The Ole Miss men’s basketball team took on the Florida Atlantic Owls in what turned out to be an 80-67 victory for the Rebels. Compared to the Alcorn State game earlier this week, the Rebels got out to a faster start, allowing them to maintain a lead throughout the game.
Point guard Daeshun Ruffin was out again this game with an injury, so freshman guard Amaree Abram and junior guard Matthew Murrell assumed the ball-handling duties once again. The duo combined for 18 points and 10 assists.
The first half saw Ole Miss hit four of its first six three-point shots. However, after this hot start, the Rebels only hit two of their next nine shots from behind the arc. The season is still young, and many of the players are trying to establish themselves in the rotation. Once this group gets more games under its belt, the threes will fall.
This team has all the talent and tools to excel from three-point land.
The Rebels won this game with key contributions from center Robert Allen and forward Josh Mballa, not to mention a team-high of 17 points from forward Jaemyn Brakefield. The offense looked a lot more fluid in this game, and the fans saw hints of what this team could be.
Ole Miss, yet again, dominated the boards: 38 compared to FAU’s 27. Head coach Kermit Davis has a very physical squad from top to bottom, which is nice when it comes to substitutions. There is very little, if any, drop-off when the starters sit, especially in the frontcourt. Davis can throw five different guys in the game that are six feet, seven inches or taller and receive the same production on both offense and defense.
On the topic of defense, the Rebels pulled out their 1-3-1 trap for the first time this season on two separate occasions; one ended in a turnover and the other in a contested missed shot. It was only a matter of time before Davis made this defensive call, and this decision could not have been better.
The defensive player of the game is none other than Myles Burns. Burns finished the contest with four steals and a block off the backboard that sent shudders into the rafters of the Sandy and John Black Pavillion. So far, Burns has impressed and proved why he was considered one of the best defenders in all of Division II in the last couple of years.
As many know, the defense will almost always be the strong suit for the Rebels; however, in the first two games, Ole Miss is averaging 76.5 points a game, which is a stark improvement from last season’s 68.1 points per game. If the Rebels can keep this average up, they will give many teams a run for their money.
The men’s basketball team is back in action on Tuesday Nov. 15 at 6:30 C.S.T versus Chattanooga at the SJB Pavilion, so come out and support the 2-0 Rebels.