Men’s basketball ties best season start in program history with 95-78 win over Bryant

Published 9:58 pm Sunday, December 31, 2023

By Mike Swartz/Ole Miss Athletics

Setting a season-best for points scored in a game for the second consecutive contest, the No. 22 Ole Miss men’s basketball team defeated Bryant 95-78 on Sunday, Dec. 31, in the Sandy and John Black Pavilion, remaining undefeated in non-conference play at 13-0.

An efficient offense gave the Rebels their highest scoring output in just over a year, as they shot 53.8 percent from the field, their third game of the season shooting 50 percent or better. The team also posted their highest rebounding margin so far this season, grabbing 44 boards compared to Bryant’s 34.

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The Rebels (13-0) barely trailed in the game, as a quick layup from Jaemyn Brakefield put the home team in the driver’s seat. Following a jump shot from the Bulldogs (8-7) to go up 7-6, Brakefield responded to retake the lead, before a three from the senior forward moments later helped fuel a 13-0 run from Ole Miss.

Leading by as much as 16 in the first 20 minutes of action, the Rebels took an 11-point advantage into the halftime break.

After Ole Miss pushed their lead to a comfortable position in the second period, Bryant was able to trim the deficit to 10, as a three-pointer from the visitors set the score at 70-60 coming out of the eight-minute media timeout. Led by Allen Flanigan and his 17 second-half points, the Rebels stretched out to a game-high 19 point-lead in the final moments.

Flanigan nearly recorded his fourth double-double of the season, scoring a team high 20 points and grabbing nine boards. Jamarion Sharp led the Rebels with 10 rebounds.

Four players scored in double figures, as Flanigan was joined by Matthew Murrell with 18, Brakefield with 16, and Moussa Cisse with 10. Defensively, Cisse totaled four blocks while six different players collected a steal.

Ole Miss kept one of the best shot-blocking teams in the nation without a swat today, as Bryant entered today’s game ranked fourth in the nation averaging 6.7 per contest.

The Bulldogs were led by Sherif Groiss-Bullock with 24 points, while Rafael Pinzon came off the bench and scored 21. Earl Timberlake recorded a double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

At 13-0, the 2023-24 Rebels tied the 2007-08 team for the best start in school history, as well as the longest overall win streak. Ole Miss is one of three remaining unbeaten teams in the country, as Houston and James Madison sit at 13-0 as well.

Ole Miss now turns their attention to the SEC schedule, beginning with a tough test in their conference opener in Knoxville to face No. 6 Tennessee on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 5 p.m. on the SEC Network.