The Ole Miss men’s basketball team defeated the Eastern Kentucky Colonels 85-75 in the Pavilion on Monday night, with help from a strong performance of guard play throughout the game.
Ole Miss (2-0) played a very close back-and-forth game with EKU in the first half as the lead never got larger than 10 points. Eastern Kentucky outshot the Rebels 48 percent to 46.4 percent in the first half to keep within striking distance.
In his post-game press conference, Head Coach Andy Kennedy struck a note of disappointment as he compared tonight’s performance to the Rebels’ season opener against Louisiana.
“I thought we had a good opening night against a quality team like Louisiana, who challenged us,” Kennedy said. “I thought it was electric for us. It kind of reminded me of an early SEC game. Louisiana is a good team, and I like the fact that our guys never flinched. We won by 18, but I was really pleased with the way we played. Tonight, not so much. We knew that, tonight, it was going to be a completely different tempo. Louisiana is like us – they want to go up and down – but EKU plays late in the game. We knew they were going to go to Nick Mayo a lot, who is a really good player, and we allowed them to control the tempo.”
The Rebels had four different players score in double figures on the evening. Senior Deandre Burnett led all scoring with 17 points. Junior Terence Davis added 16 points, with Devontae Shuler finding the bucket for 12 points and Marcanvis Hymon contributing 10 points of his own in the game.
Ole Miss took a 40-34 advantage into the locker room at the break.
The Rebels had chances to break the game open in the second half, but the Colonels kept the game within a 19-point difference. Ole Miss outscored Eastern Kentucky by a four-point margin in the last 20 minutes of play.
“We have always been better in the second half because we can be in their ear a little more because they are in front of us,” Kennedy said. “We had spurts, but we need to be more consistent. We are still trying to figure out who can play with who. We are still mixing and matching to formulate a formation.”
The Colonels shot 51 percent from the field in the game and the Rebels were held to 47.6 percent shooting.