Braves drop opening contest in Oxford
Published 11:07 am Tuesday, November 8, 2022
OXFORD — Byron Joshua scored 15 points while two other Alcorn players amassed double-figures scoring on Monday evening, as the Braves fell to host Ole Miss, 73-58 in an impressive nonconference men’s basketball showing at The Sandy and John Black Pavilion. The in-state matchup between the teams was the season-opener for both squads.
Alcorn (0-1) out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) stood eye-level with its counterpart from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) at halftime, as the Rebels of Ole Miss led by the thinnest of margins, 28-27.
The Braves ran out to a quick 7-2 lead behind baskets from Jeremiah Kendall and Dontrell McQuarter. Byron Joshua’s lay-up as part of a Braves fast-break allowed the visitors to lead, 15-12 just under eight minutes into the half.
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Ole Miss (1-0) took its first lead of the game at 16-15 with 11:41 showing on the clock in the first half after a TJ Caldwell put-back off an Alcorn turnover.
The Rebels would lead by as many as five (20-15) with just under seven minutes remaining following a pair of free throws from Josh Mballa, as well as a dunk from Caldwell.
Alcorn’s Dominic Brewton scored a shot off the glass in the paint to tie things up at 25-all with 1:02 remaining, before a Matthew Murrell three-pointer seconds later allowed the hosts to take the lead into the locker room.
Murrell opened the second half converting a three-point play, and Caldwell added a 3 to push the Ole Miss lead to 34-27. The Rebels later pulled away with 10-2 surge, capped by Murrell’s three-pointer, to make it 58-43 with 7:39 remaining and led by double-digits for nearly the rest of the way.
Mississippi State transfer Keondre Montgomery connected on consecutive free throws in order to chip into the lead for Alcorn at 60-51, before a Robert Allen dunk off a fast break put the hosts back up by double-digits. Allen’s free throws with 3:11 remaining allowed the Rebels their largest lead of night, 69-51.
Alcorn shot 36.8 percent from the floor on the night, including a 46.7 percent showing from three-point territory.
Joshua led all Braves scorers with 15 (2-of-3 from three-point land), while Montgomery (14) and Brewton (12) followed in double-digits. Montgomery went on to ad seven rebounds and two steals on the night. Brewton added six rebounds and three blocks.
Murell led the host Rebels with a game-high 20 points on 7-for-18 shooting from the field, going on to add six rebounds, three assists and wo steals. Allen chipped in with 15 points. And it was Caldwell scoring 10 points of his own.
With the win, Ole Miss moves to 5-0 all-time in the series against the Braves.
The Braves now prepare to travel and face American Athletic Conference (AAC) foe Wichita State at the Charles Koch Arena on Saturday, Nov. 12, before swinging into east Texas for Stephen F. Austin on Nov. 15 in Nacogdoches.