Just about everything went right for the Ole Miss basketball team on Saturday night.
Though it has been a forgettable opening stretch in SEC play for the Rebels, the team pulled out a 70-60 win over top-draft prospect Anthony Edwards and the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens.
The Rebels showed their most complete performance of the year as it seemed every player on the roster was locked in their specific role.
Head coach Kermit Davis said it was only a matter of time before the Rebels broke through for their first conference win.
“We’ve always come into the gym in a good mood. Our team has played well. We haven’t tried to overdrive them and go to two-and-a-half-hour practices,” Davis said after the game. “We’ve just tried to work on things that we needed to, and today Khadim Sy (looked) like the guy we signed, and then obviously Breein Tyree was so terrific, but (this was) a much needed win for us.”
Sy had his most impressive performance in an Ole Miss uniform with 16 points and four rebounds on 50% shooting from the field and one 3-pointer. Sy showed a steady presence and physicality in the paint on both sides of the ball in his 28 minutes of play, which is something that’s been missing as of late.
Sy has been up and down all season but consistently down during SEC play scoring three, eight, 10 and two in previous SEC games and missing the trip to Florida for disciplinary reasons, but the center impressed in this game with several hustle plays resulting in buckets, extra possessions, trips to the line on offense and turnovers on defense.
The supporting cast stepped up in a big way in the victory, but it was still undoubtedly The Tyree Show. The senior poured in 20 points, four rebounds and four assists, looking like he could get any shot he wanted at any level on the court.
“I’ve talked to Breein a lot. We’ve had a lot of discussions about being a good player without the ball in your hands,” Davis said. “I mean obviously he can go score it, but I thought tonight he made some basketball IQ plays. I thought he made some really good plays defensively.”
The Rebels operated efficiently with Tyree on the court, and it was obvious the SEC’s leading scorer was more and more comfortable as the game went on.
Tyree weaved through the defense to score or dish it off to a teammate on the perimeter or under the basket. K.J. Buffen added 14 points, Blake Hinson had nine and Bryce Williams went 2-3 on 3-point shots on his way to eight points.
“(Tyree’s) one of the very best guards in college basketball, and tonight we got him some help. If we get him a little help with a second and third scorer, then our team can compete with anyone in the SEC.”
Offensive production like that along with tight defense (Ole Miss held Georgia to 30.9% shooting) could lead to sustainable success over the rest of the season, but that’s easier said than done with No. 16 Auburn visiting Oxford on Tuesday.