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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Dominik Olejniczak and Justas Furmanavicius scored 15 points apiece as Mississippi defeated Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 85-63 on Tuesday night.
"Tonight was a step in the right direction and I was pleased with Dominik and Justas, especially," Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. "We've still got things to clean up, but we've got opportunities. This team still has a life."
Deandre Burnett added 13 points for Ole Miss (6-5) and sparked an early 20-4 run to build an insurmountable 44-22 lead. Terence Davis and Breein Tyree had 11 points apiece.
Joe Kilgore scored 17 points for Corpus Christi (3-7), which trailed 50-31 at halftime and by as many as 28 points in the second half. Perry Francois added 12 points for the Islanders.
Mississippi shot 28 of 52 from the field, including 14 of 30 from 3-point range, and outrebounded the Islanders 34-27. The Rebels also had nine blocked shots with three apiece from Davis and Olejniczak.
Ole Miss has used seven different starting lineups in 11 games, typical of Kennedy-coached teams in non-conference games. Walk-on transfer D.C. Davis, who had played two minutes in two games, got the starting assignment and finished with an assist, steal and free throw in 13 minutes.
"You have to let all your players know that you still value practice and effort and D.C. earned it," Kennedy said. "I'll bet when their coaches saw D.C.'s name in the starting lineup, they didn't know who he was."
Corpus Christi: Kilgore showcased his offensive explosiveness by hitting three consecutive 3-point shots in the final two minutes of the first half. The 6-foot-5 senior guard has been in double digits every game and figures heavily into his club's bid for a fourth consecutive 20-win season. The Islanders are 0-2 against the SEC, losing to Georgia 68-65 in November.
Ole Miss: The lopsided win was a welcome relief for the Rebels, who had lost four of the last five games at home, including three in overtime. After struggling from 3-point range in December, the Rebels opened by hitting 9 of 13 (69 percent) in the opening 14 minutes, including three from 6-foot-7 Furmanavicius. ... The Rebels are 56-3 all-time against SEC teams.
"We got hit with some adversity in the last few games," Furmanavicius said. "But we have confidence and we just need to keep working through it."
Corpus Christi: The Islanders host Central Arkansas in the Southland Conference opener for both teams on Thursday, Dec. 28.
Ole Miss: The Rebels host Bradley on Friday.
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