After a disappointing loss to Western Kentucky last week, Ole Miss was desperate for a bounce back performance.
The Rebels showed resilience as they were able to defeat Middle Tennessee 62-52 off of a complete team effort. Multiple players contributed offensively and the team made some key defensive stops down the stretch to seal the victory.
Middle Tennessee isn’t too unfamiliar with Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. Davis coached MTSU from 2002-2018 and led them to the NCAA Tournament on three separate occasions: 2013, 2016 and 2017.
Through the first 10 minutes of the game, both teams were having a hard time getting the ball in the basket. MTSU was shooting 20% and Ole Miss was shooting 23.1% due to a combination of poor execution and missed shots.
Shots started going in as the game progressed, but it was Ole Miss’s defense that gave them life offensively.
The Rebels forced MTSU to commit 17 turnovers and managed to get seven steals. They were able to score 20 points off of MTSU’s turnovers. Those points led to fast-break drives and three point shots.
Freshman point guard Daeshun Ruffin made his return to the rotation after a hand injury cost him a month of missed action. Ruffin had an impressive performance in his first game back, tallying 12 points, one steal and an assist.
Center Nysier Brooks made his mark on this game offensively and defensively. Brooks did an excellent job locking down the interior and didn’t let MTSU get any easy buckets. Brooks managed to get 12 points while shooting 83.3% from the floor. He also grabbed eight rebounds and recorded a block.
Forward Jaemyn Brakefield had a solid night offensively. Brakefield scored 12 points, going 3-for-4 from the three-point line.
MTSU’s leading scorer was freshman guard Teafale Lenard. Lenard scored 12 points and knocked down a couple of three pointers.
With this win, Ole Miss improves to 7-3 and remains undefeated at home (6-0). They will look to keep their perfect record at home alive as they face off against Dayton on Saturday Dec. 18 at 6:30 p.m. CST on SEC Network.