OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss did everything right in its 88-61 victory over in-state rival Mississippi State Tuesday night in The Pavilion. The Rebels were more physical and efficient on both sides of the basketball, and they played patiently, much like they did last Saturday against then-No. 5 Baylor in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. (The Bears are now the No. 2 team in the nation.)
Ole Miss (13-9, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) is now one win away from being .500 in the Southeastern Conference for the first time this season. The Rebels will visit Vanderbilt Saturday (2:00 p.m., ESPNU) in Nashville, Tennessee. The Commodores are coming off a 68-54 road victory over Texas A&M Tuesday night.
But before we look at the game against Vandy, here are three takeaways from the Rebels’ victory over the Bulldogs (13-8, 4-5).
Winning the rebounding battle
Against Mississippi State, the Rebels won the battle of the boards, 43-30. Ole Miss had 28 defensive rebounds to the Bulldogs’ 25–and 15 offensive boards to Mississippi State’s five.
After the game, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy discussed just how important that advantage was to the final outcome.
“We knew tonight we had an opportunity where we needed to win the battle of the glass. And I see we finished with a plus-13 with 15 big offensive rebounds. We turned them over 19 times.”
Andy Kennedy on Rebels’ rebounding
Rasheed Brooks’ emergence
Senior forward Rasheed Brooks came into Tuesday’s game averaging just 7.6 points per game. He put 15 points on the scoreboard against Mississippi State.
Brooks was part of an Ole Miss surge late in the first half that helped the Rebels grab a 45-30 lead with 2:20 left before halftime. His teammate, Terence Davis, was happy to see Brooks have a great performance.
“I told him during the game ‘Man, you’re the reason why we got this run going.’ He came in, he gave us the energy off the bench. It was good. I told him that. He had us going.”
Terence Davis on Rasheed Brooks’ game against State
Breein Tyree taking care of the ball at point guard
In the team’s last four games, freshman guard Breein Tyree has taken care of the basketball and the Rebels’ turnovers have decreased.
Ole Miss turned the ball over 17 times against Tennessee. That number went down to 12 against Missouri, 13 against Texas A&M, and then decreased to seven against Mississippi State. In each of those games, Tyree was the starting point guard. Even more impressive is the fact Tyree only committed six turnovers of his own in those four games.
Against State, Tyree had only one turnover, and he finished with seven points, four assists, three rebounds, and one steal in 24 minutes of action.
After the win over the Bulldogs, Kennedy commented on Tyree’s play and how it affects the team.
“Breein continues to emerge as our point guard, which allows me to put guys back in their natural positions. So, I thought from the start, we were efficient offensively.”
Andy Kennedy on Breein Tyree
(Feature image credit: Mario Parham, The Rebel Walk)