The Ole Miss men’s basketball team needed a vacation after two straight down to the wire victories to open the season. The Rebels travel to the Virgin Islands to participate in the Paradise Jam Tournament this weekend. To open the tournament the Rebels will take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles today at 2 p.m.
The Rebels took down UMass, thanks to a Sebastian Siaz put back with 3.3 seconds remaining which capped an 11-0 run for the Rebels down the stretch. Siaz finished the game with 22 points and 19 rebounds, the most by a Rebel since Murphy Holloway’s 20 boards in 2010.
Deandre Burnett scored 23 in his Rebel debut against UT Martin but struggled from the floor against UMass going 3 of 15. He did manage to find a rhythm late, scoring 6 of the Rebels points during their game-winning run. Burnett was one of 5 Rebels to score in double figures along with Terence Davis, who is averaging 16 PPG after averaging just 1.8 a season ago. The Rebels have found ways to distribute the ball without last years leading scorer Stefan Moody.
While a win is a win, the Rebels must shoot more efficiently from the floor in today’s game. After shooting 48% against UT Martin, the Rebels shot a mere 40% against UMass. The Rebels have hovered around 35% from 3 to open the season. Cullen Neal the Junior Transfer from New Mexico has shown his ability to shoot from long range, connecting on 4 of 7 attempts against UMass. With 17 turnovers coach Andy Kennedy talked the frustrations of turning the ball over after Monday’s win.
“I know what we practice, but I don’t see it transfer over. It looks like we’re just not comfortable. Forget about where you’re supposed to be. We’re not comfortable dribbling the ball. We’re not aggressive. When we got aggressive there at the end, it allowed us to win the game.” Kennedy said.
The Rebels will take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles out of the Summit Conference. The Golden Eagles are 1-1 on the season and led by Guard Jalen Bradley. Bradley leads the team in scoring with 15 PPG and assists with 4.5 per game. The Golden Eagles are coached by Scott Sutton, who has taken the Golden Eagles to three NCAA Tournament appearances since he took over in 1999.
Tip-off from the UVI Sports and Fitness Center in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands is at 2 p.m and can be seen on CBS Sports Network. Live video can also be seen on FloHoops.com. The radio call by Cabell Phillpot can be heard on The Ole Miss Radio Network or OleMissSports.com.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.