Chris Beard Triumphant Debut: Ole Miss Tops Alabama State in Season Opener

Chris Beard Triumphant Debut: Chris Beard, after a year-long hiatus, made a victorious debut as the head coach of Ole Miss basketball. Despite a less-than-perfect display of basketball, Ole Miss secured a 69-59 win against Alabama State. The opening night, held at The Sandy and John Black Pavilion at Ole Miss, drew an impressive crowd of 6,141.

Beard expressed gratitude for the warm reception, especially praising the student section. Reflecting on his journey to Oxford, Beard acknowledged feeling blessed to be a part of the vibrant campus community. Despite Ole Miss struggling with shooting percentages, Beard remains confident in the team’s potential and emphasized the commitment to their playing style.

The Rebels showcased a balanced scoring attack, with Matthew Murrell leading with 16 points and nine rebounds. Jaylen Murray, Allen Flanigan, and TJ Caldwell each contributed 15 points. Flanigan also added 12 rebounds and three steals. The team’s overall performance included strong defense, committing only eight turnovers and out-rebounding Alabama State 52-46.

Despite Alabama State’s efforts, Ole Miss dominated in the paint and on fast-break points. The game felt like an intense NCAA Tournament first-round matchup, according to Beard. The team showed poise and resilience when challenged, a promising sign for the season ahead.

Ole Miss will face Eastern Washington on Friday at 7 p.m. in their next matchup.

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