By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels rallied in the second half of the game in Columbia, Missouri to defeat Missouri 73-68 to close out the regular season.
Ole Miss picked up its 20 regular season victory behind a dominant performance by sophomore Devontae Shuler with 18 points and Breein Tyree who totaled 21 points.
Shuler broke a 66-66 tie in the contest with 1:28 left in the game; he stole the ball and slammed it home to give coach Kermit Davis’ squad the advantage.
Missouri (14-16, 5-13 SEC) was led by Xavier Pinson who had a career-high 20 points on 8 of 12 shooting. Missouri had three other double-figure scorers in with Torrence Watson (14 points), Jordan Giest (12 points, and Jeremiah Tilmon (11 points).
While five different Rebels scored in the first six minutes, Ole Miss jumped out to an early lead thanks to its defense. The Rebels held Missouri without a bucket for seven minutes, only allowing a pair of free throws. Behind seven early points from Tyree, Ole Miss held a 17-10 advantage midway through the first half.
Missouri used a pair of big runs to grab the game’s momentum. A 14-2 run flipped a seven-point Ole Miss lead into a five-point deficit. After the Rebels got within three, the Tigers went on an 8-0 run to bump their cushion to double digits. Shuler drilled a three to stop the bleeding, but Ole Miss went into the locker room down 34-26.
The Rebels proved why they lead the league in free throws as they hit 19 of 21 attempts. Ole Miss’ defense held Missouri to shot 25-of-52 in the game for 48.1 percent.
Ole Miss will head to the Music City to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide on Thursday in the second round of the SEC Tournament. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network.