BATON ROUGE, La. - Facing a ranked opponent for the second consecutive game, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team fell on the road to No. 22 LSU 73-63 Saturday afternoon.
Coming off the best game of his career, Devontae Shuler led the Rebels (10-11, 1-7 SEC) in scoring for the second straight game. The junior guard eclipsed his 26-point night versus No. 16 Auburn by scoring a career-high 28 points against LSU. He went 8 of 17 from the floor, including a career-high five three-pointers, while going a perfect 7 of 7 from the free throw line.
Javonte Smart scored 21 points to lead LSU. Marlon Taylor and Trendon Watford added 13 points apiece. As a team, the Tigers (17-4, 8-0 SEC) shot 47.9 percent (23 of 48) throughout the contest. They also went to the line frequently, going 23 of 34 (67.6 percent) as three different Rebels fouled out.
The game began as a battle between the guys on the floor wearing No. 2. Watford scored the LSU’s first five points, while Shuler tallied the first nine points for the Rebels. After knocking down a three, Shuler converted an old-fashioned three-point play by drawing a foul and converting at the line. Another three-pointer, this time from the wing, put Ole Miss up 9-7 behind Shuler’s fast start.
A 13-0 run flipped the game into LSU’s favor. The Tigers continued to build on their lead, limiting the Ole Miss offense on the other end of the court. Shuler ended the first half with 11 points, but LSU shot 60.0 percent (12 of 20) to double up the Rebels at the break.
Despite the deficit, Ole Miss came out of the locker room inspired and quickly got the game back to single digits. KJ Buffen knocked down a 15-footer on the first possession before Shuler drilled his third three-pointer of the game. After being held scoreless in the opening half, Breein Tyree scored four straight points. The Rebels got another stop on the defensive end, and an offensive rebound by Blake Hinson led to a Shuler three from the corner. The 12-0 run over 3:18 forced a timeout by LSU, and just like that, it was an eight-point game.
Coming out of the timeout, the Tigers were able to increase the advantage. Ole Miss continued to battle, getting the game to single digits on two different occasions. A 16-5 run got the Rebels within nine, but they ran out of time while outscoring LSU 43-33 in the second half.
After playing five of their first eight conference game on the road, the Rebels return to The Pavilion for a three-game homestand. First, Ole Miss hosts the South Carolina Gamecocks in a midweek matchup (Feb. 5). Tipoff for Wednesday’s game is set for 6 p.m. CT on SEC Network.