LSU Tigers sweep Ole Miss with 73-63 win
With such a tight gap in the Southeastern Conference standings, neither Ole Miss nor LSU could afford a loss with the SEC and NCAA tournaments approaching.
Unfortunately for Ole Miss, LSU’s Tim Quarterman had a career day, nailing a triple double (18 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists) to lead the Tigers (21-8, 10-6 SEC) past the Rebels 73-63 inside Pete Mavarich Assembly Center Saturday afternoon for the season sweep.
With the win, LSU jumps to fourth place in the SEC standings, while Ole Miss takes a tumble to sixth place.
This one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana started ugly and stayed that way for the entire first half. There were 11 lead changes. Also, neither team could muster a solid shooting performance.
The Rebels (19-10, 10-6) shot 36 percent (10-of-28) and the Tigers shot 30 percent (8-of-27) from the field, but LSU caught fire in the second half while Ole Miss continued to miss shot after shot.
Both the Tigers and the Rebels entered the game looking to stay in the hunt for a bid to the NCAA tournament and punch a first-round bye in next month’s SEC tournament. The Rebels came in thirsty for another key victory to stamp on their tournament resume after suffering a home loss to Georgia Wednesday night.
A tale of two halves
In the beginning, things were going the Ole Miss way.
The Rebels held a 26-15 lead with 5:57 left in the first half. Ole Miss went on a 12-0 run and it started with Dwight Coleby’s short jumper. Then Anthony Perez followed with a 3-pointer and Terence Smith knocked down the mid-range jumper on the Rebels’ next possession. Stefan Moody, then, knocked down all four of his first-half free throw attempts. He finished 8-for-8 from the charity stripe.
At this point, the Rebels had full control until LSU’s Jarell Martin sparked a Tigers’ offense that was struggling to find good shot selections over Ole Miss’ 2-3 zone defense. Martin scored LSU’s next six points to cut the Rebels’ lead to 26-21. Martin had eight points and five rebounds after the first 20 minutes, while Jordan Mickey went scoreless, going 0-for-6 from the field. Ole Miss senior G Jarvis Summers put in 1-of-2 from the free throw line to help Ole Miss go into halftime up 27-23.
LSU goes on second half run
LSU started the second half on a 13-2 run to build a 36-29 lead, then followed with a short 7-0 scoring spurt that was capped by back-to-back scores from Mickey, who finished the game with 11 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Martin finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds on 6-of-11 shooting.
The Tigers were then up 51-40 and the Rebels went into a scoring funk, going 8-for-20 from the field while LSU caught fire from different areas on the floor, shooting a respectable 54.5 percent (18-of-33) in the second half.
Stefan Moody led Ole Miss with 15 points on 3-for-16 shooting and only made one 3-pointer out of seven tries. In the Rebels’ Wednesday night loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, Moody shot 5-for-16 to finish with 19 points.
On Saturday afternoon, the Tigers’ mainly played in man and zone and didn’t allow Moody to get the shots he’s accustomed to getting. Whether it was Keith Hornsby or Quarterman, two hands were in his face. LSU’s defense forced Ole Miss into 17 turnovers that led to 15 points for the Tigers. Hornsby finished with 16 points and shot 4-for-7 from 3-point range, which brings his 3-point total to 61.
Moody could have used some more offensive help from the team’s second leading scorer Jarvis Summers (12.3 ppg), who was on the bench for majority of the second half with two fouls. Summers mustered only four points, four assists, and one rebound in 19 minutes.
Moving forward: “Man up and close strong”
The Rebels face Alabama on Tuesday and need to leave Tuscaloosa with a win, both to better position themselves for post-season as well as to enter the SEC tournament on a higher note. Following the game, Coach Andy Kennedy spoke about what his team needs to do to move forward from the loss.
“You have to be honest, but at the same time, there’s not going to be a drill we can do tomorrow to change some of the things we do. We are who we are. Guys who are struggling know they’re struggling. I’m a big believer in owning it. Let’s own it and let’s try to figure out how to fix it. I have played this game and I have coached this game now for number of years. You fix it by seeing the ball go in the basket. You don’t allow the negative to weight you down. Your self-talk has to positive. It’s easier said than done, when things aren’t going well, and you have to man up and close strong. That’s what we’re going to do.” – Andy Kennedy (via OleMissSports.com)
Ole Miss will take on Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday, March 3 at 6:00 pm CST.