The Ole Miss men’s basketball team completed its 2018 Canada Tour in remarkable fashion, rallying from 27 points down to knock off the University of Ottawa 85-74 Thursday night. Outscoring the Gee-Gees 71-36 over the final three quarters, the Rebels completed the comeback to end their time in Canada with a 3-1 record.
The Rebel guards led the charge, starting with Terence Davis. The senior could not be stopped throughout the night as he posted a strong double-double (23 points, 16 rebounds). Devontae Shuler added 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. Breein Tyree recorded 14 points, including 11 in the second quarter to spark the rally.
Freshman KJ Buffen earned a double-double of his own with 10 points and 10 rebounds. As a team, Ole Miss shot 46.3 percent (31 of 67) from the floor, including 40 percent (8 of 20) from beyond the arc. Defensively, the Rebels held Ottawa to 12 of 47 (25.5 percent) shooting over the final three quarters, surrendering only two three-pointers in the second half.
Ottawa was led by Gage Sabean, who used six threes to help tally a team-high 20 points. Two Gee-Gees also reached double figures as guards Kevin Civil and Calvin Epsitola scored 19 and 14 points, respectively. Ottawa made 15 three-pointers throughout the 40 minutes, including 13 before halftime.
The first half was a tale of two quarters. The Gee-Gee began the game on fire, connecting on nine of their 12 three-point attempts. Shooting 73.7 percent (14 of 19) from the field, Ottawa jumped out to a 38-14 advantage.
Another Ottawa three to start the second quarter pushed the margin to 27 (41-14) before the Rebels made a run of their own. Behind 11 points from Tyree, including a pair of threes and an old-fashioned three-point play, Ole Miss trimmed the deficit. Davis attacked the basket for eight points of his own during the quarter, and the Rebels outscored the home team 29-14. A Shuler three-pointer just before the buzzer capped off a 12-0 run to end the half as Ole Miss brought the game back to single digits heading into the locker room, 52-43.
Ottawa drained 13 three-pointers in the opening half, shooting 54.2 percent from long distance. The Rebels cooled down the Gee-Gees in the second quarter, limiting them to a 27.8 field goal percentage (5 of 18) and holding them scoreless for the final 2:55. Davis’ 12 points and Tyree’s 11 points paced Ole Miss at the break.
After grabbing momentum in the second quarter, the Rebels continued to play with a passion in the third as they inched closer to the Gee-Gees. Buffen, Davis and Dominik Olejniczak found the bucket as Ole Miss cut the Ottawa lead to three, 52-49, to begin the second half. The home team pushed its advantage back to seven before back-to-back threes by Blake Hinson and Bruce Stevens made it a one-point game. With 3:28 left in the third, the comeback was complete with two Olejniczak free throws. Holding its first lead since 8:34 in the first quarter, 65-64, Ole Miss completed the third with a 6-1 run. Shuler tallied five of those points, and the Rebels took a 70-65 lead into the final quarter.
Maintaining active hands and pressure on the ball, Ole Miss saved its best defensive quarter for last. Ottawa managed just nine points on 2 of 14 (14.3 percent) shooting, cooling down from long range (1 of 10). The Rebels scored the first four points of the quarter to push the cushion to nine, 74-65, and never looked back. The lead grew to as large as 13 that included a thunderous dunk by Davis that brought the entire Rebel bench to its feet. Closing it out by taking care of the basketball, Ole Miss completed an epic 38-point swing to leave Canada with three victories in four games.
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