Ole Miss happy with success on the road

Published 7:55 am Tuesday, December 11, 2018

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) — It took Ole Miss until the end of February to win a true road game last season. This season, it took less than a month.

The Rebels guards took turns dominating the game Saturday night, and Ole Miss defeated Missouri Valley Conference contender Illinois State 81-74.

“That’s a good road win for us,” first-year Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “For a team trying to learn to win on the road, we played some really quality basketball.”

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Ole Miss, which was 1-10 in true road games a year ago, is 1-1 after two tries this season. The Rebels, who lost at Butler in mid-November, made 60 percent of their shots through the first 25 minutes against Illinois State and finished with a .526 field-goal percentage.

Junior guard Breein Tyree scored 17 of his game-high 22 points in the second half, after senior running mate Terence Davis scored 16 of his 20 in the first half.

“They’re just big, physical guards that we don’t play against a lot,” Illinois State coach Dan Muller said. “The one thing they do in general is take good shots, and they score at all three levels: mid-range, pullups and at the rim.”

Davis hopes those guards will turn into Southeastern Conference success for the Rebels.

The win gives the Rebels a three-game winning streak for the first time this season as they try to build momentum for the Southeastern Conference schedule. The Rebels play four more games before opening league play at Vanderbilt on Jan. 5. Their next game is Wednesday night in Jackson against Southeastern Louisiana.

“You look at the SEC, and I don’t know if there’s a more experienced backcourt,” Davis said. “Those two guys can score. We’ve got a chance every time out with those two guys.”

Saturday’s game closed a two-year, home-and-home series that was prompted by Muller’s Twitter post in the 2017 offseason. Muller’s tweet appealed to coaches at all of the Power 5 conference members. Andy Kennedy, then coach at Ole Miss, replied and agreed to play.

Illinois State beat the Rebels in overtime last year in Oxford.

The only other Southeastern Conference team to visit ISU since 1978 was Texas A&M, in the 2014 Collegiate Basketball Invitational.

• Wednesday, 6:30 p.m.
• At Mississippi Coliseum, Jackson
• TV: None; Radio: 107.7 FM