OXFORD • You can get a lot done with 2-point shots.
As Ole Miss dominated the paint, Arkansas State had only one of those until 3 minutes, 24 seconds remained in the first half.
The Rebels got hands in the passing lanes and created offense with their defense in a 71-43 season-opening win over the Red Wolves before 8,009 fans at The Pavilion on Friday night.
Ole Miss (1-0) had forced 11 turnovers and notched seven steals by the middle of the first half. Also in that first 10 minutes of play Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis managed to get 11 different players in the game.
The Red Wolves handled the ball better in the second half and finished with 23 turnovers, but the damage was done after the Rebels led 39-19 at the half.
The Ole Miss lineup included Breein Tyree, Devontae Shuler, Austin Crowley, KJ Buffen and Sammy Hunter when the Rebels pulled away early.
Shuler led the Rebels with 20 points on 7 for 11 shooting. Buffen added 16 points and nine rebounds.
“Devontae Shuler kind of just dominated the game on both ends,” Davis said. “He disrupted their offense. Even when he didn’t get his hands on the ball he made them start offense higher.”
Earlier in the week Davis complained that his players weren’t sharing the ball enough, and that was creating a stagnant offense.
On the first possession of the game the Rebels looked determined not to take a 3-point shot, and after a couple looks inside, neither clean, they turned it over.
It took a few minutes, but the Rebels were able to get those looks and pull away. They had time to build the lead because the Red Wolves (1-1) were struggling to score beyond the occasional 3-pointer.
Ole Miss was plus-6 on the glass and had eight second-chance points in the first half.
The Rebels are home Tuesday night against Norfolk State.