The Ole Miss men’s basketball team overcame a slow start to defeat Western Michigan 85-58 at home on Friday.
The Rebels got into a hole early after the Broncos jumped out with a 16-8 lead but soon settled into their defense and used it to jump-start their transition offense.
“Give Western Michigan credit. I think they came in confident,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “They’ve won three games… We came out just kind of flat, which kind of surprised me. The ball didn’t move. We didn’t have a lot of toughness defensively.”
The Rebels went on a 20-2 run over the next six minutes to take a 10-point lead, and they would not look back from there. The Broncos cut their deficit to as low as four but failed to get over the hump and instead saw the game slip from their grasp.
Breein Tyree led the team with 12 points on 4-11 shooting from the field in the first half, including 1-3 from 3-point range.
Khadim “The Dream” Sy had his most productive scoring half of the season to date, registering eight points and a block on 3-4 shooting.
“I thought Dream came out and had a lot of bounce … I thought he changed shots at the rim… and kind of changed the game,” Davis said.
Devontae Shuler recorded seven points, two blocks and a steal in the first half on 2-7 field goals. He failed to hit on both of his attempts from deep in the half.
K.J. Buffen got into foul trouble and was limited to a season-low 13 minutes. He picked up his second foul with 14:55 remaining in the first half and did not return until after the break.
He continued his foul struggles in the second half and fouled out with 5:38 remaining after playing just five minutes in the second period.
Buffen recorded five points and six rebounds in his limited minutes.
The Rebels cruised to the finish behind a strong second half from Shuler.
Shuler was 4-5 from the field after the break and sank his only attempt from beyond the arc. He finished with 16 points on 6-12 shooting along with four rebounds, three assists and three blocks.
Tyree had a team-high 20 points for the night on 7-16 shooting, including 1-4 from deep. He also recorded four boards and three assists.
Luis Rodriguez had 10 points, six boards and two assists, including a beautiful feed to Sy in the first half on a thunderous alley-oop.
“Obviously (Davis wants me to) defend and rebound, but rebounding is going to lead to offense, so coach Kermit (says) all the time ‘rebound, rebound, rebound.’ That’s what they instill in me is to rebound and defend,” Rodriguez said.
The Rebels will play Seattle University on Tuesday before going on the road for the first time this season against No. 14 Memphis.