ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Breein Tyree’s hot-scoring streak has fueled Mississippi’s recovery from a four-game losing streak.
Georgia is in dire need of a similar boost after an ugly loss led first-year coach Tom Crean to say he was embarrassed and needed to apologize to former coaches and players who were watching.
Tyree scored 31 points, his fifth straight game with at least 20, and Mississippi beat Georgia 80-64 on Saturday, giving the struggling Bulldogs their fourth straight loss.
Ole Miss (16-7, 6-4 Southeastern Conference) leaned heavily on Tyree, who matched his career scoring high. The junior guard reached 20 points, scoring on a drive about seven minutes into the second half, before any teammate was in double figures.
“When I have that much space, it’s hard to stay in front of me,” Tyree said. ”… I took 22 shots but don’t think I took too many jump shots.”
The Rebels have recovered from a four-game losing streak with two straight wins.
Rayshaun Hammonds scored 10 points before fouling out with about five minutes remaining for Georgia (10-13, 1-9). The Bulldogs have lost eight of their last nine games.
More than 90 former Georgia players and coaches attended the game on Lettermen’s Day.
“I’m embarrassed right now to be honest with you,” Crean said. “The worst loss you take is when you’ve got lettermen and former coaches in the stands. I apologize to them, I really do, because I want them to walk out of here feeling like they really see growth and progress and at times today it didn’t look like that.”
Hammonds hit two of Georgia’s four early 3-pointers as the Bulldogs led 18-8. Georgia, hurt by persistent ball-handling woes and unable to find consistent scoring closer to the basket, couldn’t keep the lead.
Georgia took its last lead at 28-27 on a 3-pointer by Teshaun Hightower. Ole Miss scored the next 14 points. Hinson started the run by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers.
Crean said his team’s inability to answer the Rebels’ run was “disheartening.”
Tyree continued his hot scoring streak after averaging 22.3 points in his last four games.
Tyree, a junior guard from Somerset, New Jersey, sank a fallback jumper and added a buzzer-beating shot that stood up on a long video review by the officials during the Rebels’ 14-0 run. Ole Miss led 45-33 at halftime and kept the lead in double figures most of the second half.
Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump also had 10 points for Georgia.
Ole Miss: The Rebels’ 28-18 advantage in points in the paint was built on their strong backcourt play. Tyree made 11 of 22 shots from the field and six of seven free throws. … Blake Hinson had 13 points. Terence Davis scored 12 points and had four assists. … Tyree also scored 31 points against Vanderbilt on Jan. 5.
Georgia: Spotty guard play and unforced errors continue to plague the Bulldogs, but guards don’t deserve all the blame for the rash of turnovers. Hammonds was responsible for four of 16 first-half turnovers that led to 16 points for the Rebels. Georgia finished with 20 turnovers, leading to 19 points for Ole Miss. … Nicolas Claxton was scoreless before sinking a jumper less than three minutes into the second half. Claxton had eight points.
Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said “the biggest stat of the game” was his team’s 21-5 advantage on second-chance points. Bruce Stevens had nine rebounds, including a game-high four offensive rebounds to help provide the second scoring opportunities.
Georgia wore throwback uniforms. For Claxton, that meant the opportunity to wear the No. 33 uniform also worn by his father, former Georgia center Charles Claxton, who attended the game.
“It’s sentimental value to me wearing this number,” said Nicolas Claxton, a sophomore.
The former players, coaches and staffers were honored at halftime. Hugh Durham, the school’s leader in coaching wins, received loud applause, as did former Georgia guard J.J. Frazier.
Ole Miss: At Auburn on Wednesday night
Georgia: At Texas A&M on Tuesday night