Ole Miss’ Stefan Moody doesn’t mind sharing the wealth on offense
Stefan Moody is known for taking big-time shots for the Rebels, but it was his unselfishness and willingness to give his teammates chances to score that helped propel his team to a 72-71 victory over Georgia Saturday night in the Pavilion at Ole Miss.
From tip-off, Moody saw an army of Bulldogs blocking his view to the rim and hindering his abilities to hit the paint for a soft floater. But Moody was cool with the double teams, because that left his teammates open for scoring opportunities, which threw Georgia (8-5, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) for a loop.
In the early minutes, Moody knocked down the game’s second 3-pointer, then recorded three assists—in a two-minute span—to teammates Marcanvis Hymon, Martavious Newby, and Sebastian Saiz. Ole Miss quickly jumped out to a 15-5 lead, its biggest of the night.
Moody finished with a game-high 29 points, dished out seven assists and recorded three steals.
“The last few teams have been double teaming me so, it feels great to know my teammates can step in and make plays,” said Moody, who was 15 for 18 from the free throw line. “Sebastian has been very consistent. Tomasz has come in to make plays. Anthony Perez made some plays today, so it feels great.”
Moody began the game making three of his first four shots, then appeared to hit a brick wall, going 1 for 5 to end the first half, with the Rebels down 44-35.
Rasheed Brooks’ shot sets up Moody’s game-winner
All season long the pressure has been on Moody to lead Ole Miss to victory. But something had to give—and on this night—the monkey on Moody’s back was taken off by the play of junior forward Rasheed Brooks, who finished the game with 14 points and 10 rebounds in 37 minutes.
Brooks was arguably the unsung hero for the Rebels late in the second half when Ole Miss (12-3, 2-1) was in need of a shot. With Moody seeing two or three Georgia players coming his way, someone else, besides Moody, had to become Superman.
And as the Bulldogs were closing in on their first conference road win of the season, Brooks answered the bell and quickly put all of the attention on himself.
With 44 seconds to go, and Georgia holding the 71-67 lead after J.J. Frazier drained the deep three, Brooks was left in the corner all alone and Anthony Perez found the 6-foot-5 junior there—by the Rebels’ bench—for his third 3-pointer of the night to cut his team’s deficit to 71-70.
“Rasheed Brooks stepped up and hit a big one that we needed,” Moody said after the game.
Brooks’ shot set up Moody’s last-second heroics, and the Rebel crowd held their breath as they watched the senior guard slice through three Bulldog defenders for the game winner, which sent the 9,487 inside the Rebels’ new $96.5 million arena into a frenzy.
But without Brooks’ shot from the corner, Moody’s game-winner could not have taken place. Before his three-pointer, Ole Miss had gone almost two minutes without making a field goal.
“When you’re not making shots, it’s so demoralizing and when you’re not making free throws, it’s demoralizing,” said Rebels Head Coach Andy Kennedy, who now owns a 7-6 record against Georgia. “And for us to continue to stay the course, get stop after stop after stop after stop with under 90 seconds to play, we made a play.”
It was obvious what the win meant to Kennedy:
(Feature image credit: Ole Miss Athletics)