OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) - Tony Madlock paced the sideline, encouraging his team to keep fighting after Ole Miss fell in an early 29-9 hole against No. 19 Tennessee, and the Rebels were able to do that to a degree by shaving the lead all the way down to four points early in the second half. However, a poor shooting afternoon doomed Ole Miss in a 73-65 loss to the Volunteers on Saturday.
The loss dropped the Rebels to 12-17 (5-11 SEC) on the season. Tennessee improved to 21-7 (11-5 SEC) and sit in second place in the SEC.
Breein Tyree led the Rebels with 17 points on 7 of 16 shooting. Bruce Stevens had 14, and Terence Davis added 13 points of his own.
Tyree has led the team in scoring the last three games and has gotten to the rim more frequently. He attributed to aggression as the difference in the last three contests.
"My speed is difficult for people to stay in front of me," Tyree said. "I am just trying to press that to get the team going and get my teammates open as well as be a threat at the rim."
The Rebels dug an early hole in the first half as Tennessee made five of its first seven three-point shots on its way to jumping out to an early 20-point lead. Ole Miss settled in after that, trimming the deficit to 41-26 at the half and the opened the second half on an 11-0 run to get right back into the ballgame at 41-37. The Rebels picked up their energy on the defensive end as Tennessee missed eight of its first nine shots to start the second half. Ole Miss created turnovers and got its guards out in transition which led to easy looks at the rim.
"They're the type of team you don't want to turn it over to give them chances in the open court," Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes said. "They're athletic and very good in transition."
The Rebels did a good job of containing Tennessee forward Grant Williams, who had just six points on 3 of 10 shooting. But Admiral Schofield picked up the slack and poured in 25 for the Vols.
"They're a really good team and a top 20 team for a reason," Ole Miss head coach Tony Madlock said. "Usually when someone is off another guy picks up the slack and that is what happened with Schofield today."
Jordan Bowden had 15 points, and Lamonte Turner added 13 for Tennessee.
Tennessee settled in after a Rick Barnes timeout, and a 26-9 run over the next seven minutes gave the Volunteers a comfortable cushion that sealed the win. Ole Miss stayed in it for the majority of the game but could not overcome a rough shooting night that saw it go 1 of 23 from behind the three-point line.
"You don't want it to be part of the game but when you don't make shots the defense and some of the hustle plays just don't work out the same," Madlock said. "We didn't make enough shots early to get us going defensively. We lost some 50/50 balls, and it just kind of snowballed on us."
Madlock wasn't upset with the shot selection, but rather attributed it to the simple matter of shots not falling on an off day.
"I thought we got some good looks that most were open looks," Madlock said. "Guys have been working and getting in the gym, it is just a matter of them falling in the game."
Ole Miss returns to action on Wednesday at Kentucky in Rupp Arena. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. on ESPN2.