Men’s Basketball Prevails in Exhibition Over Trevecca, 83-76
Second-Half Surge Led by Jarkel Joiner (26 Points) Key for Rebels
OXFORD, Miss. – (Release) The Ole Miss men’s basketball team used a key second-half surge to overcome a tough Trevecca Nazarene team, winning 83-76 in the Rebels’ exhibition opener for the 2021-22 season at SJB Pavilion on Friday night.
The Rebels were strong at the start, but the Trojans did not go quietly, shooting 13-of-28 from three on the night and fighting tooth-and-nail with Ole Miss every step of the way. The Rebels, for their part, pushed back from a first-half deficit and were eventually able to pull away, winning the back half 49-38 thanks in large part to the free throw line and a monster 19-point second half from Jarkel Joiner, who ended the night with 26 points on 8-of-14 shooting and an 8-of-9 clip from the charity stripe.
“Give Trevecca a lot of credit. They looked at times you could put the jerseys on them,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “I thought (CJ Penha) and (Chris Rogers) were fantastic. I’ve been doing it awhile, but they made some unbelievable shots. In college basketball there are just good players everywhere, so give Trevecca a lot of credit.”
Ole Miss started out hot, jumping out to a 23-11 lead at 10:36 in the first after an 11-0 run that featured three consecutive trifectas – two from Austin Crowley (16 points, 3-of-6 3PT) and one from Rebel newcomer and McDonald’s All-American Daeshun Ruffin (5 points). But Trevecca put the pressure on, ripping off a blistering 16-0 run in response – nine coming from Penha alone – and eventually ending the half on a 27-11 advantage and a 38-34 edge at the break.
The Trojans shot a feisty 51.9 percent overall in the first half and cooled off an early offensive start from the Rebels to just 35.9 percent, but Ole Miss slowly chipped away at Trevecca’s momentum – namely through the free throw line. The Rebels made all 20 of their free throws in the back half, eight of which came from Joiner.
Joiner was a tour de force for the Rebels, notching six boards, three assists and two steals to go along with his game-high 26 points in 32 minutes played. He also drew six fouls, as he attacked the rim down the final stretch to help the Rebels close the gap.
“It’s (Joiner’s) team,” Davis said. “We have some other really good leaders, but the basketball gods honor toughness and competitive people like that, it just does all the time. And if it does, boy he’s going to have a great year. He’s the first one there and just tries to lead.”
Trevecca extended to a 10-point lead with 12:05 to play, but five straight points from Joiner kickstarted the Rebels and energized the crowd at SJB Pavilion. What followed was a 12-1 run to tie the game 65-65 with 5:58 to go. Ole Miss forced six of its 17 defensive turnovers in the final 8:13, and the Rebels were able to capitalize with 24 points off those 17 miscues.
A tug of war ensued after a 71-71 tie with 3:05 to play, and the Trojans were able to come within three with just 18 seconds left following a three from Josh Price (12 points), but the Rebels rode the free throw line to their eventual 83-76 victory.
“It’s college basketball,” Davis said. “We didn’t have the greatest practice yesterday. We go and scrimmage a great team two weeks ago and it looked like a top-15 game. It’s just college hoops. There’s just good players all over the place. Am I concerned with what I saw tonight? I sure am, but I still like our team. I’ve gotten beat in an exhibition game before by 20 and then came back and should have been an NCAA Tournament team.”
Ole Miss will officially open its season next Tuesday (Nov. 9), when it welcomes New Orleans to SJB Pavilion. Tipoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CT on SEC Network+.
(Feature image credit: Josh McCoy, Ole Miss)
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. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.