Ole Miss’ close loss at Butler provides hope for Rebel basketball going forward

Posted on Nov 18 2018 - 8:37pm by Josh Clayton

Ole Miss Men’s Basketball suffered an 83-76 loss in the Rebels’ first road game of the season at Butler on Friday.

The Rebels were unable to end the Bulldogs’ 45-game non-conference win streak in Hinkle Fieldhouse despite stellar offensive performances from Terence Davis and Breein Tyree in the backcourt.

Terrence Davis had a season-high 30 points going 10 for 16 from the floor and matching his career-high six threes in the game. Tyree is moving into his role as the No. 2 option on offense as he was the only other Rebel to score double digits with 17.

It was back-and-forth between the two teams all game long, but the Bulldogs pulled away at the end behind their experienced backcourt.

Senior guard Paul Jorgensen took over the game with his career-high 27 points and six threes of his own. The Rebels stifled the Bulldogs’ star guard Kamar Baldwin, forcing him to make only five of his 17 shots from the field. Baldwin, however, managed to finish with 23 points as he sunk all 12 of his free throw attempts.

The Butler Bulldogs went 18-18 from the stripe in the second half, which was a big factor in how they were able to stay in the game down the stretch despite not making a field goal for nearly eight minutes.

“Jorgensen got them off to a good start and we made so many defensive mistakes,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “And we just couldn’t keep them off the free-throw line in the last eight minutes. To go 18 of 18 from the line was really the difference in the second half.”

The Rebels had trouble finding production at the center position from Dominik Olejniczak and Bruce Stevens. Olejniczak’s three turnovers eclipsed his two points on the day and Stevens only scored six points along with one rebound before fouling out with 15 minutes left in the game.

Ole Miss can come away with some confidence from this game, as they went head-to-head with a team that’s expected to go to the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels need more contribution from the big men to get over the hump and challenge the strong teams going forward this season.

Kermit Davis’ Rebels are already showing improvement from last season after two games. With Devontae Shuler running the offense at point guard, Tyree can help Terence Davis with some of the scoring responsibilities.

The Rebels are back in action on Tuesday night against Nicholls State in the Pavillion. The matchup is set to tip off at 6 p.m. on SEC Network.