Ole Miss with balanced attack, beats Sam Houston St. 82-69

Mississippi's Devontae Shuler (0) drives against Sam Houston State's Albert Almanza (0) during an NCAA college basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 in Oxford, Miss. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Markel Crawford scored 16 points to lead four in double figures as Mississippi beat Sam Houston State 82-69 on Wednesday night.

”The biggest thing was coming out here and getting the W,” said Crawford, who finished 6 of 11 from the field and added four rebounds and three assists. ”But it was great to see those shots go in and my confidence is up.”

The Rebels (5-4) snapped a three-game losing streak, taking a 39-33 halftime lead and stretched it by as many as 20 points midway through the second half. Devontae Shuler scored 14 points, Bruce Stevens added 13 and Deandre Burnett had 12 points in a balanced attack.

”I’m happy for Markel because he had really been struggling,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. ”But, we’re still not playing with the sense of urgency that we need for a whole 40 minutes.”

Chris Galbreath Jr. had a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds for Sam Houston State (5-5). John Dewey III and Cameron Delaney had 12 points apiece as the Bearkats finished 26 of 64 (40 percent) from the field.

Dewey had 10 of the Bearkats’ 19 assists.

The Rebels shot 31 of 60 (52 percent) from the field, 10 of 29 (35 percent) from 3-point range, including 4 of 8 shooting from Crawford. Ole Miss outrebounded the Bearkats 43-30, including a team-high nine from Marcanvis Hymon.

INSIDE LOGISTICS

The inside game for the Rebels continues to be a work in progress. Hymon has provided effective defense, but Stevens has been the best offensive option. Dominik Olejniczak and Justas Furmanavicius have shown flashes of productivity in limited playing time, but have been inconsistent by Kennedy standards.

”This ain’t football,” Kennedy said. ”It’s pretty clear that KG (Hymon) is our best defender and Bruce (Stevens) is our best offensive player inside. But you can’t play them on separate sides like you can in football.”

BIG PICTURE

Sam Houston State: The Bearkats, after falling behind 30-11 in the opening eight minutes, rallied to get within 43-37 early in the second half. Galbreath, a slender, quick 6-7 senior forward followed up a 24-point, 10-rebound performance against Baylor with another strong performance. The Bearkats, with nine underclassmen in the playing rotation, could not match up on the perimeter to mount a serious second-half challenge.

Ole Miss: The Rebels had two impressive individual offensive surges.

Crawford nailed three consecutive 3-point shots in 44 seconds to help build an insurmountable 19-point lead in the first half. Stevens had three baskets, including a dunk, in the opening three minutes of the second half to preserve a safe cushion. The Rebels are 6-0 overall against Sam Houston State and 55-3 against Southland Conference teams.

UP NEXT

Sam Houston State: The Bearkats host Little Rock on Friday.

Ole Miss: The Rebels host Illinois State on Saturday.