Published on December 17th, 2020 | by TLV News0
Men’s Hoops Pulls Away from MTSU, Remain Unblemished
All Five Rebel Starters Reach Double-Digits
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – The all-time winningest coach in Blue Raider history beat his former team with a similar style of play that made way for unprecedented success in Murfreesboro. The Rebels (4-0) were again near unstoppable in the paint and put together yet another defensive masterpiece to knock off Middle Tennessee State 70-51 in Kermit Davis‘ return to MTSU.
“This has a chance to become of the best defensive teams I’ve ever coached,” Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis said. “Tonight, I thought it was the most consistent…Our effort and following the game plan has been good so far.”
All five starters scored in double figures for the Rebels for the first time this season, with the big men leading the way. Romello White put together another outstanding performance with a team high 16 points and six rebounds, followed by K.J. Buffen, who had season-high 11 points and a team high seven rebounds. Luis Rodriguez, Jarkel Joinerand Devontae Shuler each had 10 points. Shuler was tasked with working against and guarding Blue Raider and younger brother, Dontrell Shuler. The younger Shuler finished with 19 points to lead MTSU.
As a team, the Rebels finished with their best shooting mark of the season. They shot 55 percent from the floor and made a staggering 48 points from the paint alone. They also cashed in 22 points off 19 turnovers while forcing the Blue Raiders to shoot 30 percent, continuing a four-game stretch of outstanding defense.
Despite a slow start on the shooting end, the Rebels opened up with a 7-0 run, setting the tone heading into the game’s first media timeout. A steal and score from Joiner gave Ole Miss an 11-2 lead. During that stretch, all five starters found the scoreboard. Shuler had three points while the rest had two. The Rebels also forced five turnovers in the first five minutes of play and didn’t allow a single field goal until seven minutes in.
After allowing a couple of buckets for the first time, Ole Miss forced MTSU to miss on nine straight buckets. Both teams finally broke ice with a few made threes in a row, including Joiner’s first three pointer of the season with about six minutes left in the first half. The two teams combined to hit eight of their last nine shots to make the score 32-22 at the half in Ole Miss’ favor.
White finished the first half with 12 points and four rebounds, all while shooting 6-7 from the field. As a team, the Rebels finished the first half with their best field goal percentage of the season (54 percent). A large chunk of Ole Miss’ first half points came in the paint with 22. The Blue Raiders shot just 29 percent, with half of their points coming from beyond the arc. They lost 11 turnovers with and gave up 12 points off them and only scoring six points in the paint offensively.
Three minutes into the second half, Ole Miss opened up their biggest lead of the game, 39-24 following a 6-0 run. The carnage would continue, adding to their run 13-0 while the Blue Raiders missed seven straight field goals in a near five-minute scoring drought. Ole Miss never looked back from that point on.
After their first road game of the season, the Rebels remain away from home with a matchup against Dayton (Dec. 19). The battle with the Flyers tips off at 1:30 p.m. CT on NBCSN.
- Ole Miss won its third straight game in the series to take the all-time lead 7-6.
- The Rebels moved to 4-0 for the third time in the last five seasons.
- Ole Miss won its first road game of a season since the 2015-16 campaign, snapping a four-game losing streak in road openers.
- All five starters scored in double figures for the first time since Feb. 29, 2020 vs. Vanderbilt.
- The Rebels held a 48-16 advantage in the paint.
- Ole Miss shot a season high 54.9 percent from the field, going 28-51.
- Head coach Kermit Davis faced his former school Middle Tennessee for the first time in Murfreesboro.
- Devontae Shuler faced off against his brother Dontrell; Devontae scored 10 points, while Dontrell had a Blue Raider high 19.
- KJ Buffen tallied season highs in points (11) and rebounds (7).
- Jarkel Joiner scored 10 points, his most as a Rebel.