team shot 36.8 percent from the floor and 24 percent from behind the arc. I feel like we’ve seen this movie before.
Matthew Murrell led all Rebels in scoring with 16 points though he was 1-8 from three point range and 6 of 18 shooting overall. Senior forward Jaemyn Brakefiled also struggled in the opener going 1 of 10 from the field and only three points. Newcomers Jaylen Murray and Allen Flanigan picked up the slack scoring 15 points each, and Caldwell also scored 15 with 13 of those points coming in the second half.
When Ole Miss did attack the rim, the team seemed to find some rhythm and offense, and ultimately, the Rebels were just more athletic and talented which showed in the final minutes of the game. Defensively, Beard’s squad shined the brightest allowing ASU only 27 percent shooting for the game.
Ole Miss led the game at halftime 35-30 and never let up the lead in the second half. ASU cut the the lead to one point with about 12 minutes left at 45-44, but from there, the Rebels took control of the game and did not allow the upset.
Huge credit to the student section for showing up en masse to this game. It’s an expected blowout kind of win to be honest, and when the team showed signs of knocking off some rust, the crowd got behind them. A new tradition Beard has started this season is inviting students onto the court in the postgame for a “team picture”, and true to this word, the hundreds of students came down for the photo op.
Next up for Ole Miss is Eastern Washington on Friday, Nov. 10 at the SJB Pavilion.