Ole Miss hosts Rider this Evening, Rebs to See Friendly Face on Broncs’ Team
OXFORD, Miss. — When Ole Miss steps on the court Tuesday night, the Rebels will see a familiar face on the opposing Rider team. The Broncs, who currently play in the MAAC and are based out of New Jersey, now have Dimencio Vaughn on their roster. Vaughn, who transferred from Rider and was a part of last year’s Ole Miss team, is now back with the Broncs where he first began playing in the 2016-17 season.
It is somewhat of a homecoming for Vaughn, but he and the Broncs will have a special motivation heading into Oxford. For Ole Miss this is an important game. This is their last opportunity to fine tune their roster heading into Saturday. Kermit Davis has already commented he feels his group is “not where they need to be,” but he knows they are just getting started.
“College basketball: it’s a long time; you got to keep trying to get better and better and better. We had some moments of good play. Glad to win and move on and get ready for Rider on Tuesday.“
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis after the win over MVSU
After tonight’s matchup, the Rebels will have three “resume games” coming up in their next four contests. Saturday is when Memphis comes to town, then Ole Miss plays Western Kentucky in Atlanta, and Dayton comes in later this month.
The Rebs have shown flashes of good basketball. Improvements from Austin Crowley and Robert Allen have given Ole Miss a spark on offense.
Jaemyn Brakefield is being given playmaking opportunities, while Nysier Brooks is a physical presence inside. Tye Fagan is an energizer off the bench.
On the other hand, the Rebels have also shown some second half stalls that have derailed what might have been potential wins against Marquette and Boise State. Some free-throw shooting woes have also been costly so far for Ole Miss.
NOVEMBER. 30 vs. RIDER
- 2021-2022 Record: 3-5
- Head Coach: Kevin Baggett
- 2020-2021 Record: 6-17 (5-13)
- Final 2020-2021 NET Ranking: 280th
- Key Additions: Mervin James (Transfer), Dimencio Vaughn (Transfer-Ole Miss), Sedrick Altman (Transfer), Jeff Roesing (Transfer)
- Key Losses: Dontrell McQuarter (Transfer), Lawrence Foreman (Transfer), Christian Ings (Transfer)
Looking at the transfer market, we’ve seen an incredible amount of movement in the last couple of years — but rarely do we talk about a small team who’s gotten better through it. Normally, the best players on these smaller school teams may want to try their hand at a level up, but Rider is the exception to this.
Last year they were like one of those teams when they lost Dimencio to Ole Miss and Frederick Scott to Boston College. They also lost a few graduates, as well, and that had them turn around from being near the top of the MAAC to an 11th place finish last season.
However, they’ve added some good talent by bringing back Vaughn (a two-time First Team All-MAAC player) along with Mervin James, who averaged well into double digits at North Alabama, and a good defender in Sedrick Altman from Pepperdine.
Coach Kevin Baggett has praised Vaughn following his return.
“A guy who’s been developed by my coaches and I and been in our program — to have him back for another year, his final year, hopefully, he brings back to us a better player, having gotten experience playing at the highest level.”
Coach Baggett on the return of Dimencio Vaughn
This Rider team has seen its fair share of ups and downs to start the season, but the Broncs don’t back down easily. Three of their five losses have been within seven points. This includes a 58-65 loss to South Carolina on Sunday.
Vaughn will bring some motivation to his return to Oxford. After struggling to crack the rotation for Kermit Davis last year, he is back with Baggett and is scoring nearly twelve points a game. He and Dwight Murray Jr. (15.9 PPG) form the one-two scoring punch for the Broncs.
For Ole Miss to take care of business, the Rebels have to be aggressive. Rider has given up on average around 21 free throws to opponents. They have one player over 6-foot-8, and he has yet to play significant minutes yet this season. Ole Miss has to attack inside the paint. This means look for guys like Brooks, Brakefield, Fagan, and Robert Allen to be important.
This is a big chance for the Rebels to show they can put it together for the whole game. The next few games will be resume games. Marquette and Boise are too, but they are not “bad” losses. It’s when you string these losses along that it comes back to bite you. Ole Miss can right the ship starting tonight by building off the impressive second half performance against MVSU.
Tip-off against Rider is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (CT) tonight in the Sandy and John Black Pavilion. Ole Miss (4-2) opens as a 16.5-point favorite over Rider (3-5).
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.