Rebels’ Tyree picks up SEC award

Published 7:55 am Tuesday, January 8, 2019

OXFORD — After he made his first couple of shots Saturday, Ole Miss guard Breein Tyree thought it might be a good night.

“If I make my first couple shots, I’m going to score a lot,” Tyree said.

He did, and both he and the Rebels reaped the benefits.

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Tyree scored 31 points Saturday as the Rebels beat Vanderbilt 81-71 in their Southeastern Conference opener.

It was Ole Miss’ eighth straight victory, and on Monday Tyree was named the SEC Player of the Week.

Tyree won the award for the first time in his college career, after scoring the most points of any SEC player during the first weekend of conference play.

Tyree went 11-of-16 from the floor for a 68.6 percent clip. He got off to a hot start, draining his first six shots from the field and scoring 17 of the Rebels’ 35 first half points. He was 6-of-6 from the foul line, making four free throws during the final six minutes to keep Ole Miss ahead late in the game.

The New Jersey native produced his first career 30-point game and has scored at least 20 in seven of the last 10 games.

Tyree is having a monster season to this point. He is the only SEC player to rank in the conference’s top five in scoring (second at 18.4 ppg), field goal percentage (third at 53.7 percent), free throw percentage (fourth at 83.9 percent) and 3-point percentage (fourth at 42.6 percent).

Tyree also cracks the SEC top 10 in playing time (sixth at 31.8 minutes per game) and 3-pointers made (10th with 2.2 per game).

The win over Vanderbilt gave Ole Miss (11-2) a big lift to start the SEC schedule. It only won once on the road in conference play last season, Feb. 20 at Missouri.

“It’s definitely a big confidence boost,” Tyree said.

Ole Miss now has won four straight in Memorial Gym and seven of the last nine between these teams. First-year coach Kermit Davis said he’s talked since his first day on the job of building toughness to win on the road in SEC play.

“That’s all we talked about,” Davis said. “That was our battle cry, and it was our battle cry at Middle Tennessee.”

Ole Miss will return to more familiar turf for the next couple of weeks. Its next four games are in Mississippi — three at home starting Tuesday night against No. 12 Auburn, and a trip to Starkville on Saturday to play No. 14 Mississippi State.