The Ole Miss men’s basketball team took to the court Monday night where they defeated the Mississippi College Choctaws 69-43 in an exhibition game prior to the regular-season start.
“Mississippi College played within five points against Southern Miss last time out,” head coach Kermit Davis said.“(The win) was good for our team. You can tell we are still a work in progress.”
Sophomore forward KJ Buffen led the way on the floor for the Rebels in the win with 17 of his 21 total points coming in the first 20 minutes of action. The Gainesville, Georgia native also pulled in six rebounds with one assist.
“KJ was really really good in the first half,” Davis said.
Buffen said coming into his sophomore season on the court that he wanted to become more of a physical player and an offensive threat.
“I am just playing basketball,” Buffen said. “Those points came off of just playing.”
Mississippi College was led by forward Winford Ross with 15 points in the game including seven rebounds, three steals and a block.
The Choctaws forced Ole Miss to turn the ball over 20 times in the game.
“In the preseason, the ball stays on the floor way too much and we turned it over because the ball does not move. It sticks and it’s something tonight that caused 13 assists and 20 turnovers that has to get so much better,” Davis said. “Over the next three or four days we are going to emphasize that.”
Coach Davis had 12 different players record minutes in the game. Buffen and junior guard Bryce Williams (10) both reached double figures in scoring.
“It was good to see Bryce come in and play the way that he did,” Davis said.
Senior Breein Tyree tallied eight points, three assists and a board in 23 minutes of action. Junior Devontae Shuler posted four points with six rebounds, two assists and four steals on the night.
“Breein and Devontae are two guys that we are going to depend on,” Davis said.
Ole Miss shot 48.0 percent from the floor, 68.0 from the charity stripe and hit 26.7 percent from beyond the arc against the Choctaws. The Rebels held Mississippi College to only 36.4 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the free-throw line. The Choctaws were unable to find the range from downtown.
The Rebels open the regular season slate Friday night against Arkansas State inside the Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on SEC Network +.