Strong second half propels Ole Miss men’s basketball to victory

Published 9:10 am Sunday, February 18, 2024

By Ole Miss Sports

Shooting nearly 60 percent from the floor and scoring 49 points in the second period, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team took down Missouri 79-76 on Saturday night in the SJB Pavilion.

For the sixth time this season, Ole Miss (19-6, 6-6 SEC) shot over 50 percent from beyond the arc, going 11-21. The last time the Rebels hit that mark in six games in a year was during the 2011-12 campaign.

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The Rebels opened the game hot from three-point range, as Matthew Murrell connected on three-straight deep balls and Jaylen Murray added two, giving Ole Miss a 17-8 lead on Missouri (8-17, 0-12 SEC). However, an 11-0 run from the Tigers put them in front minutes later, going up by four with just over eight minutes left before halftime.

A three with just under two minutes left on the clock by Jaemyn Brakefield put the home team up one, but it was Missouri that would enter the lockers at the midway break with a 33-30 lead.

Much of the Rebels’ second-half surge came later, as the visitors went up by 10, 54-44 on a three with 12:32 on the clock. Two of Murrell’s six threes on the night helped trim their deficit to four, before free throws and a fastbreak layup by Allen Flanigan gave Ole Miss a lead, 59-58, with 8:27 to play.

A steal in front of the Tigers’ bench by Murrell led to a transition dunk from Brakefield to set the score at 65-60, with an offensive board and dunk from Flanigan putting the Rebels up by seven.

A majority of the final minutes consisted of the two teams exchanging free throws. Despite coming close, Ole Miss held the Tigers at bay to win their 19th game of the season.

Murrell tied his season-high in both points and three-pointers made with 26 and six, respectively. The senior from Memphis surpassed the 200-mark for career three pointers, becoming just the seventh person to do so at Ole Miss.

Scoring in double-figures for the 23rd game this season, Flanigan collected 16 points while grabbing 10 rebounds, posting his fifth double-double of the year. Jaylen Murray added 16 points as well, connecting on four makes from deep for the seventh game of the season.

Three Rebels had four or more assists today, led by Brakefield with five while Jaylen Murray and Flanigan added four.

Missouri was led in the scoring column by Sean East II with 25.

The team now sets their sights on the second iteration of the basketball “Egg Bowl,” when they travel to Starkville to take on Mississippi State on Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 8 p.m. on ESPN2.