The Ole Miss men’s basketball team fell to Tennessee on the road on Tuesday night in a one-sided beatdown.
The Volunteers nabbed the lead quickly and never relented, cruising to a 73-48 victory behind forward John Fulkerson’s career-high 18 points.
Ole Miss led for just 40 seconds before turnovers and foul trouble began to pile up. There was a lid on the basket for the Rebels in the first half as only guard Bryce Williams was able to manage a respectable field goal percentage in the first half.
Williams saw a lot of the ball early after he was first off the bench for head coach Kermit Davis less than four minutes into the game. He knocked down a three and got to the line for two free throws in his first three minutes but did not attempt another field goal until the final seconds of the first half.
Williams has not been a major threat from outside for the Rebels but has made more than half of his 12 three-point attempts this season. He played sparingly in the second half and did not attempt shot.
Ole Miss had no answer for any of Tennessee’s big men and tried to overplay passes into the post, leading to foul trouble and easy baskets.
Forward Khadim Sy picked up two fouls in less than a minute and was forced to take a seat on the bench with 15:30 remaining in the half. He returned at the 7:43 mark and picked up his third foul a minute later, sending him to the bench for the rest of the half.
Guard Devontae Shuler picked up his second foul with just over eight minutes remaining in the half and went to the bench, but was quickly brought back out after the Volunteers’ extended their lead to 13 points.
Forward KJ Buffen also picked up two fouls before the break, both in the final five minutes of the half.
The Rebels trailed by 19 after the first period, shooting just 24% from the field an 18% from beyond the arc. They also shot below 50% from the free throw line going 6-11. They turned the ball over six times in the first half while committing 12 fouls and recording only one assist.
The second half was not much better for Ole Miss as the Rebs failed to execute time and time again on the offensive end. Guard Breein Tyree led the team in scoring with 18 points on a meager 7-22 shooting including 3-9 from deep.
Shuler was the only other player in double figures with 11 points on 5-10 shooting. Forward Blake Hinson was 2-11 from the field and failed to knock down any of his six three-point attempts. Sy was limited to two points and five rebounds before fouling out after playing only 12 minutes.
The Rebels looked lethargic and ineffective in their sixth straight loss. They fell to 0-5 in SEC play and now sit at the bottom of the conference standings. They are now 9-9 this season and in danger of falling below .500 for the first time this season.
Their next contest will be on the road against Georgia on Saturday when they face Anthony Edwards and the Bulldogs in Athens.