STARKVILLE, MS – Yes, these Rebels are legit. After being down by double-digits on the road to in-state rival Mississippi State, Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis’ squad mounted a comeback behind true freshman Blake Hinson’s game-high 26 points as the Rebels took down the No. 14-ranked Bulldogs, 81-77, Saturday afternoon.
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Not only have the Rebels now defied preseason prognostications, they have rattled off 10 straight victories—which places them at 13-2 overall and 3-0 in the Southeastern Conference, atop the league standings. They are also on the team’s longest winning streak since a 13-0 start in 2007-08.
While Ole Miss got off to a hot start to open the contest, the Rebels watched State’s athleticism and rebounding send the Bulldogs on a 14-0 run that could have cost the game for the boys in Red and Blue. However, this well-coached Ole Miss squad responded with an 11-2 run of its own to cut the Rebels’ halftime deficit to two points, 41-39.
“I thought that the last six minutes (of the first half) were the key to the whole game,” Coach Davis said after his team’s win.
“It was down 10. We were kind of spiraling a little bit. Mississippi State had the momentum. [Terence Davis] got his third [foul]. And then I just thought we kind of held tight. Devontae Shuler made some big plays and we finally went to a zone and got some stops somewhat. We just kind of stopped the bleeding and got into halftime.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
The two rivals went back and forth throughout the early minutes of the second half until the Rebels finally took the lead back at the 12:31 mark off Bruce Stevens’ 3-point shot.
The Rebels were able to fight their way through the rest of the contest, holding on to a tight lead until Breein Tyree sealed the game for Ole Miss as he rolled in an off-balance layup to put the Rebels up for the final time with 50 seconds to go.
Hinson was almost unstoppable in Starkville, notching his career-high 26 on 8 for 16 shooting, including 5-11 from three-point range.
“I was just kind of feeling it, and my teammates were looking for me too,” Hinson said after the game.
“In the huddles, every time I came into the huddle they told me to keep shooting it. They just kept feeding it to me. They would find me open, so I was feeling it–and they knew I was feeling it, too.“
Blake Hinson on his career-high performance against State
Hinson also grabbed five rebounds during his team-leading 38 minutes of play. His fiery playing style and impressive abilities on the offensive end will continue to prove very valuable for the Rebels.
-Picked to finish last by the media
-W at Vandy
-W vs No. 11 Auburn
-W at No. 14 Miss State
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) January 12, 2019
In the early minutes of the game, Tyree left for the locker room with what seemed to be a shoulder sprain. But he returned and fought through pain the rest of the way as he helped his team to a huge win in the closing seconds, hitting two final free throws to seal the game.
“It was severe pain to begin with,” Tyree explained. “But in a game like that, adrenaline takes over. While I was on the court, there was no pain for me,” he added.
Tyree finished with 19 points and 5 assists.
Mississippi State (12-3, 0-2 SEC) was led by Quinndary Weatherspoon, who had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Lamar Peters added 16.
While you can’t blame the Rebels for their enthusiasm, Ole Miss was charged with technical fouls three times Saturday, including two for excessive celebration. After the game Coach Davis expressed his displeasure.
“I apologize,” Coach Davis said. “I haven’t had player technicals in a long, long, long time. K.J. Buffen is a freshman and he doesn’t need to say one word about nothing. And Bruce Stevens, he deserved his technical. He looked at the bench. It’s a rivalry game but still, you’ve got to compose yourself.”
- Ole Miss has won nine of its last 11 games against Mississippi State.
- The 10-game winning streak is the longest since 2007-08 (13 games to start the season).
- Blake Hinson scored a career-high 26 points.
- The Rebels played top-15 teams in back-to-back games for the first time since the 2005-06 season.
- The back-to-back wins over ranked opponents marks the first time since 2002-03.
- 3-0 in the SEC for the first time since 2012-13.
(Tip-Ins are courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics.)
With 10 straight victories—including two consecutive top-14 wins, Ole Miss heads back to Oxford this coming week to begin a two-game home stand, beginning with LSU Tuesday night in The Pavilion and concluding with Arkansas Saturday afternoon.
The Rebels and Tigers tip off at 8:00 p.m. (CT), and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.