Mississippi Tennessee Basketball

Breein Tyree leads Ole Miss in scoring but needs more contributions from his supporting cast.

While no games are easy in the SEC, some are more difficult than others. One might question “if” and “when” for Ole Miss, relative to its first conference win.

The Rebels will play on the road for the fourth time in six SEC games when they take on Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens today at 4:30. The game will air on the SEC Network.

Georgia (11-7) is 1-4 in SEC play, its lone win a 17-point victory against the Tennessee team which just defeated Ole Miss by 25, 73-48 in Knoxville on Tuesday night.

It will be next month before the Rebels face another team that carries a losing conference record. Ole Miss is at home against South Carolina, currently 2-3 in the league, on Feb. 5.

Ole Miss is at home this Tuesday against Auburn, one of three SEC teams at 4-2, and on the road at SEC unbeaten LSU on Saturday.

The Rebels (9-9, 0-5 SEC) have dropped their last six, their last win coming Dec. 29 in an 80-63 decision against Tennessee Tech.

Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis led the Rebels to a 10-8 SEC mark and an NCAA Tournament appearance in his first season.

He remains upbeat about his second Rebels’ squad. He’d like to see more efficient offense from junior guard Devontae Shuler and sophomore forward Blake Hinson in support of leading scorer Breein Tyree, and he’d like to see better defense from everyone.

“I don’t think it’s the buy-in part. These guys have been a really good practice team,” Davis said. “Looking back I really thought we got quality shots against a good defensive team but didn’t really make SEC plays around the rim and convert some baskets that you have to make on the road.”

In 22 seasons as a Division I head coach, Davis has had three teams finish with a losing record in conference play. His 1991 team at Texas A&M went 2-14 in the Southwest Conference; his 1997 Idaho team went 5-11 in the Big West; and his 2007 Middle Tennessee State team was 8-10 in the Sun Belt.

Tennessee had five blocked shots against Ole Miss, three of them by 6-foot-6 guard Yves Pons.

“I see plays that we miss. Blake is missing a lot of good opportunities. We got intimidated around the goal,” Davis said. “Devontae played a little better. We’ve got to keep the course, keep working with development. We’ve got to be more physical around the goal making plays.”

parrish.alford@journalinc.com

Twitter: @parrishalford

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