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No. 18 Ole Miss cruises past Arkansas, 84-67

No. 18 Ole Miss cruises past Arkansas, 84-67

OXFORD, Miss. — Four Rebels finished in double figures Saturday as the No. 18-ranked Ole Miss men’s basketball team defeated Arkansas, 84-67, Saturday afternoon in The Pavilion.

(Click here for box score.)

Ole Miss fans created an electric atmosphere in The Pavilion.

Head coach Kermit Davis commented on how much energy Rebels’ fans brought to the game. (Photo: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

The Rebels (14-4, 4-1 SEC) bounced back from a Tuesday night loss to LSU, using strong defense and balanced scoring to lead the Razorbacks for the entirety of the game. 

“We’ve had two top-15 wins, great wins, but that was probably the best win of the year because of the response after you lose your first league game,” head coach Kermit Davis said after the game. 

“I thought our team had two really physical practices Thursday and Friday because bouncing back and doing it for the first time in this league for a new program, sometimes is hard, especially when you have that kind of atmosphere out there. You want to please the crowd. I thought the crowd and players were connected today. What a fun atmosphere,” he added. 

The Ole Miss defense, which notched 13 steals and converted a total of 17 turnovers into 22 Rebel points, limited Arkansas (10-7, 1-4 SEC) to 40% shooting and 26.1 percent from beyond the arc. 

Ole Miss held Razorbacks’ leading scorer Daniel Gafford to nine points, his season low. 

Junior guard Breein Tyree notched 22 points, going 7 for 15 from the floor and making all six of his free throw attempts. Senior Terence Davis finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, seven assists and five steals. His five takeaways are a career-high. 

Senior D.C. Davis (20) started vs. Ark. (Photo: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)

Bruce Stevens notched 14 points on 6 for 7 shooting from the floor. He also grabbed seven rebounds. Dominik Olejniczak scored a season-high 13 points to go along with his five rebounds and two blocks. 

Senior D.C. Davis garnered the second start of his career and scored seven points on 3 for 5 shooting. He also finished with four assists and no turnovers in his career-high 27 minutes of playing time. 

“You think about his story, what a great story,” Coach Kermit said of D.C. Davis.

He was a walk on, a Mississippi kid. He has worked his tail off in practice, and you see, he’s very athletic at the rim. One of our best, he and Breein (Tyree), in traffic. He guarded well, he stayed within himself. He shot good shots.

Kermit Davis on D.C. Davis

Coach Davis discussed D.C.’s start in Saturday’s game, noting it was not a reflection on usual starter Devontae Shuler who is playing through an injury. 

“Devontae can easily start at Alabama,” Coach Davis said. “He could, he’s still our point guard. I just thought D.C. (Davis) deserved it. I just had a feeling because of how hard he’s worked in practice the last two days. It’s nothing Devontae didn’t do. He’s still our point guard.”

When asked about Shuler’s injury, Davis said the sophomore is improving. “Devontae was a little better health-wise,” he said. “He looked a little better. He’s got to keep it going, take some days off and hopefully he can get himself healed in the next three or four weeks.”

It was Olejniczak who got the Rebels off to a hot start, scoring nine of Ole Miss’ first 19 points. Although Arkansas would get within six, Kermit Davis’ team launched a late first-half flurry of points that gave the Rebs a 46-35 lead at intermission. 

After halftime, Ole Miss picked up where it left off—pushing the lead to 14. However, Arkansas would continue to fight, ultimately cutting the home team’s lead to six on an 8-0 run that forced the Rebs to call a timeout. 

“We came out, had an and-1 and went up 14,” Coach Davis said.

I could sense it, we just had a letdown. We lost our energy and Arkansas just played so much harder in that four minute stretch, and that was just it. We got it cranked back up, went to our 1-3-1, and I thought that energized us. We had some turnovers in transition. I thought that 1-3-1 changed the rhythm of the game.

Coach Davis on the Rebels’ response when the Hogs cut the lead to six

Ole Miss regrouped and went on a 13-2 run that ballooned the Rebels’ lead to 17. Arkansas would never get within single digits the remainder of the game. 

TIP-INS

  • Ole Miss improved to 4-1 in SEC play for the first time since the 2013-14 season.
  • The Rebels won their first game as a ranked team since beating Mississippi State 93-75 (Feb. 6, 2013).
  • The 17-point victory was the Rebels’ largest margin of victory in an SEC game since a 20-point win over LSU (Feb. 14, 2017).
  • Today’s game was the sixth sellout in the history of The Pavilion and marked back-to-back sellouts this week.
  • Senior D.C. Davis started for the second time in his career; his only other start occurred last season against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 19, 2017); Davis played a career-high 27 minutes, scored seven points and dished out four assists without committing a turnover.
  • The Rebels scored 46 points in the first 20 minutes, their most points scored in a first half this season.
  • Terence Davis jumped from 24th to a tie for 21st (1,286 points) on the Ole Miss all-time scoring list with 18 points; Davis also added nine rebounds, seven assists and a career-high five steals.
  • Breein Tyree produced his team-best eighth 20-point game of the season with a game-high 22 points.
  • Dominik Olejniczak scored a season-high 13 points, all coming in the first half.
  • Ole Miss held Arkansas leading scorer Daniel Gafford to only nine points, his lowest scoring output of the season.

(Tip Ins are courtesy of Ole Miss Athletics.) 

Next Up:

Ole Miss hits the road the first part of the week, traveling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to play the Crimson Tide Tuesday (January 22) at 8:00 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on ESPNU.

On Saturday, Ole Miss will step out of league play and host Iowa State in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge at 11:00 a.m. CT. in The Pavilion. 

About The Author

Evelyn Van Pelt

Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn's love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship--and continued as she watched Katie receive three degrees from Ole Miss, culminating with her Pharm D. in 2012. Evelyn, a member of the FWAA, USBWA and the NCBWA, has covered Rebel sports for numerous outlets. In addition to working for The Rebel Walk, Evelyn is a sports writer for a newspaper in Texas.

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