Ole Miss tries to keep rolling at Mississippi State

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Things have changed a lot for Ole Miss Rebels and the Mississippi State Bulldogs since they last met.

The Rebels defeated the host Bulldogs 64-46 on Jan. 19.

As the two long-time rivals prepare to meet again in an SEC game Saturday in Oxford, Miss., Ole Miss has won four in a row and Miss State has lost six of its past seven conference games.

Suddenly the Rebels (12-8, 7-6) are flirting with a possible NCAA Tournament bid if they can keep playing the way they have been.

"I'm doing whatever I can to get back to March Madness," said Devontae Shuler, Ole Miss' leading scorer with an average of 16.3 points per game.

Shuler scored a career-high 31 points, making eight of 13 field-goal attempts, in the Rebels' most recent win, an 81-74 victory at South Carolina on Feb. 13.

"Any time you can get a win on the road in this league, it's precious," Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said.

The Rebels shot 50 percent from the floor against the Gamecocks, their third consecutive game making at least half of their shots. They had season-highs in free throws made (34) and attempted (44) and are averaging 82.3 points in their past three games.

"It's hard to string four games together in this league," Davis said. "We're playing well at the right time."

The Bulldogs (11-11, 5-8) are coming off a 72-51 home loss to last-place Vanderbilt on Feb. 13. It was their most lopsided defeat of the season.

The Commodores made 10 3-pointers in the first half and took control with a 17-0 run late in the half.

"(The 17-0 run) just blew the door wide open," Miss State coach Ben Howland said. "There's no question we struggled to score."

The Bulldogs took just four free throws and shot 5-for-19 on 3-pointers.

"Only getting to the foul line four times, I don't remember having a team that only shot four foul shots in a conference game," Howland said. "You've got to get to the foul line more than that."

Iverson Molinar was the only Bulldog to score in double figures, finishing with 19 points.

"We have to keep pushing," Molinar said. "We have to stop the bleeding, and we have to stay positive."

--Field Level Media