Ole Miss men’s hoops tops Mississippi State 86-82 in thriller
Ole Miss defeated Mississippi State 86-82 in a thriller on Tuesday night to secure its third straight win and remain perfect at home (13-0). MSU forward Cameron Matthews was fouled with 4.1 seconds remaining and his team down two but missed the free throws, which locked it up for Chris Beard’s crew.
The Bulldogs and Rebels were both rolling heading into their first matchup of the season. ESPN projected both programs as No. 9 seeds in the NCAA Tournament at tipoff, but freshman guard Josh Hubbard’s first game against Ole Miss was arguably just as big of a storyline as the teams’ current success.
Hubbard, one of the best young players in the country (averaging 15 points per game), originally committed to Kermit Davis and the Rebels on September 22nd, 2022. On March 13th, 2023 (weeks after Davis was fired), Hubbard announced his commitment to Chris Jans and the Bulldogs.
When he walked on the court for the first time, Rebels fans didn’t exactly give him a warm welcome.
The Ole Miss crowd booed Hubbard every time he touched the ball, but those boos fueled him early. He had 16 in the first half (finished with 21) and the game was tied at 39 at the break. While the Rebels trailed 27-20 with 7:11 to go in the first, they ended the half on a 19-7 run. Tolu Smith struggled in the first with only two points and two rebounds as the Rebels were very successful double-teaming him.
Ole Miss started the second half on a 12-2 run. The Bulldogs slowly worked their way back and the rest of the game was a back-and-forth affair. It seemed like with each possession the teams would either trade buckets or stops.
TJ Caldwell was huge for Ole Miss early as he made his first five field goal attempts (four from beyond the arc) and had 18. Jaylen Murray had 21 points and Matthew Murrell finished with 20.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 18-3 and 5-3 in SEC play. The Rebels will host No. 16 Auburn on Saturday at 5. With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 3-5 in conference play, 0-5 on the road and will visit No. 24 Alabama on Saturday at 7:30.