November 9, 2019 / 2:29 AM / 5 days ago

Ole Miss rolls past Arkansas State in opener

Devontae Shuler scored 20 points, and KJ Buffen added 16 points and nine rebounds as Mississippi won its fifth straight season opener, defeating Arkansas State 71-43 on Friday night at Oxford, Miss.

A 20-win program that reached the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2015, Ole Miss actually got off to an inauspicious start as coach Kermit Davis called a timeout 43 seconds into the game. Arkansas State had forced a turnover and answered with a Christian Willis 3-pointer to open the scoring.

The Red Wolves led 4-1 before the Rebels essentially took control of the game with a 12-0 run that featured 3-pointers from Buffen (5 of 6 from the field), Shuler (7 of 11) and Austin Crowley.

Ole Miss forced 16 of Arkansas State’s 23 total turnovers in the first half to take a 39-19 lead at the break. The Rebels shot 44.6 percent for the game but just 30.8 percent (8 of 26) from beyond the arc.

Mississippi managed to prevail even though the Southeastern Conference’s top returning scorer, Breein Tyree, posted only six points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.

The Rebels have won five in a row over Arkansas State.

Canberk Kus and J.J. Matthews each had 10 points for the Red Wolves, who opened the season on Wednesday with a 65-49 win over Arkansas-Monticello. However, aside from the first few minutes of the Friday game, Arkansas State was thoroughly outplayed while not helping itself with turnovers and some poor shooting.

Arkansas State sank just 32.6 percent of its field-goal attempts, including 6 of 19 (31.6 percent) from 3-point range.

Shuler scored four points as Ole Miss scored the first six points of the second half to pad its advantage to 45-19, and the hosts led by as many as 29 on the night.

The Rebels also held a 40-28 advantage on the boards and kept the Red Wolves to just two points through the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second half.

—Field Level Media

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