Despite a late comeback attempt by San Diego, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team was able to hold off the Toreros in The Pavilion on Wednesday night in what turned out to be a high-scoring affair, with the Rebels snatching the win 93-86 and improving their record to 4-2.
The Rebels shot a season best, 61.1 percent from the field in what was an effective and balanced effort offensively. Five Rebels finished in double digits in the win led by junior guard Breein Tyree, who finished with 22 points. Terence Davis poured in 20 while freshmen KJ Buffen and Blake Hinson each had 15 points. Rounding out the offensive showcase was Devontae Shuler, who recorded 13 points on the evening.
After a two-game slump, including a scoreless outing against Cincinnati over the weekend, Terence Davis showed the Rebel faithful what they have come to expect from the junior guard. It didn’t take long for Davis to find his stride, which proved large for the Rebels in a closely fought game against the Toreros and their veteran starting lineup.
“He scored 20 points and made one three, and that’s a good sign,” Kermit Davis said after he urged Terence Davis to focus more on attacking the rim and scoring from the free-throw line.
Tyree’s 22-point effort comes after scoring a career high 28 points versus Cincinnati in the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Florida over the weekend.
“(Breein Tyree is) our loudest voice in the gym. His leadership has gotten so much better over the last seven or eight months,” Kermit Davis said.
Freshmen Blake Hinson and KJ Buffen had career highs as well, both dropping 15 points a piece. Buffen, after originally committing to Kermit Davis and his staff at Middle Tennessee State, flipped to Ole Miss after Kermit Davis was announced as the Rebels head coach.
“(KJ Buffen) is young. He just turned 18. He can play all five spots on our team. He’s got a basketball IQ that’s off the chart,” Kermit Davis said.
Buffen went 7-of-10 after coming off of the bench.
After leading 39-37 at the half, the Rebels never trailed in the second half after San Diego’s leading scorer, Isaiah Pineiro, picked up his fourth foul with just more than 14 minutes remaining. Pineiro, who came into the contest averaging a team-high 22 points, had 17 points in the first half, but only finished with 21 after spending most of the second half on the bench in foul trouble.
During his absence the Rebels went on a 10-0 run to stretch their lead to 68-54. This hole would prove to be too deep for the Toreros to pull themselves out of, especially while missing their biggest weapon on offense.
“I told a couple of their players walking off the floor, I hope you guys get in the tournament, because you’re the kind of team that can win a game in the tournament,” Kermit Davis said.
The Rebels return to action Saturday at 1 p.m. in The Pavilion as they are set take on Louisiana-Monroe.