NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Breein Tyree scored a career-high 31 points, and Mississippi opened Southeastern Conference play by beating Vanderbilt 81-71 Saturday night for the Rebels’ 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 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.
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 nonconference 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 as the Commodores finished the game hitting only one of their final seven shots.
Ole Miss: 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.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores outscored Ole Miss 36-28 in the paint but couldn’t make the Rebels pay for fouling them enough. They finished with a season-low 58.6 percent shooting at the line (17 of 29).