Coach Andy Kennedy becomes the 23rd coach in history to win 100 SEC games as Ole Miss defeated Mississippi State 64-58 tonight in the Pavilion.
It was only the second loss of the season for the Bulldogs, who dropped to 13-2.
Ole Miss (9-6, 2-1 SEC) had three different players score in double figures in the game. Senior Deandre Burnett led the Rebels with 19 points. His teammate, sophomore Breein Tyree, scored 16, and freshman Devontae Shuler added 10 of his own.
The Rebels took an early 3-2 lead at the 18:42 mark of the first half. Both teams had trouble finding the bucket early in the game.
Mississippi State built a 33-20 lead in the first half before the Rebels went to a 1-3-1 zone to try to slow down the Bulldogs’ scoring threat.
“The 1-3-1 did change the game,” Kennedy said. “We tried it in the first half, and it was effective for us. And in the second half we did it with a make-shift lineup. We went small. When they had Xavian Stapleton in the four spot, it was problematic for our bigs. We had foul trouble, so we went small and played Markel (Crawford) at the 4, which made us dis-joined in that 1-3-1. Markel very rarely plays the top, and Breein (Tyree) never plays the back, but that’s who we had in the game, so we had to adjust. We forced them to make short jump shots. That had not really been their strength all year. When game pressure got involved, we were fortunate to get some stops.”
As the two teams went into the locker room at the half, Ole Miss trailed 34-28 to the Bulldogs.
After halftime, Tyree found his shot – he scored all of his 16 points in the second half.
But Mississippi State’s pressure defense made it difficult for Ole Miss to make shots from behind the arc. The Rebels hit just 7 of 28 attempts in the game.
“I was just really happy that we got downhill,” Kennedy said. “We really struggled shooting the ball – 7 for 28 after going 6 for whatever it was in the [previous] game. In the first half, I didn’t think we were taking good shots. Mississippi State is good defensively. They are long, they really pack line and try to keep you out of the lane.”
Ole Miss returns to action Tuesday as they travel to Auburn.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.comSign up to receive Hottytoddy.com morning and evening headline emails HERE!