Photo courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics.
Last night was Ole Miss’ 9th straight win, and the 82-67 win over #11 Auburn was undoubtedly the program’s biggest win in years.
In front of a roaring crowd inside of the Pavilion, the Rebels never trailed and picked up a huge win as SEC play begins to heat up. While it was Breein Tyree’s 31 points against Vanderbilt that led the Rebels to their first SEC win, Terence Davis put up 27 points and 12 rebounds as he carried Ole Miss to their first win over a ranked opponent since 2015.
Behind 17 first-half points from Davis, Ole Miss built a 42-29 lead as the teams went into the locker room, but Auburn continued to fight back in the second half. On several occasions, the Tigers were able to cut the Rebel lead to 3, and even 2 at one point.
Where Rebel teams in the past may have folded, Kermit Davis’ squad was able to regroup and regain control of the game. Anytime the Rebels needed a clutch basket, they turned to Davis or Devontae Shuler. The Rebels had built a 69-60 lead with 4:10 left to play, and Shuler hit a three from the top of the arc to shut down any hopes of another Tiger run.
Schuler finished the night with 14 points, and off the bench, freshman KJ Buffen gave the Rebels 16 points.
“We responded to all of their runs. That’s what good teams do. We kind of got sideways, it went down to three or four (points), but we kept making plays offensively,” Kermit Davis told ESPN after the game.
As impressive as Davis and Schuler were on the offensive end, Ole Miss’ defensive effort was key to their victory. The Rebels out-rebounded Auburn 45-37 and held the Tigers to 32% shooting night from the floor while picking up 11 steals.
Ever since the Pavilion was built, Ole Miss has been waiting for the home-court advantage that the crowd provided last night. Early on, it was clear that the large crowd was going to put their stamp on this game as Davis threw down a dunk in the first half that got the crowd going, and they kept the energy level up for the entire game.
“To see the fan base come together this early – there aren’t students on campus and the student section was full. The Ole Miss spirit is fabulous and if you give them something that they want to see, they will come out. That is what made this win really special for all of us tonight,” Kermit Davis said.
While this is Kermit Davis’ first season at Ole Miss, AD Ross Bjork oversaw the construction of the new arena, and he told SportsTalk Mississippi that this is what they had in mind when it was built.
“That is what this was built for,” Bjork said. “Loud, students right on top of the court. Obviously, with being 11-2 coming into this game and people being excited about Kermit and the culture he is building, that is what you envision.”
The Rebels are now 2-0 in SEC play and 12-2 overall, and they’ll now head to Starkville to take on the #14 Mississippi State Bulldogs in a rivalry matchup.
The #14 Bulldogs (12-2) are coming off of a loss to South Carolina, and Ole Miss will have to deal with what will likely be a hostile environment inside of Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday.
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