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Ole Miss Gets Back on Winning Track, Beating Sam Houston State 82-69

Markel Crawford led the Rebels with 16 points against Sam Houston State. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

Ole Miss opened its five-game home stand with an 82-69 victory over the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Wednesday night.
Ole Miss (5-4) had four different players score in double figures in the game. Graduate transfer Markel Crawford led all scorers with 16 points. His teammate, freshman Devontae Shuler, had 14 points, senior Deandre Burnett rattled home 12 buckets of his own, and junior Bruce Stevens scored 13 points on the night.
“Bruce (Stevens) is a really good back-to-the-basket player,” Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy said. “I think there are certain things that you see and you say ‘OK, that’s going to work tonight because that’s against a team we are better than, but is that going to work against a better team, which we haven’t beaten yet?’ I think what Bruce does translates. He is big, and he’s quick, and he creates space with his body, making tough angle shots. Offensively, on the block, I think what he does translates, and we are trying to establish a low-post presence, and he’s our best option.”
In the first 20 minutes of action, the Rebels jumped out to its largest lead of 19 points with a score of 30-11 before the Bearkats clawed their way back into the game behind the play of Chris Galbreath Jr. He led them in scoring with 22 points.
At the half, the Rebels took a 39-33 lead into the locker rooms.
“We had spurts,” Kennedy said. “It should have been a 20-point game at the half. We took our foot off the pedal, and they battled back. We are not playing with a sense of urgency. They are hearing it every day, but they have to believe it and buy in.”
After the intermission, Ole Miss and Sam Houston State traded buckets until the 10:21 mark of the second half as Justas Furmanavicius hit back-to-back three-pointers, making the score 69-49. The Rebels’ lead in the second half never got above 20 points.
The Bearkats got back into the game again as John Delaney III hit his 12 points with four three-pointers in the second half.
The Rebels shot 52 percent from the field and held Sam Houston State to 41 percent from the field. The Bearkats found their range from beyond the arc as they hit 39 percent and held Ole Miss to 34 percent. At the charity stripe, the Rebels shot 59 percent while Sam Houston State hit 73 percent.
“We won,” Kennedy said. “It has been a long time since we won.”
Ole Miss returns to the hardwood on Saturday as they play host to Illinois State. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m.

Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at adam.brown@hottytoddy.com.
For more questions or comments email us at hottytoddynews@gmail.com

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