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Rebels use strong showing on offense to defeat Sam Houston State, 82-69

Rebels use strong showing on offense to defeat Sam Houston State, 82-69

OXFORD, Miss. – In Wednesday night’s home matchup, Ole Miss (5-4) defeated Sam Houston State, 82-69, as the Rebels used a strong offensive showing to help snap a three-game losing streak.

(Click here for box score.)

Ole Miss took advantage of increased efficiency from three-point range, making 10 of 29 shots from beyond the arc. This marked the first time the Rebels have made double-digit shots from 3-point range since a 79-62 victory over Rice on November 22.

Devontae Shuler (Photo: Josh McCoy)

Against the Bearkats, Ole Miss also found balance with its guards. Graduate transfer Markel Crawford led the team in scoring with 16 points. Devontae Shuler had 14 and Deandre Burnett provided 12.

On Wednesday night, Crawford had one of his best offensive performances this season, knocking down 6 of 11 shots from the field, connecting on 4 of 8 shots from 3-point range. One of Crawford’s most impressive moments came in the first half when he drained three-consecutive 3s to help his team build a 19-point lead.

After those shots fell from deep, it was evident Crawford had the shooter’s touch.

“The biggest thing was coming out here and getting the ‘W’,” Crawford said after the win. He also added four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one block. “But it was great to see those shots go in and my confidence is up.”

Head coach Andy Kennedy was pleased to see one of his most experienced guards have a breakout performance in a game where the Rebels led by as many as 20 points midway through the second half.

“I’m happy for Markel because he had really been struggling,” Kennedy said following the win.

While the balanced attack mainly came from Ole Miss’ backcourt, its frontcourt showed progress. Junior college transfer forward Bruce Stevens, who had his second-consecutive double-digit performance, finished with 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting. He also added three rebounds and one assist. In the first three minutes of the second half, Stevens had three baskets, including a dunk, to keep the team’s offensive momentum going.

Marcanvis Hymon stood out on the glass, grabbing nine rebounds. Justas Furmanavicius added eight points and seven rebounds. Dominik Olejniczak finished with six points and four rebounds.

With four games left before conference play begins, the Ole Miss backcourt is beginning to find some stability and gain confidence. But, according to Kennedy, they’re not quite yet where they need to be. “This ain’t football,” Kennedy said.

“It’s pretty clear that KG (Hymon) is our best defender and Bruce (Stevens) is our best offensive player inside. But you can’t play them on separate sides like you can in football.”

Other notes

  • The Rebels won the rebounding battle 43-30 for their highest rebounding margin this season (+13).
  • Ole Miss is 6-0 overall against Sam Houston State and is 55-3 against teams in the Southland Conference.
  • Entering Wednesday’s game, Markel Crawford had hit six three-pointers over eight games. He made four in the first half against the Bearkats and finished with a team-high 16 points.
  • Starting for the second straight game, Bruce Stevens reached double figures in consecutive games with a career-high 13 points.

Next Up:

Ole Miss returns to action on Saturday against Illinois State. Tipoff is set for 2:30 p.m. inside The Pavilion and can be seen on SEC Network.

About The Author

Courtney Smith

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 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.

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