OXFORD • Erratic shooting won’t get it done against high-level competition.
Ole Miss missed five of its first six shots and never led in a 67-58 loss to No. 24 Butler before 7,348 fans at The Pavilion on Tuesday night. It’s the third loss in four games for the Rebels (5-3).
Senior guard Breein Tyree scored 12 points in roughly 5½ minutes in a late second-half stretch as Ole Miss got to within four points after trailing by 16. Tyree’s fastbreak layup made it 52-48 with 9 minutes, 11 seconds to play.
On the Rebels’ next two possessions, Austin Crowley missed a dunk, and center Khadim Sy was unable to convert in the lane.
Meanwhile Butler (8-0) extended its lead.
Tyree’s spurt was indicative of the Rebels’ night … hot followed by bouts of cold.
Similar droughts produced struggles in the Penn State win and the Oklahoma State loss, both in New York, and at Memphis before that.
The Rebels had quality looks in the paint in the first half but struggled to score. They shot 33.3 percent for the half and trailed 31-22 at the break.
With 7:57 left in the first half Butler had built a 22-8 lead as the Rebels missed six of seven shots and had three turnovers in a span of 4:14.
“We came out and swung first and then held on. Sometimes it got rocky, but the start of both halves was really good for,” Butler coach LaVall Jordan said.
Kamar Baldwin led the Bulldogs with 31 points on 8 for 16 shooting, the only Butler player in double figures.
The Rebels shot 40 percent for the game and were just 7-for-15 from the free throw line.
Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis, after a 41-point loss to Oklahoma State, shook up his starting lineup inserting Sammy Hunter for Sy and Bryce Williams for Tyree who was late to practice on Monday.
Tyree finished with 22 points in 31 minutes. He was 8 for 16 from the floor and 4 for 8 from 3-point range.
Sy had 12 points, four rebounds and three assists. He was 6-for-9 from the floor.
Junior guard Devontae Shuler had just seven points on 2 for 10 shooting.
“We’ve got two guys that were named preseason first- and second-team All-SEC, and we’re struggling. Tonight they were 10 for 26. We’re doing that a bunch right now,”Davis said.