Ole Miss beats Middle Tennessee 74-56 in Davis’ return
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Part of Kermit Davis’ heart is still at Middle Tennessee State.
“There will only be one night that I ever pull against the Blue Raiders and it was tonight,” said Davis, in his first year as Mississippi’s coach after spending the previous 16 at Middle Tennessee.
Breein Tyree made four 3-pointers and scored 24 points to lead Mississippi to a 74-56 win over Middle Tennessee on Friday night in Davis’ first game against his former team.
Davis went a program-best 332-188 with the Blue Raiders, leading them to three NCAA Tournaments and six regular-season or postseason conference titles.
Ole Miss (9-2) has won six straight games while Middle Tennessee (3-9) has lost eight in a row.
Bruce Stevens added 12 points for the Rebels (9-2). Dominik Olejniczak, a 7-foot center from Poland, chipped in 10 points.
Davis said his family might stand up for the Middle Tennessee fight song out of habit. “We’ve stood up for that thing for 16 years,” Davis said. “It was mixed emotions and it was good to see a lot of family and friends.”
Antonio Green led Middle Tennessee (3-9) with 22 points, including five 3-pointers.
“We’re just disappointed, going home for Christmas knowing that we can be so much better,” Green said. “It’s just frustrating at times not actually being able to put it together on the floor, but we can’t get down on ourselves.”
Reggie Scurry added 13 points and Jayce Johnson had 12 for the Blue Raiders, who hit just 19 of 56 shots from the floor for a 34 percent clip.
Middle Tennessee had won six of the previous seven against Ole Miss.
“It was great having coach Davis back in the area,” Middle Tennessee coach Nick McDevitt said. “I know it was fun for him.”
Ole Miss: The Rebels continued their hot streak, relying on Tyree’s outside shooting.
Middle Tennessee: The slumping Blue Raiders hung with the Rebels during most of the first half until their offense faded away under first-year coach Nick McDevitt.
The Blue Raiders cut the deficit to 24-21 on Green’s 3-pointer with 4:21 left in the first half, but Ole Miss went on a 10-0 run and they never got closer than 10 the rest of the way.
TYREE LOOKING GOOD
Tyree leads Ole Miss in scoring at 17 points per game, and ranked fourth in the Southeastern Conference entering Friday. “The shots I’m taking are normally good shots in Kermit’s offense,” Tyree said. “I work on them every day and the ball’s going in so good things are happening.”
Middle Tennessee: Visits Rhode Island on Dec. 30 in final tuneup for Conference USA play.
Ole Miss: Hosts Florida Gulf Coast on Dec. 29 in final game before Southeastern Conference competition.
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