By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss men’s basketball team will open their 2020-21 season schedule on Thursday as they play host to Jackson State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss (0-0, 0-0 SEC) had a late start tipping off the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rebels were slated to begin with hosting the Justin Reed Ole Miss Classic (Nov. 25-27). After members within the program tested positive for the virus, the team was forced to hit the pause button until Dec. 7.
Head Coach Kermit Davis spoke with media after the Rebels returned to practice.
“It is good to be back in the gym,” Davis said. “We have had a good spirit, and I know they anxious to play.”
This season the Rebels have added several new faces to the squad, including Deminico Vaughn, Robert Allen, Jarkell Joiner, Romello White, along with freshman Matthew Murrell.
Senior Devontae Shuler was named Preseason Second Team All-SEC by conference coaches.
After being away from the floor, the Rebels are attempting to get back into fighting shape.
“As you try to get your team back going, we have to be cognizant of the fact of not trying to do too much,” Davis said. “Everybody knows we’re going to have to play ourselves into game shape. It’s probably going to take us a week to do that.”
Jackson State (0-1, 0-0 SWAC) is coming off of an 82-59 loss to Mississippi State on Tuesday night. The Tigers were led on the floor by senior Tristian Jarrett who scored 17 points.
JSU was one of the three team set scheduled to take part in the Justin Reed Ole Miss Classic.
“Thomas Gray, our director of basketball, had a lot of conversations with Jackson State,” Davis said. “We really wanted that game to happen. I know Jackson State did too. We just kind of worked the schedule out. It was good that Jackson State could do it, and look forward to playing them.”
Thursday’s tip will be the first meeting in 21 years between Ole Miss and Jackson State. The Rebels led the all-time series 3-0 over the Tigers. In the last meeting in 1999, Ole Miss won 69-55.