Behind a season-high in points scored, field goal percentage, assists, and steals, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team defeated Valparaiso 98-61 on Saturday afternoon at SJB Pavilion.
A staple this season for the Rebels (7-2), Myles Burns got things started with a steal and fast-break dunk to give the home team a lead they would hold the entire 40 minutes of play. A layup off of a steal for Matthew Murrell pushed the Ole Miss lead to 10, 16-6, with just over 15 minutes on the clock, before an 11-0 run by the Rebels minutes later made it 39-19. Behind the most points, steals, field goals made, and best field goal percentage for a first half this season, Ole Miss entered the halftime break with a 53-30 advantage over Valparaiso (4-7).
“I really thought this was obviously the best, offensively, that we’ve played,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “We had 64 points in the paint, 19 assists on five turnovers, and had six guys score in double figures.”
Early in the second half, the Rebels added two more to their eventual 36 points off of turnovers, as a swipe and dunk at the other end by Murrell made it a 69-35 game with 15:16 left on the clock. A three-pointer by Tye Fagan at the four-minute mark gave Ole Miss their largest lead of the game at 42, and gave the team their most points scored in the Kermit Davis era. A score from Josh Mballa with one minute left to play put 98 points on the board for the Rebels, breaking the team record for most points scored in the Pavilion after putting up 97 twice, most recently on Dec. 16, 2017 against Illinois State.
“It was good to see everybody play, we had 54 points off the bench which was over half of our points and is a positive,” said Davis. “It was good to have a win like that. We’ll take off tomorrow and get back at it on Monday.”
Murrell (17 points), Daeshun Ruffin (14 points), Burns (12 points), Robert Allen (11 points), Jaemyn Brakefield (11 points), and Fagan (10 points) all hit double-digits in scoring for the Rebels, while each player that touched the court for Ole Miss scored as well. The team also recorded a season-best 14 steals in their strong defensive effort, led by Mballa, McKinnis, and Murrell, who each recorded three.
Ole Miss will continue their five-game homestand on Wednesday, December 14, when they host UCF for a 6:30 p.m. game at the Sandy and John Black Pavilion.
Courtesy of Ole Miss Sports