Stefan Moody’s game-winning shot propels Ole Miss past Georgia, 72-71
The red and blue clad Ole Miss fans stood up late in the second half and watched as their Rebels chipped away at Georgia’s lead and as their team captain Stefan Moody came through when the team really needed him.
With three Bulldogs’ defenders surrounding him, Moody made the off balanced shot in the paint to give Ole Miss the 72-71 win over the Bulldogs. On Georgia’s last attempt, the Rebels’ Rasheed Brooks deflected Kenny Gaines’ final shot at propelling the Bulldogs to victory.
In the opening weekend of The Pavilion, Ole Miss (12-3, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) is 2-0.
“It feels different, very different,” Moody said when asked about playing inside a new arena. Moody had a game-high 29 points on 6 of 17 shooting. He went 15 for 18 from the charity stripe.
Georgia’s leading scorer Yante Maten, who finished with 20 points, nine rebounds and two assists, fouled out at the 3:36 mark with his team holding the 64-63 lead. Ole Miss tied it 64-all off Sebastian Saiz’s free throw, and the Rebels kept the adrenaline rush on their side in front of a packed crowd who refused to sit down as the score was getting tighter and tighter.
Georgia (8-5, 1-2) was up 71-67 with 58 seconds to go in the game following a 3-pointer from J.J. Frazier, who was 2 for 5 from deep and was left wide open on the wing. The entire Bulldogs’ bench, along with their fans sitting right behind them, jumped up and screamed at the top of their lungs. It was clear Georgia thought the game was in the bag with the victory sealed.
But Brooks, who had 14 points and 10 rebounds on 5 for 14 shooting, didn’t share the Bulldogs’ mindset as he knocked down a corner 3 to cut Ole Miss’ deficit to 71-70 with 44 seconds to go. Rebels coach Andy Kennedy couldn’t believe Brooks’ stat line.“He made big plays; he’s growing up,” Kennedy said about 6-foot-5 junior. “He got 10 rebounds? Incredible.”
Sebastian Siaz also added 14 points and 10 rebounds.
On Moody’s game-winning play, Kennedy wanted to call timeout, but Moody was not aware of what his coach wanted. Instead, Moody was zoned in to the final seconds of the game. “No, I had no idea,” Moody said at the postgame press conference. “It was good that I didn’t hear him.”
Rebels overcome 44-35 deficit at the half
After trailing 5-2 in the early minutes of the first half, Moody thrilled the crowd with his sharp shooting skills and swift passing abilities. Moody drained the game’s second 3 of the half, then followed with an assist to Marcanvis Hymon and a layup.
He wasn’t done there.
Moody found Martavious Newby and Saiz on back-to-back possessions to give Ole Miss its biggest lead of the night at 15-5, but Georgia responded with a 14-4 run to tie the game 19-all and kept the momentum going the rest of the way.
Maten scored six straight points for the Bulldogs to put them out front 25-20 at the 6:27 mark. Then Charles Mann got in on the action, knocking down all four of his free throw attempts which followed a 3 by Gaines. Georgia was then up 32-23 and went on to build its lead to 44-29 after J.J Frazier knocked down his first 3 of the half.
Two late 3-pointers from Moody and Brooks sliced the Bulldogs’ deficit to 44-35 at the halftime break. The Rebels ended the first half on a 6-0 run, but had trouble knocking down wide open shots when they were given to them. Ole Miss shot 38.7 percent (12 of 31) in the first half, while Georgia shot 41.2 percent.
Moody started the game 3 for 4 from the field, but ended the half 1 for 5. He led the Rebels at the half with 16 point. Outside of Maten, the Bulldogs had three players score in double figures. Mann had 15 points and Gaines added 14.
Ole Miss: The Rebels have won nine of their last 10 games. Moody extended his streak of 20-point games to 10, which is the best streak in school history since 1992.
Georgia: The Bulldogs came into Saturday’s matchup ranked No. 7 in the nation in field goal percentage defense at 36.8 percent. Georgia has held 12 of its 13 opponents under their season shooting percentage from the floor. The Bulldogs held Ole Miss to 36.2 percent shooting (21 of 58) from the floor.
(Feature image credit: Ellen O’Nan, Ole Miss Athletics)