Kennedy glad Ole Miss is taking ‘Batman’ into matchup with Kansas State
Legend has it that superheroes always find a way to come out on top. Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is just happy to be coaching one of them.
Kennedy exhaled a sigh of relief after Wednesday night’s 80-63 defeat of Auburn and feels confident heading into today’s SEC/Big 12 matchup against Kansas State (1 p.m. CT, ESPNU).
Kennedy’s comfort level is likely rising in direct proportion to the return of the Rebels’ version of Batman—leading scorer Stefan Moody. The senior guard had previously missed part of the second half and all of overtime against then-No. 24 South Carolina, as well as all of the game against rival Mississippi State, due to an injured hamstring.
But in the second half against the Tigers, Moody’s left hamstring didn’t seem to bother him as he scored 22 of his 24 points—nine of those points were part of a 19-4 run—that helped Ole Miss (13-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) build a 57-41 lead.
“He’s going to be sore for a little while, but I’m really proud of his effort,” Kennedy said after the game. It is evident how much Moody’s presence means to the team:
Coach Andy Kennedy on Stefan “Batman” Moody
Kennedy has been emphasizing he wanted his team to make plays and help out his floor general. While Moody struggled in the first half, forward Marcanvis Hymon stayed consistent, scoring 19 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Hymon was much-needed and will continue to play a pivotal role with junior forward Sebastian Saiz out recovering from eye surgery he had over a week ago. Before the injury, Saiz was averaging 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.
“Saiz won’t be available this weekend and will be evaluated by his surgeon next week,” Kennedy said. “We won’t know anything until then. We want him fully recovered.”
Moody wasn’t the only Rebel to return; senior guard Martavious Newby made his way back to the floor after sitting out two games with an eye injury. Newby had seven points, on 2 of 3 shooting, in 31 minutes.
History against Kansas State
The Rebels are 16-19 all-time versus current members of the Big 12, having faced every current member. Ole Miss has faced Texas most often, owning a 6-8 record against the Longhorns. Kennedy is 3-2 against the Big 12 as the Rebels coach.
Heading into Manhattan, Kansas, Ole Miss has fared well against the Wildcats (12-8, 2-6 Big 12), defeating them three out of the four meetings. The Rebels dropped the last Big 12/SEC Challenge to Kansas State inside Bramlage Coliseum, 61-58. Ole Miss knocked off the Wildcats in 2009 as part of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off and in Oxford in 2000. The Rebels are 1-1 all-time in Manhattan with a 67-65 win over Kansas State in 2001.
Feature image credit of “Batman” flying high vs. Auburn: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics