The Ole Miss men’s basketball team may have outscored its first three opponents by double digits, but it wasn’t like they didn’t break a sweat doing so. In all three games, the Rebels used good spurts of basketball to create some separation to remain perfect on the young season.
Before the Rebels took on Chattanooga on Tuesday, it turned out that their first two opponents, Alcorn State and FAU, also held its own against higher level competition as well, winning them in fact. Alcorn State went on the road to get a win against Wichita State and FAU upset in-state SEC foe Florida. After another non-conference win, Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis was quick to point out that ongoing parody in college basketball, despite the new era of roster building and NIL.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen College Basketball so even at all levels,” Davis said in his postgame presser. “It seems these mid-major teams… Alcorn goes to Wichita and wins, FAU goes to Florida and wins and then that team (Chattanooga) played its tail off… Everyone thought the transfer portal and NIL was just going to separate college basketball. It’s almost like we forgot that those teams can get transfers too. They’re hungry. The balance of it early on is unbelievable, which is great for college basketball fans.”
The balance he claims should also translate over to conference play according to Davis, knowing that no game in conference or non-conference play should be taken for granted.
“Our league has never been more balanced,” Davis said. “We’re all going to see that. Games will be decided within the last eight-10 minutes of games. Being able to make plays and do the things you have to do in crunch time, it’s going to be a huge part of conference play really.”
In the win against Chattanooga, the Rebels shot 49 percent (29-for-59) from the floor, out rebounding the Mocs 42-28 and outscoring them in the paint 28-14 at the end of the night. Defensively, the Rebels forced 12 turnovers, scoring 11 off of them and forcing the Mocs to shoot 36 percent on the evening. In the first half, there were nine ties and six lead changes, with the game being tied at 33. It wasn’t until midway through the second half that the Rebels were finally able to create some separation.
Matthew Murrell had a 25-point night, with 17 points coming in the second half. Murrell led the Rebels with 25 points, shooting 9-of-15 from the floor, 6-for-10 from behind the three-point line. true freshman TJ Caldwell added 10 points (4-for-9), six points coming from three. Amaree AbramMurrell, James White and Robert Allen all added five boards.
Ole Miss will be back inside the SJB Pavilion on Friday, November 18 when they take on UT Martin. Tip-off is once again set for 6:30 pm CT and can be seen on SEC Network+ or listened to on the Ole Miss Radio Network. Inside The Rebels will once again be on site to provide updates, notes, facts, observations and more.