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Ole Miss Rides Strong Second Half in 70-54 Win Over Florida

by | Jan 24, 2022 | Men's Basketball | 0 comments

OXFORD, Miss. — It was a tale of two halves for Ole Miss Wednesday night, as the Rebels would score 48 points in the second half en route to a 70-54 win over Florida.

(Click here for box score.)

While it’s not the first time I’ve talked about a contrast between two halves when it comes to this Ole Miss team, this time is different. Earlier in the year the team struggled with some second-half woes, but tonight the Rebels displayed one of their most efficient halves of basketball this season.

“I don’t know of any other college team that needed a win worse than our team,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis after the win.

We’ve gotten close but we haven’t been great in the last 10 minutes of these games against Tennessee, (Texas) A&M, Mississippi State and Auburn, against some really good teams. We’ve played a tough schedule but it was good to see it tonight. We withstood runs. …I thought we handled the pressure.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis

Second-half surge

The Rebels’ 48 second-half points more than doubled the 22 points Ole Miss put up in the first half. After an 8-0 run to start the second, the Gators would come back to tie it at 32-32; however, while in the past the Rebels would struggle, tonight they triumphed.

“It was a good win for us, especially with these games compacted like they are,” Coach Davis said.

Led by their perimeter players, the Ole Miss offense would go on a 12-2 run that would give the Rebs a double-digit lead.

Ole Miss was clicking on all cylinders, and it seemed like one of those nights where the offense couldn’t be denied. To start the second half, the Rebels made 12 of their first 13 shot attempts. They would finish the second half shooting 73.9% (17-23) from the field.

Per Ole Miss, it was the first time the Rebels had shot over 70% in the second in over four years. The last was in a 93-86 win against San Diego back on November, 28th 2018. The last time they reached this feat in an SEC contest was on February 7th, 2015 against Auburn. Ole Miss won that contest, 86-79.

Kermit Davis was happy with the effort and praised the team for its consistent defensive effort.

We came out defensively more aggressive. This is a more mature team. I think Daeshun (Ruffin) is learning how tough these guards are and he’s grown really well.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis

By the Numbers

Defensively, the Rebels forced 14 Gator turnovers and held the visitors to 38% from the field in the game. A critical factor was how Ole Miss limited the Gators from the perimeter. Florida started off 2-for-5 from three in the contest but would miss their next seventeen three-point attempts, finishing 4-of-29 from three (14%).

In the first half, Ole Miss struggled to finish, experiencing something of a scoring drought. Luckily, the Rebels’ defense was solid as both teams only mustered 22 points in the first two quarters to take a tie into intermission.

In the first two periods, Ole Miss tallied eight made field goals, while in the second half they made 17. This could be just the type of second half they need to build some confidence ahead of their next contest Wednesday night against Arkansas.

With the win, Kermit Davis’ team is now 10-9 overall, 2-5 in league play.

Ruffin and Murrell lead the Rebs in scoring

Ole Miss was led by the duo of Daeshun Ruffin and Matthew Murrell. The two finished with a combined 41 points, Ruffin with 21 and Murrell with 20, together making 14 of Ole Miss’ 25 field goals and accounting for 10 of the 16 free throws. Ruffin also added six assists.

I think it’s Daeshun maturing. We looked at all the second-half stats. We’re plus-7 in the first half and minus-21 in the second half of SEC games. …I thought tonight he ran our team better.

Coach Davis on Daeshun Ruffin

Nysier Brooks finished with 11 points and 7 rebounds. Luis Rodriguez had a good outing, scoring in double figures (10) for the first time since the Samford contest on December 21st. He would tie Brooks for the team-high in rebounds with seven.

Ole Miss held the edge in the rebounding battle, 30-28. The Rebels scored 32 points in the paint and recorded seventeen assists compared to ten turnovers. On the night, Ole Miss shot 52% (25-of-48) and 31% from the perimeter (4-13).

The Gators are now 12-7 (3-4) for the year. They were led by Jason Jitoboh who finished with 12 points. Anthony Duruji and Tyrese Appleby added 11 for Mike White’s team. They made 12-14 FTs and shot 19-50 for the game.

NET Rankings

The win for Ole Miss gives the team another Quad 2 win. As of now, here is a look at how the Rebels’ resume stands. As of the end of this game, Ole Miss is 134th in the NET rankings, but please keep in mind these are all subject to change as other games are completed.

Q1: 0-6, Q2: 4-0, Q3: 1-1, Q4: 5-2

On Wednesday, the Rebels host Arkansas in a Q2 matchup. After that, a Friday game against Kansas State will also be a Q2 matchup. Then, Ole Miss has three straight Q1 matchups.

For the Rebels to turn things around, they will need to string together some strong performances in the near future. Tonight’s win is a good confidence builder for that to happen.

We knew this was a must-win. It’s never too late to turn this around. It’s college basketball. Anything can happen.

Matthew Murrell

Next Up

Ole Miss hosts Arkansas (14-5, 4-3 SEC) Wednesday, January 26, at 6:00 p.m. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

TJ Oxley
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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