The Rebel men’s basketball team will take on the 1-4 Montana Grizzles for their first ever Thanksgiving Day game at 3 p.m. Fresh off their first loss of the season to Creighton in the Paradise Jam Championship, the Rebels return home to the Pavilion for their matchup against the Grizzles.
Despite falling in the final game, the Rebels played well down in the Virgin Islands, battling their way to two victories in the tournament. Continuing the trend of winning close games the Rebels needed OT to take down Oral Roberts and a late run to pull away from Saint Joseph’s. Junior Miami transfer Deandre Burnett has stepped up as the leading scorer for this year’s squad, highlighted by his 41-point performance against Oral Roberts. He finished with 22 in the loss to Creighton but averaging 23.9 PPG his scoring ability gives the Rebels a chance to shoot their way back into any game.
Senior Sebastian Siaz has been attacking the boards averaging 10.8 rebounds per game but has been an inconsistent factor in the offense. Siaz had a career high 26 points against Saint Josephs but followed that with just 4 points against Creighton. Siaz adds leadership to the team, but if the Rebels look to have sustained success over the course of the season, Siaz will have to find a way to score more consistently.
Terrence Davis, Donte Fitzpatrick Dorsey and the rest of the Rebel bench must become more a factor for the Rebels on both ends of the floor. The Rebels got 23 points from their bench in the Oral Roberts win, but just 11 and 17 in the next two games. Turnovers continue to be an issue for the Rebels, averaging 16.8 per game. However, they are forcing 15.8 per game as well. An opportunistic style of play on defense has led to the Rebels ability to steal possessions leading to points. The Rebels are only averaging 12.8 assists per game and shooting just over 44% per game. A more efficient style on offense may do the Rebels some good while allowing them to control the tempo of the game.
After facing a high-scoring Creighton team, the Rebels may find it easier to defend the Grizzles who average just 67 PPG. The Grizzles leading scorer is PG Amaar Rorie with 14.4 PPG. Rorie also leads the Grizzles in assists per game with 2.8. Coaching his alma mater is Travis DeCuire, who’s in his 3rd season at the helm for the Grizzles.
Admission is free for the game, so after you get your fill of Thanksgiving Day favorites, head over to the Pavilion for Rebel Basketball! The game can be heard on the Ole Miss Radio Network, and seen on SEC Plus or WatchESPN.com.
Steven Gagliano is a writer for HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.