On Tuesday night, Ole Miss lost a close overtime contest to Kentucky; however, the Rebels had no problem putting that behind them as they pummeled South Carolina 65-49 on Saturday afternoon at the Tad Pad.
Ole Miss (10-5, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) was led by senior guard Jarvis Summers who scored 20 points, his sixth 20-point game of the season. Junior guard Stefan Moody added 16 points—all in the second half, after sitting out much of the first half due to foul trouble.
After the game, Coach Andy Kennedy commented on Moody’s play, as well as his team’s progression thus far in the season. “The biggest thing is Moody has become assertive, as opposed to watching Jarvis,” he said. “He’s become more assertive and now he’s helping Jarvis. A lot of times early in the season, we were ball-watching a lot. Everybody was watching Jarvis dribble around, and nobody knew how aggressive they needed to be. We’re starting to figure that out.”
The Rebels continued their hot performance at the free throw line, making 18-of-22 from the line and retaining the No. 1 free throw percentage in the nation.
Defensively, the Rebels held South Carolina (9-5, 0-2 SEC) to 49 points, a season-low. They also forced the Gamecocks into making 15 turnovers—scoring 17 points off them.
Kennedy discussed what his team did to shut down South Carolina: “In the first half, our man defense was pretty good early, and then they started beating us with some dribble penetration,” he said. “They had strong, powerful guards who dribble through contact. In the second half, we really mixed and matched to try to keep them off balance. The zone defenses bothered them.”
Coach Kennedy commented on the resilience of his team coming off the loss to Kentucky. “We tried to show them a lot of positives coming out of the game against Kentucky, the biggest thing being the fight,” he said.
“We were always in the fight. We were in the fight for the most part of the game today. This team has to stay in the fight. If it does, we have a ceiling that would be good for us to reach.” — Coach Andy Kennedy
Though the Rebels led by as many as 12 late in the first half, South Carolina made four of its last first-half shots to cut Ole Miss’ lead to 33-27 at halftime.
Coming out of the half, the Gamecocks scored the first six points and tied the game at 33-33 with 18:42 remaining in the game. But the Rebels responded with an 8-1 run to go up 41-34—a run that was sparked by a three-pointer from Stefan Moody. “He’s our playmaker,” Kennedy said of the 5’10” guard.
Following the win, Kennedy discussed the confidence his team gained from the game earlier in the week against Kentucky. “The standard has been changed,” he said. “Kentucky played well. We took their best shot. My hope was that our guys saw that this is the new standard, and this is what we are capable of doing if we take the right approach. If we take the right approach, this team has a chance.”
Next Up for the Rebels
Ole Miss will host LSU Wednesday night. The Tigers are coming off a double-overtime win over Georgia. Tip-off at Tad Smith Coliseum is set for 6 pm, and the game can be seen on the SEC Network.