KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — John Fulkerson scored a career-high 18 points and matched a career high with 10 rebounds as Tennessee trounced Mississippi 73-48 on Tuesday night to hand the Rebels their sixth consecutive loss.
Tennessee (12-6, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) won for the fourth time in five games while Ole Miss remained winless in SEC competition. The Rebels (9-9, 0-5) have been one of the SEC’s biggest disappointments thus far after earning a surprising NCAA Tournament berth last year in coach Kermit Davis’ debut season.
Ole Miss shot just 30.2% (19 of 63) against a Tennessee team that entered the night leading the SEC in scoring defense (59.6) and field-goal percentage defense (.382).
Tennessee’s defense was particularly effective early on.
The Volunteers built a 42-23 halftime lead as Ole Miss shot 24.2% overall (8 of 33) and 18.2% from 3-point range (2 of 11) over the first 20 minutes. Ole Miss scored the first four points of the second half to get the margin down to 15, but Tennessee answered with a 12-3 run and never looked back.
Jordan Bowden and Josiah-Jordan James each scored 11 points for Tennessee. Olivier Nkamhoua had 10 points.
Ole Miss’ Breein Tyree scored 18 points but shot just 7 of 22. Devontae Shuler added 11 points for the Rebels.
Tyree entered the night with an SEC-leading 29.7 points per game in league competition, including a career-high 36 points Saturday in an 80-76 loss to conference leader LSU. Tyree was the first Ole Miss player to score at least 25 points in his first three conference games of a season since Joe Harvell did it in 1992.
Ole Miss: The Rebels had played well Saturday in an 80-76 loss to SEC leader LSU, but they couldn’t put together the same kind of performance three nights later. Ole Miss couldn’t shoot all night and also had other issues, as starting forward Khadim Sy played just 12 minutes before fouling out with 9:39 left. The schedule does Ole Miss no favors as it tries to end this skid. The Rebels visit Georgia, host No. 16 Auburn and go back on the road for a rematch with LSU in their next three games.
Tennessee: Yves Pons scored just six points Tuesday night but blocked three shots as he continues to play a big role in Tennessee’s defensive prowess. Pons has blocked a shot in 18 straight games, the longest streak by a Tennessee player since C.J. Black also had a block in 18 straight games from January 1998 to November 1998. Black’s streak spanned parts of two seasons.
Ole Miss visits Georgia on Saturday.
Tennessee plays at No. 3 Kansas on Saturday as part of the Big 12/SEC Challenge.