Ole Miss dropped an 80-76 heartbreaker at home to the LSU Tigers on Saturday night.
Ole Miss (9-8, 0-4 SEC) came out strong against the Bayou Bengals defending their home court. Senior Breein Tyree led the Rebels on the court with 36 points after returning from a back injury that caused him to miss the game against Florida on Saturday.
“We watched two of the best guards in college basketball play tonight in Skylar Mays and Breein Tyree,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “It was nice to see both seniors. They both competed in plays on each end.”
The Somerset, NJ native went 12 for 20 from the field and was perfect 9-for-9 from the charity stripe.
“What a night obviously by Tyree. Just a tremendous night for him,” LSU head coach Will Wade said. “He is a great player, and we didn’t have an answer for him. He scored 13 before we could even catch our breath to start the first half.”
Two other Rebels joined Tyree in double figures: Blake Hinson with 13 points and Khadim Sy with 10. He also posted a team-high six rebounds against the Tigers.
Coming into the game, Ole Miss led the SEC in free throws but against the Tigers they went 9 for 19, and LSU went 24 for 27.
“Obviously, the free-throw line was the difference in the game. We entered the game leading the SEC in free throw percentage, so that was disappointing,” Davis said.
LSU (13-4, 5-0 SEC) was led in the game by Javonte Smart with 20 points. He was 4 for 8 from downtown.
Three other Tigers joined Smart in posting double figures: Emmitt Williams (17), Skylar Mays (15) and Marlon Taylor (13).
Ole Miss opened the second half on a five-to-nothing run over LSU that made the score 41-36. LSU then went on a 12-2 run prior to Sy knocking down a basket to end the run.
“We got on a roll there because we could get some stops and get our defense set,” Wade said. “We had some quick possessions. Ole Miss did a great job. That was as gritty and tough as I’ve seen them play defensively. They were ready to go. They were all over us.”
At the 10:17 mark in the second half, Ole Miss went on an 18-2 run over the Tigers to take a 65-59 advantage in almost three minutes of game action.
“We really started getting stops. Breein (Tyree) really started driving the ball. They couldn’t do much with him,” Davis said. “We played high quality during that period of time. Then it was just like a couple of hand checks or something, and it seemed like they were at the line a bunch. They didn’t have to make twos. They did a great job at the line.”
Ole Miss went 29 for 65 for 44.6 precent from the field and held the Tigers to 42 percent from the floor in the game.
The Rebels return to action on Tuesday as they travel to Rocky Top to take on the Tennessee Vols. Tip-off is slated for 8 p.m. on SEC Network.