November 14, 2017 10:26:25 AM
OXFORD -- Deandre Burnett had 17 points Monday night to lead the Ole Miss men's basketball team to an 85-75 victory against Eastern Kentucky at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.
The victory helped Ole Miss (2-0) raise its all-time winning percentage over .500 (1,283-1,282) for the first time since Jan. 12, 1959. The Rebels were 95 games under .500 as a program when Andy Kennedy became head coach.
Freshman Devontae Shuler made his first career start and had 12 points for the Rebels, who started 2-0 for the 11th time in the past 12 seasons, all under Kennedy.
The win sent Ole Miss (2-0) to over .500 as a program for the first time since 1959, a testament to what Andy Kennedy has accomplished in his 12 years in Oxford.
Burnett was 4-for-8 from the field off the bench, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. He also was 5-for-6 from the free- throw line.
"AK always tells me my role hasn't changed," Burnett said. "It doesn't matter if I am coming off of the bench. We have a lot of good guards. Someone has to come off the bench. I felt like I was the best guy for that job."
Kennedy's trust in Burnett hasn't wavered and, if anything, has increased when he is on the floor. The ball was in Burnett's hands in the final minutes of both halves as the Rebels were trying to preserve the win.
"As the oldest guy on the floor, he has got to be open and loud," Kennedy said. "He has got to take ownership of the locker room."
Terence Davis added 16 points, while Markell Crawford had 10.
Ole Miss will play host to Georgia State at 6 p.m. Friday.
n Alabama will play host to Lipscomb: At
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the Alabama men's basketball team will play host to Lipscomb at 7 tonight (SEC
Network) at Coleman Coliseum.
Alabama opened the season with an 82-70 victory against Memphis in the Veterans Classic in Annapolis, Maryland. It marked the first Crimson Tide season-opening victory away from Coleman Coliseum since a 68-62 victory against Oklahoma on Nov. 14, 2002, in New York City.
After serving a one-game suspension levied by the NCAA, freshman guard Collin Sexton is set to make his debut. Alabama and Lipscomb will meet for the third time. The Crimson Tide lead the series 2-0.
Lipscomb (2-0) comes in with victories against Emory (98-63) and Morehead State (77-70).
n In related news, coach Avery Johnson announced a three-player signing class that ranks among the best in the nation.
The class includes Jared Butler (Reserve, La./Riverside Academy) and Diante Wood (Anniston, Ala./Sacred Heart Catholic HS), along with center Javian Fleming (Canton, Miss./Canton HS). All three are four star prospects and each is expected to make an impact for the Tide next season.
Butler, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound point guard, is a consensus four-star recruit who is ranked as the No. 75 overall player in the class of 2018, the No. 13-ranked point guard and the top point guard in the state of Louisiana, according to Scout.com.
Fleming, who played at Canton High school under head coach Russell Evans, is a four-star recruit who is ranked as the No. 2 player in the state and the No. 17 center in the country, according to ESPN.com. The 6-9, 230-pound power forward averaged 16.2 points, 10 rebounds and 2.7 blocks as a junior.
Wood is four-star prospect according to ESPN.com, which lists him as the top-ranked prospect in the state of Alabama and the No. 32 overall player in the region.
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