OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Senior guard Breein Tyree scored 21 tohelp lift Mississippi to a 68-66 win over Norfolk State on Saturday evening.
After a sluggish start in the season-opener, Tyree, theRebels’ All-Southeastern Conference guard, helped them power through some earlyoffensive struggles with 12 first-half points. The Spartans led for a goodportion of the first half before a 14-5 surge from Ole Miss to close the halfgave it a 40-35 halftime lead.
“I thought changing from our 1-3-1 into our 2-3 zonewas the difference,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “That wasreally the first time we have had to go to it. It slowed things down. Theycouldn’t drive the ball on top of us like they were able to in the firsthalf.”
Norfolk State kept the game at arm’s length and trailed byfive with just over 10 minutes to play, but a 13-5 run by the Rebels over thenext six minutes put the game out of reach. Sophomore K.J. Buffen had acareer-high 23 points of his own and grabbed eight rebounds. Seven of hispoints came in the second half on 7-9 shooting. Buffen has had a strong startto this sophomore campaign and is flashing an improved offensive skillset.
“I am a lot stronger in my second year, so it is justeasier,” Buffen said. “I am more comfortable out there.”
The Rebels held the Spartans to just six points over thefinal seven minutes. Norfolk State’s backcourt tandem of Joe Bryant andJermaine Bishop led the Spartans in scoring with 11 points apiece.
Tyree gets going offensively:
Tyree rectified a six-point performance on 2-of-9 shootingin the Rebels’ season-opening win over Arkansas State. Head coach Kermit Davisthough Tyree settled for a lot of jump shots in that game and Tyree did a muchbetter job attacking the rim against the Spartans. He was 8-of-18 from thefield and 2-of-8 from three-point range.
“He has to be who he is,” Davis said. “He isreally good on the move. He has been settling. He needs to get to the rim intransition. I knew he would be better tonight.”
The Spartans suffered their first setback of the season andfell to 2-1
Ole Miss moved to 2-0 on the season and closes out aseason-opening four-game homestand with Western Michigan Friday and SeattleTuesday. The scoring the Rebels are getting from their backcourt between Shulerand Tyree, along with the emergence of Buffen as an offensive threat in thehigh post, bodes well for the Rebels as they await the return of sophomoreforward Blake Hinson, who has been sidelined with a blood abnormality and isexpected to be cleared to practice with contact within the next week.
Ole Miss hosts Western Michigan on Friday
Norfolk State returns home to face The Apprentice School onThursday