STARKVILLE, Miss. – In the most hostile environment yet this year, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team outlasted Mississippi State at Humphrey Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The Rebels (13-2, 3-0 SEC) clawed back into the game towards the end of the first half and controlled the game late against the Bulldogs en route to an 81-77 victory.
Blake Hinson led the Rebels with a career-high 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including a career-high five made threes. The Rebels had four double-digit scorers. Breein Tyree, after going down with an injury early in the game, scored 19 points and was 8-of-9 from the free-throw line. Terence Davis and Devontae Shuler had 12 and 10, respectively.
Mississippi State (12-3, 0-2 SEC) was led by Quinndary Weatherspoon, who had 18 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Lamar Peters added 16.
The game was a battle right from the tip with the two rivals exchanging leads. Ole Miss made seven of its first nine shots, including a pair of threes by Terence Davis, to hold a slight 17-16 advantage.
With the Rebels ahead by three, MSU went on a 14-0 run to grab a double-digit lead, 32-21. Hinson broke the scoring drought, and trailing by 10, an 11-2 Ole Miss run made it a one-point game. Tyree got an old-fashioned three-point play, and a hard drive by Shuler got him to the line. He converted both free throws. On the next possession, Hinson drilled a triple, and Shuler followed with one of his own. Just like that, the margin was at one, 37-36.
The Bulldogs held a 41-39 at the half, but the Ole Miss defense forced turnovers late and limited the home squad to just four points over the final six minutes of the period. Hinson and Shuler led the way with 10 points apiece, while Terence Davis had eight despite picking up his third foul with 6:25 left in the half. Tyree had seven at the break, and Dominik Olejniczak added four as the five starters accounted for all 39 of the Rebels’ points. Shooting 50 percent as a team, the Bulldogs were paced by Q. Weatherspoon’s 11 points. The MSU guard scored the final nine of his team’s first-half points.
MSU scored the first seven points of the second half before Hinson caught fire to keep the Rebels close. The Ole Miss freshman made two free throws to end the Bulldogs’ scoring stretch, and followed with a trio of buckets from beyond the arc. The 11 points in just over five minutes put Hinson over the 20-point mark for the first time in his career. His third three sliced the deficit in half, making it a one-possession ballgame. After a sweeping Olejniczak hook followed by a MSU free throw, Stevens hit a three at the top of the key to give Ole Miss its first lead since early in the first half, 56-55, with 12:28 to go.
The game was tied at 60-60 before D.C. Davis drove the lane to give the Rebels the lead back. Working down low, Olejniczak found an open Tyree for a corner three to increase the margin to five. OleMiss held its biggest lead of the game when Hinson’s corner three was nothing but nylon, making it 72-64 Rebels with 5:18 left in the game.
MSU fought back, and a Nick Weatherspoon three-pointer tied the game at 77-77 with 1:12 to go.
Tyree got a tough layup to fall with a minute left, and the Rebels gained a two-point lead. Free-throw shooting and smart play allowed the Rebels to get the win over their in-state rival down the stretch.
After facing a pair of ranked teams this week, Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of The Pavilion for back-to-back home games. First, the Rebels host LSU for a Tuesday night matchup (Jan. 15). That contest is set for an 8 p.m. CT tip on SEC Network. A week from Saturday, Ole Miss welcomes Arkansas to Oxford for the first of two games against the Razorbacks this season. The noon tipoff will also air on SEC Network. Like all Rebel basketball games, you can catch all of the action on the Ole Miss IMG Sports Network.