No. 24 South Carolina is next team up with hopes of slowing down Stefan Moody’s scoring
Ole Miss senior guard Stefan Moody continues to be the center of attention for defenses in the Southeastern Conference, seeing two or three defenders each game who attempt to interrupt his offensive rhythm.
Yet, Moody finds a way to score when the Rebels needs a spark, and he ends up with 20-plus points on the scoreboard at the end of the night.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin feels Moody poses an unbelievable challenge to any team he plays—even going so far as to say stopping Moody reminds him of something a character says in the Liam Neeson movie, Taken.
“I can’t remember the actor’s name right now, but from the movie ‘Taken,’” Martin said. “We should all hire that guy that’s from the other country who says ‘good luck.’”
“Good luck” is the best phrase to use when one tries to guard Moody, who has scored 20-plus points in 12-consecutive games, the best streak in school history since Gerald Glass recorded 13-straight in 1989. Moody has broken the 30-point mark three times this season and has made a 3-pointer in 30-straight games, which is the fourth-longest streak in school history.
Moody is averaging 24.3 points per game, currently the best scoring average in the SEC.
“He’s impossible to keep out of the paint; his ability to make tough shots is second to none,” Martin said. “He’s grown tremendously as a point guard from early in the year to now.”
Martin’s Gamecocks will get their chance to prevent Moody from another 20-point performance on Tuesday night (6 p.m. CT, SEC Network) when No. 24 South Carolina (16-1, 3-1) travels to Oxford to take on Ole Miss (12-5, 2-3). The Rebels are looking to bounce back from consecutive losses last week to LSU and Florida.
Scouting the Gamecocks
The Rebels will have their hands full against the Gamecocks, who have five players averaging in double figures, led by junior guard Sindarius Thornwell, who is scoring a team-best 12.5 points per game. Senior forward Michael Carrera is right behind Thornwell with 11.6 points per game and is averaging a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game.
Defensively, South Carolina is one of the best units on the floor when guarding the basketball, holding its opponents to an average 66.6 points per game. For the season, Ole Miss is averaging 75.5 points per contest and Martin figures, one way or another, the Rebels will find a way to give their best player the basketball in crunch time.
Frank Martin finds Moody “extremely impressive”
Martin also knows it won’t be easy to slow down the 5-foot-10 guard.
“Everyone’s tried and it’s still 25 points every night,” Martin said of Moody’s scoring production. Moody is only 24 points away from the 1,000-point club at Ole Miss. “For a guy his size to shoot the amount of free throws that he shoots, it’s extremely impressive,” Martin said.
Andy Kennedy’s thoughts on Moody
Series History vs. South Carolina
Tuesday’s game will be the 35th meeting between the two schools on the hardwood floor, with Ole Miss holding an 18-16 series lead after the two teams split two games last season. The Rebels defeated the Gamecocks 65-49 at home last January, then lost in the SEC Tournament to South Carolina, 60-58, in March.
Ole Miss has won four of the last six meetings in the series.
The Rebels are 12-1 all-time in Oxford against South Carolina with the only loss coming in 2008. The home team has taken 13 of the last 15 matchups in the series. Kennedy is 6-7 against the Gamecocks (6-6 with Ole Miss, 0-1 with Cincinnati).
Feature image credit: Amanda Swain, The Rebel Walk