OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA/Ole Miss Athletics) – In the final game before heading to the beach for Thanksgiving, the Ole Miss men's basketball team used pressure defense and balanced scoring for a wire-to-wire 75-55 victory over Nicholls on Tuesday night at The Pavilion.
Ole Miss (2-1) held the Colonels (2-4) to just 55 points and 33.8 percent shooting (22 of 65) from the field, its best defensive output in 60 games dating back to the 2016-17 season. Six Rebels tallied at least eight points led by Terence Davis. The senior guard tallied 14 points to go along with eight rebounds and career-high four blocks. Davis guarded Jeremiah Jefferson, the leading scorer in the Southland Conference (19.8 ppg), throughout most of the night, keeping him to seven points on 3 of 13 shooting (1 of 7 from three-point land).
Fellow senior Bruce Stevens added 13 points, while Breein Tyree reached double figures for the ninth straight game with 10 points. Tyree matched sophomore guard Devontae Shuler with a team-high six assists. Shuler stuffed the stat book by recording nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and three steals. Blake Hinson scored a career-high eight points, and senior D.C. Davis tallied eight off the bench as well.
Hinson converted a pair of free throws after being fouled on a three-pointer, and Nicholls countered with a bucket from the block to start the game. Over the next minute, a 7-0 Ole Miss run prompted the Colonels to take an early timeout. Nicholls got within two, but the Rebels kept the visitors scoreless for five minutes to increase their lead to double digits, 22-12.
Balanced scoring allowed Ole Miss to maintain a comfortable cushion throughout the opening 20 minutes. Eight different Rebels scored in the first half, led by eight from Tyree. Holding Nicholls to another five-minute scoring drought, the Rebels went on a 9-0 to go into the locker room up 37-22.
Coming out of the break, Hinson drilled a three to get the second half started off on the right foot. The lead grew to as big as 21, forcing Nicholls to take another timeout. The visitors fought back later, using a 7-0 run to slice the margin to 55-42. After Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis asked for time to talk things over, Stevens brought the hammer down with a pair of dunks, including an alley-oop from Terence Davis. Nicholls never got the game back to single digits as the Ole Miss defense propelled the Rebels to victory.
Up next, Ole Miss heads to the beach for two Emerald Coast Classic games, beginning with a matchup against Baylor (Nov. 23). Tipoff is slated for 8:30 p.m. CT on CBS Sports Network. The Rebels will wrap up their trip south by facing either Cincinnati or George Mason on Saturday (Nov. 24) before returning home for a pair of games next week.
The Rebels held Nicholls to only 55 points, their best defensive performance since limiting Bradley to 49 points (Dec. 19, 2016) 60 games ago.
Ole Miss altered the starting lineup for the first time this season, going with Devontae Shuler, Breein Tyree, Terence Davis, Blake Hinson and Bruce Stevens.
Entering the game ranked fourth in the SEC with 2.5 steals per game, Devontae Shuler picked up a pair of steals in the first four minutes of the contest. He ended the night with three steals and dished out a career-high six assists.
During the first half, Ole Miss held Nicholls to a pair of five-minute scoring droughts to build a 15-point halftime lead.
Terence Davis recorded a career-high four blocks and limited Jeremiah Johnson to seven points on 3 of 13 shooting (1 of 7 from three-point range). Johnson entered the matchup as the leading scorer in the Southland Conference at 19.8 ppg.
Breein Tyree tallied 10 points, his ninth straight game in double figures dating back to last season.
Freshman Blake Hinson started for the third straight game and scored a career-high eight points.
The Rebels improved to 2-0 in The Pavilion under Kermit Davis.