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OXFORD, Miss. – Five Rebels scored in double figures Friday night as Ole Miss rolled to a 94-76 win over Louisiana-Lafayette in the season-opener for both teams.
Junior Terence Davis led the way with 21 points. Senior Deandre Burnett scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half. Freshman Devontae Shuler finished with 14 points, while sophomore Breein Tyree added 10.
Senior forward Marcanvis Hymon helped the Rebels overcome a slow start and notched a double-double in the process, finishing with 13 rebounds and 12 points in 32 minutes of play–the most minutes of anyone on head coach Andy Kennedy’s team.
(Click here for Box Score.)
After being behind 42-40 at the break, the Rebels outscored ULL (0-1) 16-6 during a four-minute stretch to take a 66-57 lead and would later increase their lead to 12 off Hymon’s layup.
“Kudos to that kid,” Kennedy said of Hymon in the post game press conference.
“He’s had a great summer. I was so proud of the way he led. I challenged him to lead that group of bigs because of his experience and he was really, really good tonight.”
Head coach Andy Kennedy on the Rebels’ Marcanvis Hymon
The Ragin’ Cajuns would cut their deficit to six, 66-72, with back-to-back 3s from Cedric Russell with 7:44 left in the game. After the second made 3-point attempt, however, Russell was called for a technical foul, and the Rebels reaped the benefits with two fouls shots made by Davis.
That was closest ULL would get, despite the physicality it had showed from the opening tip.
“That team is going to win games. They’re good,” Kennedy said of the Ragin’ Cajuns. “They got good inside scoring. They got good guard play. They got veterans and those are typically the teams that make that run. I foresee them doing well.”
There was a point in the first half when the Rebels were trailing by as many as 10 points and couldn’t seem to get a shot to fall from beyond the arc. Justin Miller and Bryce Washington’s back-to-back layups gave the Ragin’ Cajuns a comfortable 35-25 lead with 5:19 left in the first half.
Ole Miss started to see the light at the end of the tunnel with five quick points from Bruce Stevens and a 3-pointer from Devontae Shuler that brought the Rebels to within five (35-30) with 4:03 left in the first half.
Ole Miss finished the half outscoring ULL 10-7 to cut its deficit to 42-40 at intermission.
Shuler was 4-of-6 from the three-point line and gave the Rebels a boost off the bench in the second half.
Kennedy praised the true freshman for his contributions to the win.
“I thought he was a huge spark for us when the game was still in play at about six or eight points. He knocks down a couple of big shots, and we go ahead to stay.“
Kennedy on Devontae Shuler
Though they missed their first seven 3-point attempts of the game, the Rebels finished the first half hitting four out of five, two of which came from Davis. For the game, Ole Miss made 7 of 21 shots from beyond the arc.
Assistant coach Rahim Lockhart is on a medical leave of absence and will be out indefinitely. After the game, Kennedy mentioned there’s no exact timetable for Lockhart’s return.
Ole Miss will stay home on Monday to host Eastern Kentucky (5:30 p.m. CT, SEC+).
Louisiana-Lafayette will host Louisiana College on Tuesday, Nov. 14.
(Feature image credit: Dan Anderson, The Rebel Walk)
Courtney is from Memphis and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in May of 2014. He began his journalism career covering the Memphis Tigers Men’s basketball team, which landed him an intern position on 730 Yahoo Sports Radio and a position with Rivals.com. A freelance writer for the Associated Press, Courtney is also a member of The Rebel Walk team and reports regularly on Ole Miss football and basketball. Courtney, the father of a six-year old girl named Soniyah, prefers to cover NCAA basketball and football, but is happy to report on any other sport that comes his way.