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Defense shines as Ole Miss bounces back over Elon, 74-56

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CHARLESTON, SC Ole Miss’s men’s basketball used a stifling team defense and efficient offensive offense to bounce back for a 74-56 second-round win over Elon of the Shriners Children’s Charleston Classic late Friday night.

The Rebels (3-1) were in the driver’s seat from the jump and never gave up a lead totaling 39:49 playing time. Ole Miss crushed an Elon (2-3) foul going into the night shooting 46 percent overall and 41.1 percent from three to just 34.6 overall and a 3-for-17 output (0.176) from past the arc , including an initial 25 percent half-shooting clip that was the lowest by a Rebel opponent since he held UT Martin to the same on Dec. 22, 2020.

On the offensive side, Ole Miss received two strong performances from sophomores Jaemyn Brakefield and senior Jarkel Joiner, who both finished with 16 points on the evening. The rebels shot a total of 49.1 percent on the night, their fourth game in a row to start the season at more than 46 percent.

“Since there weren’t many people in the gym at 10:30 a.m. (ET), we had a lot of energy and a lot of maturity with our team tonight,” said Ole Miss head coach Kermit Davis. “Coach (Mike Schrage) is doing an incredible job with that Elon team. They play all the time and they are hard to guard. We kept them 3-for-17 out of three, I thought we had a balanced score, and it was really good to watch Jaemyn shoot the ball from three. He looked really comfortable.”

Brakefield, who is in his first season with Ole Miss following Duke’s move, set a new career high with those 16 points on 4-for-8 overall shooting, a 3-on-4 line of three and a 5-for- 6 mark of the charity streak to contribute to the Rebels’ 18-of-28 free throw tally on the night. He also added four rebounds and a block, and he was the catalyst from the start for Ole Miss, who brought down a deep corner-two to start what amounted to an 11-0 Rebel run through the first 4:36 of the gaming action.

“We knew this was a bounce back game and we knew Elon was a great team getting into this so we didn’t want to look down on them,” said Brakefield. “We really just came in with the short day we had to prepare, and we just keyed in everything we needed to play in.”

That first 11-0 run set the tone for the evening, and it did with a crushing Ole Miss defense holding Elon against six different scoring bouts of two minutes or more and three lasting at least four minutes, the longest being a 4 :50 stretch in the first half. The Rebel defense scored 17 turnovers and scored 15 points on those Phoenix errors, the fourth game to start the season that Ole Miss has forced into double figures.

Joiner led the team with two steals on the night to go along with his 16 points and four assists.

“Jarkel was great tonight starting our defense,” Davis said. “Matt Murrell was excellent tonight, Luis (Rodriguez) guarded at a high level I thought Robert Allen had a lot of juice tonight. Our perimeter defense tonight was just really good, with good attacking players shooting at a high percentage. We were just going to switch a bunch, really put pressure on them and just try to get them off the line and I thought we did that for the most part.”

Murrell, in his fourth career start, scored seven points, three rebounds, one steal, a career-high four assists and a 5-for-6 clip from the free throw line. Tye Fagan also had a career night throwing the ball, with a career high six dimes to go with 11 points, six plates and a bargain. Robert Allen was the leading rebounder with eight rebounds to go along with four points.

Ole Miss has Saturday off and ends her stay in Charleston on Sunday against Boise State (2-2) in the game for fifth place. Tipoff is set at noon CT on ESPN2.

“Now we have a day off tomorrow to prepare for what I think is undoubtedly a great match-up,” said Davis. “I think Boise State has a great chance of entering the NCAA tournament and winning the Mountain West Conference.”

For the latest news and updates on Ole Miss Men’s Basketball, follow the Rebels on Twitter at@OleMissMBB, on Facebook atOle Miss Men’s Basketballand on Instagram atbe more important.

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