By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss men’s basketball team officially tips off the 2019-20 regular season on Friday night as they welcome the Arkansas State Red Wolves into the Pavilion. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. on the SEC Network +.
Head Coach Kermit Davis’ squad took down Mississippi College 69-43 in an exhibition game on Monday night. Sophomore forward KJ Buffen led the Rebels with 21 points in the contest, including six rebounds and one assist.
Ole Miss veterans will play alongside new teammates this season. New faces include guard Austin Crowely—who is nationally ranked by Rivals at No. 22—guard Bryce Williams, forward Antavion Collum and forward Khadim Sy. Williams and Sy are junior college transfers from Daytona State where Sy became one of the most sought-after JUCO prospects in the country. He spent his freshman season at Virginia Tech. Sammy Hunter joins the Rebels out of the Bahamas. Franco Miller Jr. and Carlos Curry are coming off a redshirt season last year.
Guard Breein Tyree is coming into his final season for the red and blue as the lead scorer (17.9 ppg.) The Somerset, New Jersey native is the only player in the SEC to rank in the league’s top 10 in scoring (3rd-17.9 ppg), free throw percentage (3rd-83.1), three-pointers made (7th-2.1 per game) and field goal percentage (10th-45.9).
Arkansas State enters Friday’s matchup with a game already under their belts. Tipping off the season at home, Arkansas State defeated Arkansas-Monticello 65-49 (Nov. 6). Four Red Wolves reached double figures. Senior guard Canberk Kus tallied 17 points on 8 of 13 shots, while junior forward J.J. Matthews produced a double-double (10 points, 10 rebounds). Marquis Eaton (11) and Nick Willis (10) rounded out the balanced scoring. Eaton is Arkansas State’s leading returning scorer, averaging 11.2 ppg as a sophomore. Mike Balado is in his third season as ASU’s head coach after spending four years as an assistant coach under Rick Pitino at Louisville.
Ole Miss leads the all-time series with Arkansas State 21-9, including victories in the last four matchups. Prior to the winning streak in the series, the Red Wolves rattled off four straight from 1990-2004. The Rebels won the series’ first four contests with a pair of wins in both 1925 and 1926. The last time the two squads faced off was nine years ago to begin the 2010-11 season.
Fans can watch all the action of the game on the SEC Network+ at 6 p.m.