By Adam Brown
The Ole Miss Rebels defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores 56-46 inside the Pavilion on the last day of the regular season.
“Only one way to enjoy senior night is to win,” head coach Kermit Davis said. “Proud of our team. I thought we guarded about as good as we have all year long. I give Vanderbilt a lot of credit. Jerry’s team keeps playing. Great way to end the year — win 7-out-of-9 and 9-13 — got some momentum headed into the tournament.”
Ole Miss (15-10, 10-8) honored seniors Devontae Shuler and Romello White prior to the game.
After a week of surrendering 75 points to the Commodores they held them to only 46 points.
The Rebels were led on the court by junior Jarkel Joiner with 15 points. White was right behind him with 11 points.
“Coached told me to step up and be a leader,” Joiner said.
Sophomore Luis Rodriguez had a team-high eight boards.
In the second half, the Rebels went on a 16-2 run to open the last 20 minutes of action. Ole Miss’ 1-3-1 defensive play only allowed Vanderbilt to score five points over the first nine minutes of the second half.
“Robert Allan is so active at the top of the zone,” Davis said. “Thought Sammy and Romello were terrific in the middle and our wings we made an adjustment at halftime. Our guys put it right in the game and we turned good defense into offense.”
Shuler got into foul trouble early in the first half and fouled out at the 3:08 mark. He finished with five points and a rebound.
Vanderbilt was led by freshman Issac McBride with 16 points. Ole Miss held Scotty Pippen Jr. to just seven points.
Ole Miss’ defensive intensity held the Commodores to only shoot 27.3 percent from beyond the arc and 36.6 percent from the floor.
Ole Miss heads to the SEC Tournament in Nashville, Tennessee as either the No.5 or No. 6 seed after Missouri’s loss. The Rebels would be the fifth seed if Florida defeats Tennessee on Sunday.