Ole Miss began its first season under head coach Chris Beard with a sloppy victory against Alabama State.
The Rebels will try to make it two wins in a row when they face Eastern Washington on Friday night in Oxford, Miss.
Ole Miss didn’t shoot well and had a hard time shaking off ASU in a 69-59 victory Monday night.
“Those players weren’t excited about a 10-point win on opening night,” Beard said. “I think they know we have a long ways to go and can play better.”
The Rebels held the Hornets to 27.4 shooting from the floor, and TJ Caldwell scored 12 of his 15 points during a 16-4 second-half run that finally provided some breathing room.
“Once the ball got moving, that opened opportunities for a lot of players, and I just took advantage of that opportunity,” Caldwell said.
EWU opened the season on the road and fell behind Utah by 24 points at the half of a 101-66 defeat.
“We haven’t had great starts at Eastern Washington since I’ve been here,” said third-year head coach David Riley, who was a 10-year assistant before being promoted. “But we’ve always found a way to find one thing to get better at, take that and go on to the next game and move on from there. We’re going to stick to that blueprint.”
The Eagles shot 25.7 percent (9 of 35) from the floor in the first half before improving to 51.3 percent, including 8 of 17 on 3-pointers, in the second half.
“I think we had some silly turnovers but besides that, it was much better (in the second half),” Riley said. “If you shoot 51 percent against a Pac-12 team, you’re doing something right.”
EWU had just two scorers in double figures. Freshman forward Lejuan Watts came off the bench to score 15 and junior forward Dane Erikstrup was the only starter to score in double figures, finishing with 13 points.
–Field Level Media
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