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‘Whoop that’: Ole Miss basketball tops Memphis, 80-77

Chris Beard and Co. just made a huge statement

NCAA Basketball: Memphis at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in more than 15 years, Ole Miss basketball has started the season 7-0 with a come from behind win in Oxford against Memphis, 80-77.

The Rebels (7-0) fell behind at the half 37-30 with the Tigers (5-2) working a rebound advantage to create additional opportunities on offense. Ole Miss closed that rebounding gap in the second half and shot 50 percent from behind the arc to upset Memphis in a very full SJB Pavilion.

Saturday’s tilt was a bit of a coming out party for Jaylen “Juju” Murray who had 22 points to lead the Rebels in scoring. Murray dropped four of six shots from deep while also playing all 40 minutes in the game to cement his place in the starting five regularly driving and challenging Memphis and going 4-4 from free throw.

There was a significant number of Memphis fans in attendance on Saturday as yaboi One Man to Beat can attest. Of course, the officiating was criticized, Coach Beard’s past was regularly referenced, and the size of the SJB Pavilion was joked on to help assauge the outcome of the game. So it was a very welcome moment when the marketing folks or the DJ or whoever made this damn decision played “Whoop that Trick” in the postgame.

Yes, the popular “Hustle and Flow” track commonly played at Tigers and Grizzlies victories added that little flair of pettiness and ego any Ole Miss fan could enjoy.

Matthew Murrell, a Memphis native, added 20 points in a motivated effort while Allen Flanigan dropped in 18 points. Former Memphis center Moussa Cisse who received NCAA transfer approval earlier this week had only two points, but it was an emphatic dunk in the second half that ignited the crowd.

Ultimately, this was a game Ole Miss likely does not win the last couple years. It’s the start of a resurgence of a program that has been dormant for several years, and now the Rebels are on the national radar in terms of March Madness.