Credit Ole Miss Athletics
Claiming the lead under a minute into the game and never surrendering it, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team defeated South Carolina on the road 70-58 on Tuesday night at Colonial Life Arena.
A three-pointer from James White kicked off the evening for Ole Miss (9-9, 1-5 SEC), before the Rebels took a 12-4 advantage into the first timeout on the floor at 15:13 left in the opening half. After South Carolina (8-10, 1-4 SEC) cut the Ole Miss lead to two, 16-14 at 12:14, the Rebels would push their lead back to double digits on a three by Amaree Abram and jumper from TJ Caldwell. Holding the Gamecocks to a first-half field goal percentage of just 30.0 percent and 20 points, both season-bests for the defense, Ole Miss entered the half up 30-20.
“It’s like a lot of leagues where we’re sitting here thinking we can be right in the middle of it and we’re not,” said head coach Kermit Davis. “We really needed a road win tonight so I was proud of our players.”
The home team came out swinging as South Carolina made it a three-point game early, with a three at 16:21 left on the clock setting the score at 32-29. However, the Rebels swung right back as Matthew Murrell hit one of his five three pointers on the evening, before another three from Caldwell made it 38-31. A trio of makes from beyond the arc to close out the game gave Murrell his fifth career game with five made threes, and his sixth 20-point game on the season. He tied his career best for boards in a game with eight rebounds as well.
“We’ve had great looks this whole SEC season; Matthew Murrell I consider to be one of the best shooters in this whole league,” said Davis. “Tonight, this is just what Matt does. This season he’s still played well, he just hadn’t been making some shots that he normally makes, and tonight he delivered.”
An offensive rebound from Jayveous McKinnis with under one minute remaining gave him 10 to go with his 14 points for his first double-double on the season. McKinnis entered the game with 38 career double-doubles, ranking him eighth among all active college basketball players.
While the offense hit a season-best 10 threes with their second-most assists in a game this season, the defense did their part as well, as Ole Miss held their opponent to under 60 points for the fifth time this season.
The Rebels will remain on the road next and take on No. 25 Arkansas on Saturday, January 21 at 11 a.m. on ESPN2.