OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss got off to a hot start against the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders Tuesday night and didn’t look back, en route to an 85-63 win.
(Click here for box score.)
Dominik Olejniczak had his best performance of the season thus far, scoring 15 points and grabbing six rebounds to lead the Rebels (6-5) to the win over TAMU-CC (3-7) Tuesday night inside The Pavilion.
The victory moved the team to one game over .500 for the second time this season. Ole Miss is now 56-3 all-time against teams in Southland Conference.
Ole Miss went on a 13-0 run midway through the first half to push its lead to 37-18. The run was capped off by Devontae Shuler’s three-pointer in the corner, right in front of the Islanders’ bench. Ole Miss went into halftime up 50-31, hitting 17 of 29 shots from the field off 16 assists.
“I don’t know if I have ever been part of a team that was as efficient at sharing the ball as that group.“
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
Starting off hot
The Rebels began the game making shots from 3-point range. Shuler made the first one from the left wing, followed by a 3 from Deandre Burnett. Justas Furmanavicius, who seemed to be quite comfortable with his outside game against the Islanders, made three 3s in the first half. Markel Crawford knocked down his first shot of the night from deep to keep Ole Miss out front 17-9.
Furmanavicius notched 15 points on the night, with all of them coming from long range. He went 5 for 8 from the field. Burnett finished with 13 points. Tyree also added 11 points on a night Ole Miss made 14 of 30 shots from 3-point range.
During the 13-0 run, the Rebels were finding success from different areas of the court. Terence Davis made two 3s plus a layup. He finished with 11 in the win. Marcanvis Hymon, Breein Tyree, and Olejniczak each scored baskets during the surge. Olejniczak nailed a short jumper before Shuler’s second 3 of the first half.
“I thought early we gave him the ball where he can just turn and finish with his size. He’s a big kid, he has to play big. He had three big blocks for us at the rim, which is a huge improvement. That’s what I’m the most excited about. I thought we came out and set the tone defensively, then our offense followed suit.”
Andy Kennedy on Dominik Olejniczak
Joseph Kilgore led TAMU-CC in scoring with 17 on 7 of 19 shooting. The team’s second-leading scorer, Kareem South, went scoreless in the first half, but scored seven in the second half. Perry Francois added 12 on 6 of 8 shooting in 23 minutes.
As a team, the Islanders made 26 of 61 shots.
Lineup changes for the Rebels
Kennedy decided to change up his starting lineup against the Islanders.
D.C. Davis, Devontae Shuler, Dominik Olejniczak, Deandre Burnett, and Justas Furmanavicius started the game. Davis is on scholarship for Ole Miss, but had played only two minutes for the Rebels this season. Against TAMU-CC, he played nine minutes, scoring one point.
Kennedy went with Shuler, Burnett, Crawford, Olejniczak and Furmanavicius to start the second half.
Ole Miss finished the game making 28 of 52 shots from the field. The Rebels recorded 25 assists, and won the rebounding battle, 34-28.
Ole Miss hosts Bradley on Friday, while Texas A&M-Corpus Christi opens up conference play at home against Central Arkansas on Dec. 28.
(Feature image credit from Ole Miss vs. Lafayette: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)