Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis was glad to see his team pass its first test with ease on Tuesday.
The Rebels return to action Friday, facing Charleston Southern in Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss was strong Tuesday in an 82-61 victory over visiting New Orleans, winning both halves and shooting the ball lights-out throughout.
The Rebels (1-0) opened their 2021-22 campaign by firing it in at 53.1 percent from the field — their best season-opening effort since connecting on 54.1 percent against Western Michigan in Davis’ first year on the bench in 2018.
“Thought New Orleans was a hard and physical team, a team that a lot of people picked to win the Southland (Conference),” Davis said. “We made some good individual plays.”
After New Orleans ran off 11 straight points for a 17-11 lead with 11 minutes to go in the first half, the home side tightened up and turned it on — outscoring the Privateers 32-14 on the way to a 43-31 halftime lead.
The Rebels sealed the win with a 39-30 advantage in points over the final frame.
“We saw in the second half the ball moved better,” Davis said. “We almost had six guys in double figures … and everybody got a chance to play in the game. I think we’ve got really good depth on our team.”
Austin Crowley led a balanced output with a career-high 13 points, going 3-for-3 from long range in a 1:58 stretch.
Jarkel Joiner added 12 points, while Nysier Brooks had 11, and Jaemyn Brakefield and Tye Fagan contributed 10 points apiece. Luis Rodriguez posted nine points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals.
In a historic night of scoring, the Buccaneers (1-0) saw a school-record seven players reach double figures in points as they opened their season with a 118-71 drubbing of visiting Johnson & Wales on Tuesday.
Tahlik Chavez, Deontaye Buskey, Kalib Clinton, Taje’ Kelly and Claudell Harris Jr. each scored 13 points. Sean Price (12) and Ja’Quavian Florence (10) rounded out the history-making group of scorers.
Picked to finish 11th in the Big South preseason poll, Charleston Southern returns three of its five starters from last season’s 3-18 squad, plus guards Buskey and Travis Anderson, who missed all of 2020-21 with injuries.
“We have a very athletic, deep team,” Buccaneers coach Barclay Radebaugh said after the win. “A lot of ingredients. … This team has really good chemistry.
“What we’re concentrating on now is the journey. We are in pursuit of becoming a good team. We have a long way to go, but we have the pieces. The ceiling is a lot higher for this team.”
–Field Level Media