OXFORD – Senior Night was not a breeze for Breein Tyree, but ultimately he willed the Rebels to a 75-67 win over Missouri before 6,887 at The Pavilion Wednesday.
Ole Miss led by 15 points late in the first half but just nine at the break as Missouri continued to chip away.
Ole Miss didn’t record its first second-half field goal until Tyree’s 3-pointer with 12 minutes, 13 seconds to play.
The Rebels (15-15, 6-11 SEC) split two games with the Tigers (14-16, 6-11) after losing 71-68 in Columbia on Feb. 18.
Ole Miss was hoping to play its way out of the SEC’s bottom four – which play on the first day of the SEC Tournament – but chances look slim after LSU lost at Arkansas earlier Wednesday.
It was a different pace of play in the final 20 minutes after the Rebels led 49-40 at halftime.
In his final home game Tyree had 19 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
“He was really efficient tonight. I told Breein, ‘That’s the toughest 19 you’ve this year.’ They got after him,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said, adding that Dru Smith’s defense against Tyree was the best he’s seen this season.
Blake Hinson was threatening to make it “Sophomore Night” in the first 20 minutes when he had 19 points and was 4 for 7 from 3-point range.
But with the Tigers making it hard on Tyree in the early minutes of the second half neither Hinson nor junior guard Devontae Shuler could up their game.
Hinson didn’t score in the second half.
Shuler didn’t get his first bucket until his steal and layup with 4:15 left put the Rebels up 69-65. He was fouled but missed the free throw.
While the Rebels weren’t making shots they weren’t allowing many either. Missouri shot just 28.6 percent in the second half and hit just 1 of 6 3-point attempts.
The Tigers chased Tyree and limited his shot chances. He got off only four shots but hit them all, his layup with 3:26 left giving the Rebels a six-point lead.
“They sent a lot of defenders at me, doubling me off ball screens and trying to get the ball out of my hands,” Tyree said.
It was a slow start he had to work through.
“When they tied up the game I knew I had to be more aggressive,” Tyree said.
The Rebels eventually shot 34.8 percent in the second half after going almost 8 minutes without a field goal.
Free-throw shooting became very important in a game with 44 fouls called. The Rebels hit their first 18 and finished 25 for 33 from the line.
While Missouri slowed Ole Miss offensively it tied the game twice but never led.
“We settled in for the second half. I thought we did enough defensively, but we didn’t capitalize in some areas on the offensive end,” Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin said.