Ole Miss cruises to victory in 90-66 exhibition win over Morehouse College
OXFORD, Miss. – Five different Ole Miss players scored in double figures in the Rebels’ 90-66 win over Morehouse College Thursday night. Cullen Neal led Ole Miss with 19 points in the exhibition game, while Rasheed Brooks and Deandre Burnett each had 17. Terence Davis added 14; Sebastian Saiz notched 11.
(Click here for box score.)
Though the Rebels opened the game in The Pavilion on an 18-3 run, they saw the lead cut to five, 38-33, at the half. However, head coach Andy Kennedy’s bunch pulled away from the Maroon Tigers in the second half as the Rebels went on a 29-3 run thanks to a barrage of shots from multiple players.
Kennedy played a total of 10 guys, with nine of those playing 16 minutes or more. The only exception was freshman Breein Tyree who played eight minutes while still working his way back after injury. Kennedy wanted to get as many players on the floor as possible so he could gauge his team as much as possible before the regular season kicks off next week.
“There were a lot of things that I liked. It’s hard to catch a rhythm when I am playing guys this many minutes as I am. Some guys won’t be playing that many when it starts for real. But I am just trying to get them some experience, give them an opportunity.”
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
Rasheed Brooks drained two 3s, while Neal was able to get one to fall. After Brooks’ second 3-pointer, Davis drained one of his own from the right wing to build Ole Miss’ lead to 62-39.
The Maroon Tigers went scoreless for almost five minutes but were finally able to end the scoring drought with a 3-pointer in the corner, in front of their own bench, by Jordan Wallace, who had a team-high 19 points.
Burnett didn’t seem to have any issues finding the rim, hitting 4 for 8 from the field. As a team, the Rebels shot 50 percent from the field, making 12 of 29 from beyond the arc.
Neal had three of the 12 3-point made field goals, and felt comfortable in his first-ever college basketball game in an Ole Miss uniform.
“It was fun. It was fun to suit up as an Ole Miss Rebel. We had a chance to get out there and play with each other for the first time against another team. That was a great experience.”
Cullen Neal, Ole Miss guard
Ole Miss’ defense also played a huge part in its scoring rhythm, forcing Morehouse College into 16 turnovers and scoring 21 off of them.
Rebels start off hot
The Rebels started the game off hot, leading by as much as 15 points in the first five minutes of the first half thanks to some tremendous shooting from the 3-point line.
Neal made two 3s, and Burnett and Saiz made one apiece. For the moment, Ole Miss was 4 for 7 from deep and 7 for 11 from the field. But as the first half went along, momentum shifted to Morehouse.
The Maroon Tigers, bit by bit, chipped away at the Rebels’ comfortable lead and got within 30-25 with a made layup by Martravious Little. For the remaining five minutes of the first half, both teams traded scores up until the buzzer sounded.
Neal connected on two foul shots with 50 seconds to go before halftime. Omar Alston responded with the 15-foot baseline jumper to take the Maroon Tigers into their locker room down 38-32.
Alston finished with 11 points on 4 for 6 shooting. Little added 10 on 4 for 9 shooting.
Kennedy wants to see fewer turnovers
Ole Miss finished with 20 turnovers in the game, and Kennedy called it “ridiculous.”
“It has been kind of a reoccurring thing for us. We are too loose with the ball at times. The problem is that I got a lot of different guys handling it and that’s something we will have to zero in on and correct.”
Kennedy announced freshman forward Nate Morris didn’t play in the exhibition against Morehouse College because he’s dealing with a stinger in his shoulder. Kennedy mentioned it wasn’t serious but decided it was best keep him out of action.
Ole Miss opens up the 2016-17 season on November 11 in The Pavilion against UT-Martin at 6:00 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised by the SEC Network+