By Adam Brown
Ole Miss defeated the Texas A&M Aggies 61-50 behind a strong defense play Saturday afternoon inside the Pavilion.
“I thought we got what we knew we would with Texas A&M,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “Just a good win against a well-coached team.”
Ole Miss (8-6, 3-4 SEC) was led on the court by junior Jarkell Joiner with 21 points and seven rebounds. Senior Devontae Shuler was right on his heels with 17 of his own.
“Jarkell was really good off the bounce,” Davis said. “I think (Joiner) has found what his strength is. Jarkell is a really good mid-range jump shooter.”
The Rebels took over the contest in the last minutes of the first half through the first seven minutes of the final 20 minutes going on a 20-2 run.
“We ended the first half on a really good note,” Davis said.
Ole Miss played a 1-3-1 and zone defense that gave the Aggies problems as they forced 18 turnovers. The Rebels turned those turnovers into 25 points.
“Our 1-3-1 defense was terrific. It kept them off of balance,” Davis said. “ It really created some offense with good defense. It got the ball in the open floor… We just had active hands.”
Texas A&M was led by Emanuel Miller with 18 points and 11 rebounds.
This week the Rebels defense has held two conference opponents to 50 points or less in back-to-back games for the first time since 1982.
“We are coming off a week where we give up 48 points in two SEC games,” Davis said. “We are an elite defensive team against mid-majors, average against Power 5 competition. I think they took it to heart, and practice has been good and those guys have been committed on that end.”
Texas A&M only made it to the free-throw line eight times as they went 5-for-8 at 63 percent.
“We really kept the ball out of the paint,” Davis said. “With our 1-3-1 and 2-3 zone and we were able to play more downhill. To start the game, I thought they played more in the paint. In the second half, I thought we played more downhill and vertical.”
Ole Miss returns to action on Wednesday as they travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the Arkansas Razorbacks. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.