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Rebels Send Seniors Off with 56-46 Win Over Vanderbilt

Rebels Send Seniors Off with 56-46 Win Over Vanderbilt

OXFORD, Miss. — Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis always says the only way to enjoy Senior Night is to win. His Rebels did just that Saturday night in The Pavilion, defeating Vanderbilt, 56-46, in the last home game for the seniors.

(Click here for box score.)

Last Saturday the Ole Miss faithful were left stunned after a shocking defeat at the hands of the Commodores in Memorial Coliseum in Nashville. Head coach Jerry Stackhouse led a squad without its top two scorers to an upset win that slimmed Ole Miss’ tournament chances. This Saturday, however, the Rebels exacted revenge against the Commodores and kept their postseason hopes alive.

For seniors Romello White and Devontae Shuler it would mean one final time to suit up in front of the Ole Miss fans.

Devontae Shuler and Romello White

Devontae Shuler and Romello White were honored on Senior Night in The Pavilion. (Photo: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

The contest was also an opportunity to finish the season strong and make a final push to add to an NCAA tournament resume. With a win, the Rebels would finish the season winning seven of their last nine contests.

But unlike the first contest, the Commodores would get back a key contributor in sophomore Scotty Pippen, Jr., whose emergence continues to impress many in the college basketball community.

Rebs catch fire

Ole Miss (15-10, 10-8 SEC) stuttered out of the gate but eventually ran all over a tired Vanderbilt (8-15, 3-13 SEC) team. Coach Stackhouse’s Commodores came to Oxford for the third leg of a three-game road stand that lasted five days.

After a quiet start, the Rebels jumped out to a commanding lead that would reach as high as 25 points in the second half.

A Vanderbilt run late in the second would jolt some fans as the Commodores were able to cut it down to nine with 1:54 left in the contest. However, at the final buzzer it would be the Rebels who would get the last laugh with the win that capped off the regular-season finale.

The Commodores started the contest making their first three shots, leaving many wondering if a repeat of the previous Saturday was coming — but the Rebel defense began to step it up a notch on its way to forcing 16 turnovers on the day.

The Rebels, who were largely in control of the game, set up in their 1-3-1 defense fairly easily and that gave Vanderbilt fits. A big difference between the first contest and Saturday night’s win was Ole Miss’ ability to take away good three-point looks as Stackhouse’s squad shot 27% from beyond the arc which is well below their 36% season mark.

On the offensive end the Rebels notched an efficient first half, despite having to adjust to playing a majority of the game without guard Devontae Shuler and forward K.J. Buffen. Shuler found himself in foul trouble for most of the night and Buffen left the game with an injury after playing just seven minutes.

Ole Miss would shoot 13-26 from the field in the first half while making three triples. The Rebels would get back to their roots, being dominant on the glass and scoring in the paint. They outrebounded the Commodores by eight in the first and scored six more points down low than Vanderbilt.

In the second half the Rebels went cold after building their lead early in the half. Ole Miss would only shoot 34% from the field in the second, but it would be too little, too late for Vanderbilt.

Overall, the Rebels won the rebounding battle, 34-24, and scored nine points on second chances while the Commodores didn’t have any.

Vanderbilt was led by Issac McBride who finished with 16 points on 4-8 shooting and four triples.

Contributions from all over

Ole Miss would find contributions from plenty of players in unique ways. All four of the bench players would have major impacts due to the injuries/foul trouble of Ole Miss starters.

Sammy Hunter and Robert Allen would spend time playing atop the 1-3-1 and the Rebs didn’t miss a beat. Freshman Matthew Murrell played with confidence in what some may consider his best game of the season.

Jarkel Joiner was the team’s leading scorer with 15 points on an efficient 6-13 shooting. Senior Romello White also scored in double figures with 11 points. White would also grab four rebounds and block two shots. Shuler, who was in foul trouble, struggled to get much going in only 16 minutes of action as he fouled out after scoring five points.

But the rest of the team was there to make up for their leader’s absence.

SEC Tournament Seeding

The Rebels now must wait and see what their SEC tournament position will be. If Florida beats Tennessee on Sunday, that will move Ole Miss up to the fifth seed and the Rebels would play the winner of a Vanderbilt/Texas A&M matchup in the second round of the SEC tourney.

If Tennessee beats Florida, however, Ole Miss will remain the six seed and will play South Carolina. Regardless of the opponent, the Rebels will look to impress in Nashville for one final push for the NCAA tournament.

TIP-INS

  • Ole Miss finishes conference play with a 10-8 record and will be either the fifth or sixth seed for the SEC Tournament, depending on the result of tomorrow’s Florida-Tennessee game.
  • The Rebels beat Vanderbilt for the ninth time in the past 12 meetings.
  • Ole Miss held the Commodores to 46 points, their lowest output in the series since Jan. 21, 1981 (Ole Miss won 46-44 in Oxford).
  • The Rebels improved to 11-0 this season when keeping opponents under 40 percent from the floor.
  • Ole Miss held an opponent to 50 points or less for the sixth time this season.
  • Prior to the game, Ole Miss honored seniors Devontae Shuler and Romello White.
  • Knocking down a three to start the game, Shuler tied Terence Davis for eighth in school history with 176 career threes; he also passed Marshall Henderson and Stefan Moody on the Ole Miss all-time scoring list with that bucket.
  • NBA Rebel Terence Davis was in attendance with the Toronto Raptors off due to the All-Star Break; the crowd of 2,017 gave Davis a standing ovation when he was welcomed back on the videoboard.

(Tip-Ins are courtesy of Ole Miss Basketball.)

Stay tuned to The Rebel Walk for all your updates on Ole Miss’ SEC Tournament run. Follow our Trevor Oxley on Twitter and The Rebel Walk for all the latest.

(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)

About The Author

TJ Oxley

TJ Oxley is a current MBA student at Ole Miss after having earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Toledo. He currently covers college hoops and the NBA Draft for the Basketball Society as well as all things Ole Miss for The Rebel Walk.

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