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{{ timeAgo('2017-11-14 06:19:51 -0600') }} basketball

Rebels beat EKU, get over .500 as a program for first time since Ike

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Deandre Burnett sinks a first-half 3-pointer in Ole Miss' win over Eastern Kentucky Monday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

OXFORD — Until Monday night, the last time Ole Miss was above .500 as a program was back in 1959.

The average house of a new house in the U.S. in 1959 was $12,400. A gallon of gasoline cost a quarter. A ticket to a movie was a dollar. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation into law making Alaska and Hawaii states.

Fidel Castro came into power in Cuba. Little girls all over America got their very first Barbie doll from Mattel. Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and the Big Bopper died when their plane went down during a snowstorm in Iowa, marking the “day the music died.” Xerox launched the first commercial copier.

Ole Miss, led by Country Graham, went 7-17 in basketball, finishing 12th in the Southeastern Conference.

On Monday night, Ole Miss defeated Eastern Kentucky, 85-75, moving to 1,283-1,282 in the program’s history.

"It's kind of an astonishing stat," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "It's amazing when you think about it."

Kennedy, the program’s winningest coach, is now 97 games above .500 since taking over in Oxford 12 years ago. Only two other Ole Miss coaches were above .500 during their tenures at Ole Miss, with Rod Barnes going 32 games above .500 and Rob Evans winning five more games than he lost.

The Rebels, now 2-0, built a 10-point first half lead and led by six at halftime. Ole Miss pulled away in the second half, building a 19-point lead before Eastern Kentucky closed to within the final margin.

WHAT WORKED: Ole Miss is proving to be a pretty proficient shooting team from the perimeter. The Rebels knocked down 10 of 22 3-point attempts Monday, including a 6-for-13 performance from the arc in the first half. ...The Rebels out-rebounded the Colonels, 33-30, but the 13-5 advantage on the offensive glass was a key factor, especially in the second half. ...Ole Miss forced 12 turnovers and committed just eight.

WHAT NEEDS WORK: Nick Mayo is a very good post presence; the Cleveland Cavaliers were in town scouting the Eastern Kentucky forward. However, Ole Miss is going to need to get more consistent production from the post/paint if it is going to max out its potential this season. In the first half Monday, the Rebels were beaten in the paint, 16-8, and out-rebounded, 14-13. ...Ole Miss made just seven of 13 free throws in the second half, finishing at 68. 2 percent for the game.

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Ole Miss guard Terence Davis drives to the basket over Eastern Kentucky's JacQuess Hobbs during the Rebels' win Monday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
Josh McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

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PLAYER OF THE GAME: Deandre Burnett made four of five 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 17 points.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS: Mayo was terrific for Eastern Kentucky, getting 19 points and 10 rebounds to go with two assists and a blocked shot. ...Terence Davis came off the bench for Ole Miss Monday and scored 16 points in 23 minutes. ...Devontae Shuler got the start and scored 12 points on 5-for-12 shooting. ...Markel Crawford scored 10 points and dished out five assists in 26 minutes. ...Marcanvis Hymon had another active game, scoring eight points, grabbing 10 rebounds, blocking three shots and dishing out three assists.

TURNING POINT: Ole Miss led by just six points at halftime but jumped on the Colonels early in the second half, basically putting the game away and allowing Kennedy to focus on rotations.

WHAT’D THEY SAY?:

UP NEXT: Ole Miss entertains Georgia State Friday at 6 p.m. at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

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