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Rebels Successful in Davis’ Return to the Murphy Center

By Adam Brown
Sports Editor

Ole Miss Men’s Basketball vs MTSU on Dec. 16th, 2020 at The Murphy Center in Murfreesboro, TN. Photo by Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

The Ole Miss Rebels remained unbeaten after a 70-51 win over the Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders in the first road test of the season.

“I thought Middle Tennessee came out and had really great energy,” said head coach Kermit Davis. “Great physicalness kind of really forced us to drive the ball.”

Davis, the former MTSU head coach, returned to the Murphy Center for the first time as the head coach of the Rebels.

“It was really different because of the locker room and the bench,” Davis said. “I hated that it wasn’t normal. You didn’t really get a chance to see anybody. It was different, but it was good to be back in the Murphy Center as we have such unbelievable memories there.”

Ole Miss is off to a fast 4-0 start to the season in which they had to battle COVID-19 issues in being the last Power 5 conference team to start.

“This is just the most balanced game that we have played in the four games,” Davis said. 

The Rebels had all five starters score in double figures. Ole Miss was led on the court by Romello White with 16 points.

“Romello was terrific,” Davis said. “We had to throw it to him. I thought he finished with some great plays.”

Junior KJ Buffen had 11 points and Devontae Shuler, Louis Rodriguez and Jarkell Joiner each scored 10 points apiece.

Middle Tennessee State (2-4) was led by junior Dontrell Shuler with 19 points, two assists, a rebound and a steal. He is the younger brother of Rebels senior guard Devontae Shuler.

The Rebels defense held the Blue Raiders to only shoot 29 percent from the field and forced 18 turnovers.

“Our team really guarded again at a really high level,” Davis said. “It has a chance to be one of the best defensive teams that I have ever coached. We have guarded for periods of time in these first four games really well. Tonight it was the most consistent we guarded better off of the bench with those guys. Our effort and follow game plan has been really good so far.”

Ole Miss scored 48 of its 70 points in the paint.

“In the second half, we got a lot more paint touches and the ball moved,” Davis said.

Ole Miss returns to action on Saturday as they remain on the road to face the Dayton Flyers. Tipoff is slated for 1:30 p.m. on NBCSN.  

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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