KJ Buffen scored a game-high 23 points Tuesday night and Mississippi converted 17 Norfolk State turnovers into 24 points as it pulled away in the second half for a 68-55 nonconference win at The Pavilion in Oxford, Miss.
Breein Tyree tallied 21, while Devontae Shuler added 12 points and five assists for the Rebels (2-0), which shot 51 percent from the field and held the Spartans (2-1) to 32.7 percent marksmanship.
Devante Carter scored 12 points to pace Norfolk State, while Jermaine Bishop and Joe Bryant each hit for 11. But the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference foe couldn’t pull off the upset, undone by poor shooting. It was 5 of 21 from the 3-point line.
Still, the Spartans trailed by just 51-46 with 10:59 remaining after Carter canned a short jumper in the lane. However, Ole Miss ripped off seven straight points, Luis Rodriguez capping the run with a transition layup for a 58-46 advantage with 8:15 left.
The margin never dipped under nine for the game’s remainder as Norfolk State couldn’t make enough shots to put pressure on the Rebels. It managed only three field goals over the game’s final 7:59.
The first half went back-and-forth, Ole Miss setting the early pace as it scored five straight points in 55 seconds. The Rebels still led 11-7 when Norfolk State made a statement by rattling off nine consecutive points for a 16-11 advantage capped by Steven Whitley’s layup at the 13:18 mark.
The Spartans maintained their lead for the next 10 minutes, pushing it as high as six when Bryant nailed two foul shots with 10:52 remaining to make it 21-15. But Ole Miss finally reeled them in over the next eight minutes.
Shuler stroked a 3-pointer with 3:05 on the clock to put the Rebels back on top at 32-31, and Tyree capped a 12-point first half by converting a layup with 20 seconds left. That sent Ole Miss to the locker room with a 40-35 halftime lead.
—Field Level Media