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Gamer: Cardiac Basketball Rebels defeat UCF, 70-68, on the road to move to 9-0

Gamer: Cardiac Basketball Rebels defeat UCF, 70-68, on the road to move to 9-0

ORLANDO — Ole Miss defeated UCF, 70-68, Sunday evening in Orlando to remain undefeated and pick up the Rebels’ ninth win of the season!

(Click here for the box score.)

Here is a breakdown of what happened in the win, the first game all season in which Ole Miss was not favored. 

First Half:

In their first possession of the game, the Rebs went up 3-0 after a Jaylen Murray three-pointer, something that we have seen all season long from the talented guard.

For the next five minutes, the game remained extremely low-scoring, and with 15:33 left, UCF led 7-5. Both offenses struggled to keep the ball moving, and several one-on-one plays were created, resulting in quite a few missed shots.

Unfortunately, almost a minute later, Jaylen Murray picked up his second foul, forcing TJ Caldwell and Austin Nunez to command the majority of guard play in the first half. 

UCF took a 13-10 lead with 12:47 remaining, but finally, the Ole Miss offense started coming to life. On three consecutive drives, Matt Murrell made a three-pointer, Jamarion Sharp slammed down a dunk, and Allen Flanigan also hit a three-point shot, putting the Rebs ahead 18-16.

Both offenses again became stagnant, but due to their fifth offensive rebound of the half, UCF was able to draw another Ole Miss foul, resulting in two free throws. The Knights made one of the two free throws to take the lead with 7:05 left. 

At this point, UCF had four more offensive rebounds and three fewer fouls than the Rebs. Luckily, Moussa Cisse was able to tie the game back up 21-21 after making one of two free throws with just under seven minutes of play.

Ole Miss slowly started to take the momentum from the Knights and went on a 9-2 run over the next two-and-a-half minutes of play. Austin Nunez got on the board, making a layup, which was followed up with another Matt Murrell three and a Flanigan layup. 

Murrell was 2-2 from three and had scored eight points, the most of any Ole Miss player up to that point. The Rebels took their largest lead in the game, ahead 30-23 with 4:15 before intermission.

To close out the half, Ole Miss continued to stay in the lead but allowed UCF to get into the bonus with 1:56 to play. Additionally, TJ Caldwell had three fouls, and both Jaemyn Brakefield and JuJu Murray had two.

Despite the foul trouble, Ole Miss was able to knock down a couple of impactful shots before the half ended, including a TJ Caldwell three, to give Ole Miss the Rebels’ 37th point of the night. 

Offensively, the Rebs shot 50 percent from the field and headed to the locker room with a 37-30 lead.

Second Half:

Matt Murrell came out and immediately sank a jump shot to put the Rebels ahead by nine, but within less than two minutes, he had already picked up his third foul. Jaylin Sellers of UCF answered by making a jumper of his own, scoring his ninth point of the night. 

Up 39-30 with one minute gone in the second half, the Rebels’ Jamarion Sharp blocked UCF for his 300th career block.

With 17:20 on the clock, TJ Caldwell was fouled as he shot a three, giving him three free throws. Caldwell made two of the three, putting the Rebs up 41-33.

It was now the Knights who went on an 8-4 run, while Allen Flanigan was charged with his third foul, the same as Murrell. Moving forward, Ole Miss had to play a much more conservative defense in order to prevent one of their top two leading scorers from getting into deeper foul trouble. 

With 11:47 remaining, the Rebs led 45-43 after the Knights made two free throws due to a foul on Moussa Cisse.

One minute later, UCF hit a three-pointer to take the lead. Both teams were in bonus at this point, and it was clear that whichever team made their free throws would likely win this game. Allen Flanigan did his part to put the Rebs back ahead, making two bonus free throws with roughly 10 minutes remaining.

Throughout the next two-to-three minutes, there were two lead changes, resulting in a 51-50 lead from UCF. At the same time, Murrell had just picked up his fourth foul, meaning he could not commit another or he would be removed from the game. Fortunately, it was another Ole Miss Rebel who made his presence known on the floor. Moussa Cisse got a steal, a dunk, and another dunk to put the Rebs back ahead 56-53 with a little under six minutes to play.

After an 8-0 run for Ole Miss, UCF was able to set their feet and chop away at the deficit. In less than a minute of play, the Knights caused two turnovers and scored six points. Jaylen Murray quickly made a layup of his own, giving the Rebs a 60-59 lead into an Ole Miss timeout with four minutes of action left.

As the game wound down, it looked as if the Rebs would enjoy smooth sailing to the finish line after they took a 68-62 lead with less than a minute of play. However, the Knights completely turned the game around by draining a three, two free throws, and causing a turnover to get the ball down by one point with 29 seconds left.

The big man Moussa Cisse made an incredible block, which caused a UCF shot-clock violation. With four seconds left, Allen Flanigan was fouled, made his free throws, and the Rebs took a 70-67 lead.

Intelligently, Ole Miss fouled UCF with 2.2 seconds, and the Knights went one of two. All the Rebs had to do was inbound the ball, but Allen Flanigan’s pass was intercepted by the Knights. Despite that turnover, which could easily have sent the game into overtime, Flanigan made an incredible play by blocking the Knights’ attempted layup, which finally caused the buzzer to sound. 

Ole Miss somehow escaped Orlando with a 70-68 win over UCF and a huge offensive performance from TJ Caldwell, who scored 14 points off the bench.

By the numbers

Allen Flanigan led the Rebels with 18 points, while Caldwell was second with 14. Matthew Murrell notched 12, while Jaylen Murray added 10 and Cisse added 8. Jaemyn Brakefield scored 6 and Jamarion Sharp added two.

Murrell was 2-for-3 from three-point range. Leading rebounders were Brakefield and Flanigan with 7 apiece. Cisse tallied four blacks, while Sharp finished with one.

Ole Miss now has nine wins, defeated a Big 12 opponent, and remains undefeated. There is a high chance that the Rebs are spotted in the top 25 this week. Hotty Toddy!

Zach Moreth

Zach Moreth

Zach is a freshman at Ole Miss and is studying Sports Administration. Outside of watching and playing sports, he enjoys spending time with his loved ones and being active. I’m excited to help cover our amazing Ole Miss sports teams!

About The Author

Zach Moreth

Zach is a freshman at Ole Miss and is studying Sports Administration. Outside of watching and playing sports, he enjoys spending time with his loved ones and being active. I'm excited to help cover our amazing Ole Miss sports teams!

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