Brooks sparks Rebels in second half of 62-52 win

Published 10:51 am Thursday, December 16, 2021

Nysier Brooks scored all 12 of his points in the second half to spark Mississippi to a 62-52 victory over Middle Tennessee on Wednesday night.

Brooks sat out the final seven minutes of the first half with two fouls but finished 5-of-6 shooting with seven rebounds and provided the points for a pair of Rebel runs in the second half that kept Ole Miss (7-3) in control.

Brooks had eight straight points as Ole Miss built its largest lead of 10 points with under 12 minutes left and had the first four points in another run that rebuilt the lead to 10 with 5 1/2 minutes left after the Blue Raiders (8-3) got within four, the closest they would get.

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Freshman Daeshun Ruffin, the program’s first McDonald’s All-American, played in his first game since fracturing his right hand in the Rebels’ season opener and scored 12 points, nine in the first half.

Jaemyn Brakefield added 10 points including a pair of 3-pointers early in the second half that helped the Rebels maintain their slim lead.

Teafale Lenard was the only MTSU player in double figures with 12 points.

It was a sluggish first half with MTSU leading 2-0 at the first media timeout and Ole Miss getting its first basket on a goaltending call six minutes into the contest. The Rebels took the lead for good on a basket by Ruffin followed by five points from Joiner with four minutes remaining.

The Blue Raiders missed their first 11 from the arc before hitting their final two, including one by Donavan Sims at the end of the half to trail 27-24.

Both teams shot under 40%. MTSU was only 3 of 27 from the arc and Ole Miss not much better at 5 of 21. But the Rebels scored 20 points off 17 MTSU turnovers.

Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis beat the Blue Raiders for the fourth straight season since coming over from MTSU where he coached for 16 years.