Davis’ 14 pts leads Ole Miss past Nicholls 75-55
Bruce Stevens and Breein Tyree scored 13 and 10 points, respectively for the Rebels (2-1), who raced to a 9-2 lead in the opening three minutes and never trailed. Davis added three 3-point shots as the final basket pushed Ole Miss to an insurmountable 50-29 lead early in the second half.
“One thing that was really important was how we came out defensively. We showed intensity,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “We had way too many turnovers (16), but our assists to baskets ratio was 21 to 26 and that’s about as good as it gets.”
Gavin Peppers scored 14 points, all in the second half, for Nicholls (2-4), who trailed 37-22 at halftime. Jeremiah Jefferson, the team’s leading scorer at 19.8 points per game, was limited to seven points, hitting only 3 of 13 from the floor.
“They can do things to you defensively that not a lot of teams in this country can do,” Nicholls coach Austin Claunch said. “The positive for us is we battled in the second half, forced turnovers and we’re excited to see what we can do with our games this weekend.”
Ole Miss finished 26 of 54 (48 percent) from the field, including 6 of 17 (35 percent) from 3-point range. The Rebels were 17 of 23 (74) from the free throw line to prevent any serious comeback threat in the second half.
Nicholls was 22 of 65 (34 percent) from the field and 7 of 24 (29) from the 3-point line. Ole Miss outrebounded the Colonels 45-29.
“There are going to be nights that you don’t shoot as well you want,” Tyree said. “But when you play good defense, then you don’t have to score on every possession. Tonight, we held them to 55 and that takes some pressure off of us offensively.”
Nicholls: The Colonels looked like a stressed team in the middle of a seven-game, 16-day road trip. Difficult non-conference road schedules aren’t unusual for the Colonels, a trend continued by Claunch in his debut season. Despite a sub-par shooting performance, the improved second half performance provides hope for a rebuilding Southland Conference team that won 21 games last season.
Ole Miss: The Rebels bounced back from a creditable road loss at Butler earlier in the week with a spirited performance. Offensively, Ole Miss had first half scoring runs of 11-2 and 9-0 before adding a 13-7 run to open the second half to seal the win. Defensively, the Rebels forced only14 turnovers, but turned eight in the opening 10 minutes to gain control.
“I’m always interested to see what any team’s reaction is in the game after a loss,” Davis said. “That says a lot. We responded in a good way, with good, physical play. I was pleased.”
Nicholls: The Colonels face North Carolina Central of the MEAC in the Emerald Coast Classic in Destin, Fla., on Friday.
Ole Miss: Also playing in the Emerald Coast Classic on Friday, the Rebels face Baylor on Friday.