Ole Miss freshman Breein Tyree isn’t afraid of big moments
OXFORD, Miss. – Whether it’s against a Top 25 opponent or a Southeastern Conference foe, Breein Tyree wants to compete with the best.
His talent and eagerness to play have been evident against teams such as Baylor, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Missouri.
The 6-foot-2, 192-pound point guard out of Somerset, New Jersey scored a career-high (24 points) on the road against the Bulldogs, eight of them in overtime, to help Ole Miss defeat its in-state rival, 87-82.
In the SEC/Big 12 Challenge, Tyree went toe-to-toe with Bears’ guard Manu Lecomte, scoring 20 points for the Rebels. He tallied 15 points for Ole Miss as the team rallied from a 52-39 deficit at home against Tennessee on Jan. 17 in Ole Miss’ come-from-behind, 80-69 victory.
Last Saturday against the Missouri Tigers, Tyree scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half in the Rebels’ 80-77 win.
Even though Tyree is only in his first year at the collegiate basketball level, he has not played like a freshman in critical moments. Instead of being afraid or timid, Tyree embraces the opportunity to be the floor general for Ole Miss (18-11, 9-7 SEC).
“If I’m on the court, I just feel like I am a confident player no matter if my knee is hurting or if I’m not injured. That’s just how I have always been,” said Tyree, who has averaged 8.4 points per game in conference play.
“I just bring confidence to the table and steadiness with the ball, and I think it’s helping the team out in the long run.”
Steady at the point
Steadiness is the perfect word to describe Tyree’s performance with the basketball in three straight games against Texas A&M, Baylor, and Mississippi State, where he notched just one turnover in each game. For the season, Tyree is averaging 1.6 turnovers a game, and his assist to turnover ratio is 1.2.
Andy Kennedy understands with a true freshman there may be occasional inconsistencies; however, the Ole Miss head coach has been pleased with his young point guard’s performance. Tyree had seven turnovers against the Bulldogs in Starkville, but those were outweighed by his spectacular offensive performance.
He had only two turnovers last Saturday against Missouri.
“As Breein has gotten healthier, I think his opportunity to play expanded minutes has come and he’s responded in kind,” Kennedy said. “Again, he’s been all over the map. Against Mississippi State in overtime, he was tremendous.
“He scored the first eight points and gave us a much-needed win after we almost gave that thing away up nine with under four to play. But he also had seven turnovers. So, you will have to live with some of that. I’m going to live with it because that’s who we are right now.”
Ole Miss reached a milestone on Saturday with its win over the Missouri Tigers, joining Kentucky as the only two SEC schools to go .500 or better in conference play in six straight seasons.
(Feature image credit: Mario Parham, The Rebel Walk)