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College basketball roundup: Ole Miss wins SEC opener; Southern Miss, Alcorn slip up

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Breein Tyree scored a career-high 31 points, and Ole Miss opened Southeastern Conference play by beating Vanderbilt 81-71 Saturday night for its eighth straight victory.

Ole Miss now has won four straight in Memorial Gym and seven of the last nine between these teams. First-year coach Kermit Davis picked up where he left off by winning his fourth consecutive in a streak he started at Middle Tennessee.

The Rebels led 35-32 at halftime and simply outshot Vanderbilt in the second. They hit 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the second half.

The Rebels came in as the SEC’s second-best shooting team, hitting 50.7 percent from the floor. They started a little cold in the first half, hitting just 41.9 percent (13-of-31). They nearly made up for that in the second half, and they also had a 36-35 rebounding edge.

Blake Hinson, Terence Davis and Devontae Shuler added 11 points each for Ole Miss (11-2).

Vanderbilt (9-4) snapped a two-game winning streak after finishing its non-conference slate winning four of the last five.

Freshman Simisola Shittu led the Commodores with a career-high 21 points, and Joe Toye added 12.

In a tight game with 10 ties and 13 lead changes, Vanderbilt had its biggest lead at 53-47 on a 3-point play by Shittu with 14:23 left.

Then the Rebels took over with a 20-7 run. Davis hit a 3 and then stole the ball to set up Shuler for a fast-break layup and a 65-60 lead that matched their largest of the game to that point. Tyree added a pair of free throws for the Rebels’ biggest lead to finish the run.

Ole Miss then put away the game as Davis hit a 3 and Shuler added a layup with 4:01 left for a 79-63 lead.

Vanderbilt didn’t hit a bucket after Aaron Nesmith’s 3 with 3:46 left. The Commodores finished the game hitting only one of their final seven shots.

North Texas 65, Southern Miss 62
Michael Miller had 10 points, including the go-ahead layup with 15 seconds left, and eight rebounds to help North Texas beat Southern Miss 65-62 on Saturday night.

The Mean Green (15-1, 3-0 Conference USA), whose only loss came at Oklahoma, have won seven in a row and are off to the best start in program history.

Cortez Edwards scored five points during an 11-2 run, including a jumper that capped the spurt with 3:22 left and gave the Golden Eagles a 62-61 lead — their first since 23-21. Neither team scored again— as they combined to go 0 for 4 from the field with four turnovers — until Miller made a layup to give UNT a one-point lead with 15 seconds left.

Tyree Griffin missed a layup on the other end and Umoja Gibson hit two free throws to cap the scoring with 2.6 seconds to go. Leonard Harper-Baker missed a potential tying runner from half court as time expired.

The Golden Eagles were 7-for-15 at the free throw line.

Edwards scored 24 points and Griffin had a career-high seven steals for Southern Miss (8-7, 0-3), which has lost three in a row and five of its last six.
Southern Miss will return home after a six-game road trip to play Middle Tennessee on Thursday night.

“The way we played today, if we do that the next 15 ballgames, we are gonna be happy a lot,” Southern Miss coach Doc Sadler said. “You’re never happy when you lose, but North Texas is playing as well as anyone in our league, and we had a chance to win it. We’re struggling at the free throw line, and can’t give those points up and expect to win a one or two point ballgame.”

Texas Southern 87, Alcorn State 70
John Jones buried five 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead five players in double figures and Texas Southern rolled to an 87-70 victory over Alcorn State in a Southwestern Athletic Conference opener on Saturday night.

Texas Southern fell behind 6-0 early, but Devocio Butler sank a 3-pointer to give the Tigers an 11-9 lead with 16:34 left in the first half and they never trailed again.

Butler finished with 15 points — all in the first half — and five rebounds for Texas Southern (6-8). Jeremy Combs pitched in with 14 points, six rebounds and four assists and Jalyn Patterson scored 12 with nine assists. Trayvon Reed came off the bench to score 13 and grab 12 rebounds for his second straight double-double and fifth of the season. Butler was 4 of 4 from beyond the 3-point line to guide the Tigers to a 43-32 lead at halftime.

DeShaw Andrews’ layup to open the second half pulled Alcorn State within nine points, but Patterson and Jones hit 3-pointers to cap a 10-0 run and the Tigers cruised from there.

Maurice Howard paced the Braves (4-9) with 18 points and Troymain Crosby scored 17.

UAPB 64, Mississippi Valley State 52
Martaveous McKnight scored 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting and Arkansas-Pine Bluff beat Mississippi Valley State 64-52 in the Southwestern Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

McKnight was 4-of-5 from 3-point range and had six rebounds and five assists for the Golden Lions (4-10). Charles Jackson added 11 points and Terrance Banyard had 10.

The Lions took the lead for good at 36-34 on McKnight’s layup early in the second half. The Delta Devils (2-13) got the deficit back to one before the midpoint of the period, but they never reclaimed the lead and UAPB led by double digits for the final 3:43.

UAPB trailed for most of the first half but closed the period on a 12-5 run to take a 33-30 lead into the break.

Gregory Jones-Rollins and Aleksa Koracin had 12 points each to lead Mississippi Valley State.

Jackson State 54, Alabama A&M 51, OT
Chris Howell scored four of his 17 points in overtime and Jackson State opened Southwestern Athletic Conference play with a 54-51 win at Alabama A&M.

Jackson State (4-11, 1-0 SWAC) now has won seven of the last nine games with the Bulldogs.

Howell, a graduate transfer from South Dakota State, entered the game averaging 11.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. Venjie Wallis, a transfer from the University of New Orleans, finished the game with 11 points and knocked down a pair of critical free throws in the overtime period.

Alabama A&M (1-14, 0-1) has lost three straight.

Delta State 66, Shorter 57
Brett Warner went a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line and finished with 18 points, Justin Slocum added 14 points and nine rebounds, and Delta State beat Shorter.

The Statesmen (8-4, 4-1 Gulf South Conference) won for the sixth time in seven games.

Delta State led 29-27 at halftime, opened the second half with an 11-2 run and never led by less than five points after that.

Concordia (Texas) 101, Belhaven 91
Joe Neal scored 31 points, Ronnie Hamilton added 22 points and 10 assists, and Concordia (Texas) blew past Belhaven in the second half Saturday in Jackson.

Belhaven led 46-40 at halftime, but Hamilton scored five points during a 13-4 run that put Concordia ahead 87-73 with 3:38 remaining.

John Works led Belhaven (6-6) with 22 points on 8-of-10 shooting, and Brosnan Cooks scored 14 points.

West Georgia 72, Mississippi College 59
Mississippi College junior Brandon Boston netted 25 points but it was not enough as the Choctaws (4-6, 1-4 Gulf South Conference) lost to West Georgia (9-4, 4-1).

West Georgia shot 53.3 percent (16-for-30) and outscored Mississippi College 44-26 in the second half. Marquill Smith led the Wolves with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Saturday’s Mississippi scores
Delta St. 66, Shorter 57
Concordia (Texas) 101, Belhaven 91
West Georgia 72, Mississippi College 59
North Texas 65, Southern Miss 62
Texas Southern 87, Alcorn St. 70
Jackson St. 54, Alabama A&M 51, OT
Arkansas-Pine Bluff 64, Mississippi Valley St. 52
Ole Miss 81, Vanderbilt 71