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Defense leads way for Rebels in blowout of Southeastern Louisiana

JACKSON – Ole Miss overcame a sloppy offensive start, riding their defense in a 69-47 victory over Southeastern Louisiana from the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. It was the twelfth time Ole Miss has ever played in Jackson, and the first time in eleven seasons.

“I like it here. I like Jackson. The fans definitely came out and showed a lot of support,” said sophomore guard Devontae Shuler. “That helped us get going when the fans got involved.”

Baskets were difficult to come by early, for both teams. Ole Miss scored only 33 in the first half on 45-percent shooting. It was tied for Ole Miss’ lowest scoring first half of the season with a November loss to Cincinnati, in which the team only mustered 57 total points. Despite low numbers as a team, Shuler led the way for Ole Miss, scoring 19 points on 7 of 10 shooting.

“We didn’t have our best stuff, offensively,” said head coach Kermit Davis. “They did some good things to change up some defenses against us, but it was stagnant. We missed a lot of easy buckets… the ball didn’t move quite like it should move.”

The offense was more efficient in the second half, scoring just 36 points in the half but shooting 63-percent. As evident by the final score, the defense won the game for the Rebels. They held Southeastern Louisiana to 37-percent shooting and 12-percent from three-point range.

“I thought we guarded well. We had the least amount of defensive breakdowns this year,” Davis said. “Devontae Shuler did a great job on (Marlain) Veal. He’s good. He makes hard shots, and we made him take harder shots.”

To be realistic, while Ole Miss did pressure well on the defensive end, this is a Lions team that has consistently struggled to put the ball in the basket. Tonight was Southeastern Louisiana’s fourth game against a power-five team. They are now 0-4 in that run and it was the third time they were held below 50 points.

Following the victory, the Rebels are now 8-4 all time in the state’s capitol. Only three games remain for Ole Miss before the start of conference play. Next up, a return home to play Chattanooga on Sunday at 5 p.m. CT.