The Ole Miss basketball team caged the Memphis Tigers 67-63 in front of a sold-out crowd at the SJB Pavilion on Saturday to notch their biggest win of the season. The Rebels are now on a four game win streak against ranked opponents dating back to the 2020 season. Standouts for the Rebels were senior guard Jarkel Joiner with 20 points shooting 6-for-13 from the field goal, and 7-for-8 from the free throw line. Memphis native Matthew Murrell came away with 19 points and went 7-for-9 from the free throw line.
“This game definitely meant a lot more to me just because I’m from the city of Memphis,” Murrell said. “I grew up around all those guys, grew up playing against coach Penny (Hardaway), so it was definitely a big game for me.”
The Tigers were ranked No. 18 in the country and were 5-2 coming in on a two game losing streak with a lot to prove, while Ole Miss had lost to both Marquette and Boise State. It’s not an understatement to say that both teams needed this win to start building momentum for conference play.
“We beat a really hard playing team today, ” Head Coach Kermit Davis said. “I thought Memphis competed at a real high level. It wasn’t the prettiest offensive game on both sides. I think both teams really competed and guarded really well. I have a lot of respect for how hard they play, the shots weren’t easy at all. I just thought our guys had a great game.”
From tip-off to the end of the half there was little that separated the two teams, but it was the better free throw percentage that solidified Ole Miss the advantage and ultimately came away with the half time lead of 30-26. Memphis struggled from the free throw line at a 42.9%, while Ole Miss shot at a perfect 100% from the money line.
Both teams shot right under 38% from the field goal line, but good defense from the Rebels perimeter defense forced Memphis to go 0-4 from the three point line, and Memphis is a team that thrives on their three point shooting. Memphis had an early lead, but Ole Miss dissolved that quickly and led the way through the latter half of the first half. The Rebels forced the Tigers to go on a four minute scoring drought that allowed the Rebels to extend their lead.
Early in the second half it looked as if Ole Miss would continue to build on their four point lead, but Memphis had other plans. Memphis hit two early free throws at the 19:38 mark that would help them go on a 6-0 run to take the lead 36-32.
With two minutes left in the game, Ole Miss was holding on to an 11 point lead, but Memphis did not let the Rebels off that easily.
Memphis guard Tyler Harris hit a three-point shot with 2:11 to go in the game that cut the Rebel lead to eight points. After a jumper, Memphis was down six points with 1:53 to play. With Nysier Brooks’ clutch shooting on the line for Ole Miss, the Rebels secured the win 67-63.
With this win, Ole Miss is slowly ascending and trying to go into conference play with full steam ahead. It seems that the Memphis Tigers are going backwards.
Ole Miss will resume play on Saturday Dec. 11 against Western Kentucky in Atlanta, at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.