SuperTalk Mississippi
SportsTalk Mississippi Web Exclusive

Balanced scoring lifts Rebels to win over San Diego

Ole Miss struggled on the offensive end of the floor for stretches during its two-game trip to Destin, a venture that culminated in a win over Baylor and a loss to Cincinnati, head coach Kermit Davis declared the Rebels needed more balanced scoring.

Devontae Shuler had a career night in the loss to Cincinnati with 24 points, but was largely the only source of offense the Rebels could generate in the second half of that game.

On this night, in a 93-86 win over a San Diego team that entered the game 5-1, the wealth was spread in the half court offense. Four players scored in double figures. Breein Tyree led 22 points, followed by Terence Davis with 20. Freshmen K.J. Buffen and Blake Hinson poured in 15 points apiece and Shuler had 13 on 4-of-8 shooting.

“The ball moved,” Kermit Davis said. “We had three assists against Cincinnati. It is hard to get ball moving when you are dribbling it to shoot all the time. Cincinnati makes you do that a bit. Tonight, for the first time we played against an abundance of man-to-man. Our ball movement was good. We had 20 assists, which is a great number.  The ball got in-and-out of everyone’s hands and we played inside-out. That is why that happened.”

Ole Miss was efficient with how it shot the basketball, too. The Rebels shot 72 percent in the second half and 61.1 percent for the game. Tyree was 6-of-7 and Buffen was 7-of-10.  The Rebels made it a point to get to the rim and beat the Toreros off the bounce. It was an optimal strategy that the team executed well. Specifically, Terence Davis got to the rim early and often. After struggling for two games, the Rebels’ most prolific scorer delivered a more recognizable performance. Ole Miss opened the game by getting the ball to Davis in the post

“It was a lot better,” Kermit Davis said. “I thought that is how he would play. We opened the game with getting it to him in the post to get him to the rim. He scored 20 points and made on three point shot. That is a good sign. He has to get to the line more.”

One of the ways Kermit Davis challenged his senior guard heading into this season was to not let bad nights shooting affect his performance on the defensive end of the floor and in other areas in general. Terence Davis thinks he is maturing in that respect.

“When shots aren’t falling, I am focused on other things,” Terence Davis said. “That is kind of why I had nine assists today. Even with the bad games in Florida, I try to do other things like rebounding the ball and giving other guys opportunities passing the ball and just keeping moving. The game slowed down to me. In Florida, I had time to think about needing to do other things.”

Ole Miss shot it well, but it wasn’t always glamorous in other respects. San Diego closed the first half on a 13-5 run to trim the margin to two points at 39-37.  The lead swelled as high as 16 points in the second half and shrunk to as small as five points with 11 seconds left in the game.

“Our immaturity showed up and we just kind of relaxed,” Kermit Davis said. “Sometimes fans in the stands wonder why a coach is going crazy when his team is up 18 points. That is why. Because we know how quickly games can turn against teams like that.”

Buffen and Hinson continue to play themselves into bigger roles on this team as Kermit Davis tries to develop some depth. Ten players played in this game and seven players scored. Depth is on the forefront of the first-year head coach’s mind as he very well knows what lies ahead of him in a stacked SEC. 

On this night, the Rebels got back in the win column, one that Davis thinks may have some teeth come March.

“I told some of their players after the game that I hope they get into the tournament,” Kermit Davis said. “Because that is a team that can win a game in the tournament. They are mature and they compete.”

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More