OXFORD • Breein Tyree didn’t have a monster game, but Ole Miss got a monster win.
Khadim Sy got Ole Miss off to a fast start, and reserve players contributed to an 86-60 victory against Vanderbilt before 7,495 fans at The Pavilion on Saturday.
It’s the 35th loss in the last 36 games against SEC teams for Vanderbilt (9-20, 1-15 SEC). The Rebels have won eight of the last 10 in the series.
Ole Miss (14-15, 5-11 SEC) was able to end a four-game skid and distance itself from the bad memory of its last home game, a 103-78 loss to Alabama.
The Rebels worked it inside to Sy early, and their 6-foot-10 center responded with three buckets before the game was 3 minutes old.
“Coach has been telling me to be more physical around the rim, finish with contact, shoot the ball with balance. That’s what I’ve been paying attention to,” Sy said.
The Commodores righted the ship somewhat, hitting four of their first five 3-point shots to take a 15-13 lead, but Vanderbilt struggled when it didn’t have clean outside looks. They shot 55.6 percent from the arc in the first half but just 32.3 percent from the floor overall.
“This was a game that I thought would be much better-contested,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “Even though we haven’t been winning games we’ve been doing good things. This is one of those games where we felt like we didn’t get better.”
Tyree was a big part as the Rebels reestablished control. He had 11 points in the first half, but as the lead widened in the second, a number of Ole Miss players got into the act. He did not score in the second half.
Among them was KJ Buffen who had 10 of his 17 in the second half.
Devontae Shuler finished with 18 points and six assists.
Sy had 12 points and six rebounds.
Ole Miss had just seven turnovers.
The bench had been limited for the Rebels this season. Saturday, it expanded in production if not personnel.
Sammy Hunter, regaining minutes lost to Antavion Collum while injured, was in the game early. He played five minutes in the first half and had three blocked shots.
Hunter looked more active and comfortable and showed his athleticism on an in-bounds play when scored with a lob pass after angling his body and reaching behind to make the catch.
Austin Crowley, playing against the team for which he first signed a letter of intent, scored on a drive and from the 3-point line as Ole Miss stretched a 12-point lead to 21 in the first 5 minutes of the second half.
They were his only five points, but he had eight assists and only one turnover in 25 minutes
“I was really proud of Khadim’s effort in the first. Today he gave us a great lift in the first half,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “The biggest stat for me was we had 26 assists on 35 made baskets so the ball really really moved today.”