OXFORD, Miss. – Ole Miss sent Florida back to the swamp with a cold-blooded 68-51 victory Saturday afternoon following an electric 23-point performance from Breein Tyree and with help from his teammates as two other Rebels finished with double digits.
Breein Tyree did Breein Tyree things: driving to the rim, sizing up defenders in to pull-up threes, something Rebel fans are accustomed to now from the All-SEC guard who finished with 23 points on 9/19 shooting. (Click here for box score.)
Tyree just couldn’t be stopped. The Gators put hands in his face. They tried to make him dribble. They hedged him. In the end, Tyree did what All-SEC performers do — get buckets regardless of the competition.
“Breein put us on his back.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
The first half looked to be all Rebels as they led by as much as thirteen points. But a late 8-2 run by the Gators cut the lead to six at intermission, despite shooting 9/26 from the field and 3/11 from 3.
Florida stormed out of the gates in the second half, scoring five points in the first minute to cut the Ole Miss lead to two, but the Gators simply had no answer for Tyree, who fought back every Gator attack, making three pointers, mid range shots, layups and everything in between to keep the Rebels in the lead–a lead that never left Ole Miss’ grasp, with the score staying around double digits for the remainder of the game.
The rest of the Gator offense struggled to score and take care of the ball. They were held to 33% from the floor, including 22% from three and committed 15 turnovers compared to Ole Miss’ 10.
“We just kept getting stop after stop,” Davis said. “We’re guarding on the other end.”
KJ Buffen did his best Draymond Green impression, contributing in all aspects of the game en route to notching 14 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and solid rim protection in 38 minutes of action.
Buffen did more than just put back offensive boards. The sophomore showcased a nice pivot into hook action, along with a Eurostep that helped him shoot 6/8 from the field.
Funny enough, Buffen does not practice the Eurostep. “I just react from my defender,” he said.
“I was really proud of KJ today,” Davis added.
Sophomore Blake Hinson continued his solid shooting performance from Wednesday’s win, scoring 9 points and grabbing 4 rebounds in an upward swing against his home state of Florida.
Ole Miss finally was able to feature contributions from players other than Breein Tyree. Three Rebels finished in double figures as Devontae Shuler added 14 to join Tyree’s 23 and Buffen’s 14.
After a rocky January in which the Rebels won only one game, Coach Davis shifted the focus to “Win February,” a task that Ole Miss is completing with flying colors right now, starting February off with two wins of 15+ points.
Ole Miss (12-11, 3-7 SEC) has an opportunity to continue to “Win February” on Tuesday in the Basket-Egg Bowl, in which rival Mississippi State comes to town to cap a three game homestand for the Rebels.