Rebel offense dominates in 98-61 win over Valparaiso
OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss men’s basketball team bounced back in dominating fashion from back-to-back losses in the Rebels’ 98-61 victory over Valparaiso Saturday afternoon at the SJB Pavilion.
“That was the best offensively we have played,” head coach Kermit Davis said postgame.
The Rebels were unstoppable on the scoring end, posting a 56% field goal percentage for the game. The scoring outburst was Ole Miss’ highest scoring output of the season so far, with six players finishing in double figures, including Matthew Murrell who led all Rebel scorers with 17 points.
“It was good to have a win like that,” Davis added.
Offensively, the most damage was done in the paint as the Rebels outscored Valpo 64-26 close to the basket. However, Davis said that the defensive efforts helped lead to the demolition in the paint.
“We held their team to about 38% (shooting),” Davis said.
“That is when our team is better, in transition. That is going to be a big part of us going forward for the rest of the year, being able to create offense from good defense.”
Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis
The Rebel defense forced 21 turnovers, and staggeringly outscored Valpo 36-0 off turnovers. This was aided by the Rebels only having five turnovers for the game, very much pleasing Davis.
“That [turnovers] has been a weakness for our team,” Davis said. “We haven’t done a great job with assists to turnovers, so that was good to see.”
One of the players in double figures was guard Daeshun Ruffin, finishing with 14 points on 6-7 shooting. He said that he likes how he feels about his health.
“We have been managing my minutes very good. I feel good. A few nagging injuries, but, overall, I feel great.”
Daeshun Ruffin on how he’s feeling
Ruffin arrived at the postgame press conference with his son, who has given him extra motivation to come back stronger from his injury.
“Any time that anything gets hard, and any time I face adversity, I just think about my son. It is bigger than me now, so it definitely helps me for sure.”
Daeshun Ruffin on the motivation his son provides
Davis liked what he saw from Ruffin Saturday. Even though there are some things he knows Ruffin can work on, Davis was quite excited to see his guard out on the floor.
“Daeshun did not have any problem getting into the paint,” Davis said.
“Four or five days of practice helped him tonight. Conditioning is little by little getting better. We have to get him to really compete on the ball. It was sure good to see him in the paint and finishing plays. He had a fun time.”
Kermit Davis on Daeshun Ruffin’s return
Every Rebel that stepped onto the court joined in on the scoring fun as all 13 players who saw game action put the ball in the basket, as Ole Miss outscored Valpo 54-25 in bench points. Davis has highlighted his team’s depth all season, and Saturday was a great representation of it.
“Everybody got into the scoring [column], and what I like about it is we still can have a lot of guys play much better,” Davis said. “We have great room to improve.”
The Rebels (7-2) will look to continue their improvement on Wednesday at home against UCF. Tipoff at the SJB Pavilion is set for 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network+.
Trevor is a senior at Ole Miss pursuing a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Sports Communication and Promotion. He has previous experience covering sports for another site, including a variety of Ole Miss sports. Growing up in New Orleans, La., he has the Pelicans and Saints running through his blood. He also grew up in an LSU family, but his love for Ole Miss continues to grow. Trevor hopes to cover sports back in his hometown after college. Laissez les bons temps rouler!