Burnett's 21 leads balanced Ole Miss past Montana, 86-81
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Deandre Burnett hit 5 of 6 free throws in the final two minutes and finished with 21 points and Mississippi held off Montana for an 86-81 win on Thursday night.
Cullen Neal added 19 points, including five 3-pointers, Terence Davis scored 18 points, and Sebastian Saiz had 17 points and 13 rebounds.
Sayeed Pridgett led Montana (1-5) with 19 points. Ahmaad Rorie added 18 points and Jack Lopez scored 17.
Ole Miss led by as many as 18 points midway through the second half, taking a 62-44 lead on Saiz's traditional 3-point play. Montana got as close as 81-76 in the final minute. However, Lopez missed a 3-pointer that would have pulled the Grizzlies within one possession, and the Rebels converted at the free throw line over the final 30 seconds to seal it.
Ole Miss led by 12 at halftime after building a 14-point lead in the first half, thanks primarily to the 3-point shooting of Neal and Davis, each of whom hit three treys in the opening 20 minutes.
Montana: The Grizzlies have been on the road since Nov. 14, and they showed some signs of fatigue at times Thursday, committing 19 turnovers and shooting just 38.4 percent from the field.
Ole Miss: Admission was free on Thursday in Oxford, and the Rebels drew a surprisingly large holiday crowd of 7,358 fans. At 5-1 with games against Middle Tennessee and Memphis coming up in the next eight days, the Rebels, who gave No. 11 Creighton a scare on Monday night in the Virgin Islands, have a chance to make some national noise with wins.
Montana's road trip concludes Sunday afternoon at South Dakota.
Ole Miss plays host to Middle Tennessee Wednesday night.