Ole Miss takes down UGA for first SEC win

Ole Miss takes down UGA for first SEC win
SOURCE: Ole Miss Athletics (Source: Ole Miss Athletics)

ATHENS, Ga. - In front of a sold-out crowd at Stegeman Coliseum, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team shook off a hostile environment and earned a hard-fought 70-60 victory over the Georgia Bulldogs Saturday night. The Rebels (10-9, 1-5 SEC) shot 52.0 percent from the field while holding Georgia’s leading scorer, Anthony Edwards, to just 13 points on 3 of 12 shooting to control the game and pick up the road win.

Breein Tyree scored 20 points to pace Ole Miss offensively, his tenth game this season with 20 or more. The frontcourt duo of Khadim Sy and KJ Buffen combined for 30 points as well. Sy battled down low, scoring 16 points for his best SEC game as a Rebel on 6 of 12 shooting. In a return to his home state, Buffen added 14 points. The Gainesville, Georgia, native made 5 of 6 from the field, while making all four of his free throws. The Rebels dominated points in the paint, 38-20.

Ole Miss held Georgia (11-8, 1-5 SEC) to a 30.9 field goal percentage (17 of 55). Edwards’ 13 points led the way, although it was seven points below his season average. Sahvir Wheeler tallied 11 points.

On the first two possessions of the game, Tyree found the bottom of the net with a deuce and a three to pass former teammate Terence Davis for 12th on the Ole Miss all-time scoring list. Hinson added a corner triple the next time down the floor, giving the Rebels an early 8-2 advantage.

Edwards knocked down back-to-back threes to tie the game, and the lead bounced back-and-fourth before Ole Miss went on a 9-0 run. Sy found success down low for a pair of easy lay-ins before Bryce Williams drilled a three from the corner, putting Ole Miss up 19-13. Six different Rebels accounted for the first eight buckets of the contest. Tyree knocked down another jumper, increasing the lead to eight, and the Rebels held Georgia without a field goal for four minutes.

Ole Miss made five consecutive shots and pushed the cushion to double digits, 32-22. Buffen and Hinson made two apiece, while Williams sank his second three-pointer of the game. The Bulldogs trimmed the margin slightly for the rest of the half, but behind balanced scoring, the Rebels went into the locker room with the lead, 35-29.

Ole Miss shot 55.6 percent (15 of 27) in the first half. Four Rebels scored at least six points with Tyree’s nine leading the way. Ole Miss made all four of its three attempts, while holding Edwards to just 2 of 7 shooting.

After scoring five points in the first half, Sy doubled his output with the team’s first five points of the second frame. The 6-foot-10 junior found another bucket down low before showing his range with a three from the top of the key. Keeping the Bulldogs scoreless, Ole Miss pushed ahead 40-29 and forced Georgia head coach Tom Crean to call timeout with 17:17 left in the game.

Coming out of the timeout, the Bulldogs responded with a 9-0 run to make it a two-point game. Sy broke the dry spell with a pair of free throws, accounting for all seven of the Rebels’ points in the first seven minutes of the second half. With 12:31 remaining, a three by Edwards gave Georgia its first lead, 43-42, since the game’s opening five minutes of play. However, the lead didn’t last long as four straight points from Buffen put Ole Miss ahead once again.

Georgia cut the Ole Miss six-point lead in half with a three, but the Rebels quickly pushed the margin up to 10 with 3:21 minutes to go. The sequence included a thunderous dunk by Williams, a drive to the hole by Tyree, and a pair of free throws by Buffen. Making free throws down the stretch, Ole Miss maintained that double-digit lead to pick up the big road victory.

Following a week on the road, the Rebels return home to face the nationally-ranked Auburn Tigers (Jan. 28). Tipoff for the Tuesday night matchup is set for 8 p.m. CT on ESPNU. The game at The Pavilion begins a home-and-home series between Ole Miss and Auburn.

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