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Despite Short-Handed Roster, Ole Miss Scores Season High in 85-68 Win Over Georgia

Despite Short-Handed Roster, Ole Miss Scores Season High in 85-68 Win Over Georgia

ATHENS, Ga. — Against all odds, a short-handed Ole Miss roster went into Athens and delivered the best offensive performance of the entire season as the Rebels defeated Georgia, 85-68.

I’m really proud of our team. It’s a much-needed road win for us. Hopefully we can get back and get the troops rallied up so everybody’s ready for Auburn.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis after the win over Georgia

Prior to tipoff, Ole Miss announced Jarkel Joiner did not make the trip because of the flu, and Matthew Murrell, while with the team, was also unavailable to play because of flu. Luis Rodriquez and Nysier Brooks did play; however, they were also dealing with some flu-related symptoms.

The Rebels have been faced with plenty of adversity this season, but today Ole Miss took it and completely flipped it on its end.

One of the biggest questions heading into the contest was how would Ole Miss handle the basketball? Losing the trio of Murrell, Daeshun Ruffin (ACL) and Joiner meant Austin Crowley and Tye Fagan would take the reins, and the duo did not disappoint.

Fagan spent the first three seasons of his career in Athens, so this game was incredibly important to him.

“Early-on in the game I had a lot of adrenaline rushing and a lot of thoughts going through my head,” Fagan said.

Just so much went into this game, and giving everything I had here for the longest time, then feeling like I had to move on and coming back here, it was just clouding my head. Eventually I settled in and my team kept us up. They were hooping and just kept us ahead, and eventually in the second half I was able to keep it going and they kept feeding me.

Tye Fagan on making his return to Athens

As a pair, Crowley and Fagan had ten total assists to two turnovers. In the first half, Ole Miss committed only two turnovers and ended the contest with seven total.

I thought AC (Austin Crowley) did a fantastic job. He ran our team, he was mature with the ball… I give a lot of credit to Austin.

Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis

The Rebels played what one could argue was their most complete offensive game of the season and did so without their top three leading scorers.

Ole Miss was led by a three-headed dragon of Fagan (20), Jaemyn Brakefield (19), and Crowley (18).

That was the best Jaemyn Brakefield has played this year because he confidently made shots, and it was just great for Tye Fagan to come home and have 20 and five tonight.

Coach Kermit Davis

Nysier Brooks also scored in double figures with 10. As a unit, Ole Miss shot a blistering 55.9% from the field for the game. The Rebels have had their fair share of second-half woes, but the group kept their foot on the gas pedal as they shot 60% to close the game.

The Rebels also shot 90.9% (10-11) from the line and 42.9% from three (9-21).

Points of Emphasis

One point of emphasis from prior games was that Coach Davis wanted his team to improve upon ending and starting halves. The Rebels certainly did that today as Ole Miss went on an 11-0 run that ended the first half and carried over into the second half.

Speaking of the second half, Ole Miss enjoyed a 6-0 and an 8-0 run to extend the lead up to a high of 20 points.

Another area of note and a major swing in the game was the Rebels’ ability to capitalize on turnovers. Ole Miss scored 20 points off of 13 Georgia turnovers, while the Bulldogs only scored seven off of the Rebels’ seven.

Ole Miss would lose the rebounding battle, 26-27, and they also would lose the points in the paint battle to the Bulldogs, 40-32. When the Rebels were without Nysier Brooks (27 minutes), it was noticeable that the rim protection suffered. Georgia was also able to capitalize on a lot of back door cuts that gave them easy looks at the rim.

The Bulldogs were led by Braelen Bridges (17) and Kario Oquendo (14). UGA shot 48% from the field, 30% from three, and 81% from the line.

With the win, Ole Miss improves to 13-14 (4-9 SEC) and gets past its four-game losing streak. Georgia, on the other hand, now sits at 6-21 with only one win in SEC play and a 1-13 league record.

Opportunity Knocked…

The Rebels answered. Today’s game gave Coach Davis a chance to really dive in and see what the back half of the roster had in it. It was a great time for some players to gain some late-season confidence. Regardless of where the Rebels are in the standings, any opportunity for growth is what fans should be looking for. We saw some good confidence all across the board today.

The duo of Crowley and Brakefield looked like completely different players, as they showed the ability to knock down big shots and fearlessly attack.

Austin Crowley really ran our team and was great from the point guard spot.

Coach Kermit Davis on Austin Crowley

We also had the opportunity to see players like Sammy Hunter, James White and Eric van der Heijden impress in more meaningful minutes. Here’s a quick synopsis on some of the Rebels who really stepped up:

Austin Crowley: Showed some impressive playmaking and was really calm with the ball in his hands. He looked in complete control throughout. Had a few pull-ups in the mid-range that were really impressive. He played bigger today and was able to finish around contact. It could be a big boost for Crowley who has had some inconsistencies this year.

Jaemyn Brakefield: It was Jaemyn’s best game in an Ole Miss uniform, and we saw a huge scoring outburst from the Mississippi native. He had great footwork and displayed the skill that made him such a coveted prospect. A very underrated play was when Jaemyn created a turnover and he immediately took a charge on a UGA attacker. It showed maturity and a mindset to get over things quickly. He was in the zone.

Sammy Hunter: The Bahamas native showed aggression. Kermit Davis has always believed Sammy can be a special offensive talent with his attacking ability and stretch potential. A lot of the time it can be defensive mistakes or rebounding that keeps him out of the lineup. Today, Hunter showed some of that ability with some great face-ups. A quick turnaround and mid-range shot stood out today as there was no hesitation.

James White:Logging thirteen minutes in this one, James White is fearless. He has a lot of confidence in himself. This is something I noticed the first time I saw him take the court, and today we saw some of the positives of that. He had a nice pull-up in the midrange and also attacked well off an DHO screen for a nice layup. He also rebounded well today, grabbing three boards.

Eric van der Heijden: The forward only logged two minutes; however, in that two minutes, fans were introduced to some of the skill and passing ability that make him unique. He attacked a closeout and had a beautiful wrap-around pass for an Ole Miss dunk. His passing has always been an underrated part of his game, and now Ole Miss fans got a taste of it.

Next Up

The Rebels hit the road for a Wednesday night clash against Auburn. The Tigers will look to get back on track after dropping a game to Florida on Saturday. The contest is scheduled for 7:30 PM and will be broadcast on SEC Network. We, as always, will continue to give you coverage through The Rebel Walk.

(Photo Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports)

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.

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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