TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Kobe Brown scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half when 12th-seeded Missouri pulled away from 13th-seeded Mississippi for a 72-60 win in Wednesday’s Southeastern Conference tournament opener.
Ronnie DeGray III had three 3-pointers and 14 points, all in the first half, to help the Tigers (12-20) keep pace.
Missouri will take on fifth-seeded LSU in Thursday’s second round. LSU won the regular-season matchup 75-55.
Matthew Murrell scored 16 points and Jarkel Joiner had 13 for the Rebels (13-19), who lost their fifth straight.
Missouri defeated Ole Miss twice during the regular season. The last time the Tigers beat the same team three times in a season was 2012 (Baylor and Texas).
After a first half that ended 32-all — Ole Miss had the largest lead of five points — Missouri opened the second half outscoring the Rebels 13-2. The lead reached 14 with 11 1/2 minutes remaining and stayed in double figures.
DeGray entered about four minutes into the game and hit three straight 3-pointers and added a 2-pointer in running off 11 consecutive points for Missouri. But it took two buckets by Amari Davis, who also came off the bench, to get the Tigers even at halftime.
Missouri shot over 50% in both halves, finishing at 54% to the Rebels’ 41%, and was plus-12 on the boards.