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Friday, May 22, 2015

Rebels blow past MSU for fourth straight win

BLOGMarshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers each scored 19 points, and Ole Miss used a strong start to the second half to pull away for an 83-62 win over Mississippi State in front of 8,843 fans at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum Saturday afternoon.

The win marked the fourth straight for the Rebels (14-5 overall, 5-1 Southeastern Conference), who avenged a 76-72 loss to the Bulldogs on Jan. 11 in Starkville. LaDarius White added 11 points for Ole Miss, which also outrebounded Mississippi State (13-6, 3-3) 43-32 behind 11 boards from Sebastian Saiz and 10 from Aaron Jones.

“A lot of people get a little more excited about this game than they do the others, but for us, it’s got to be a workman-like approach because we play every three days, and at the end of the day, this is one of 31 (games),” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “I’m certainly glad for Rebel nation that we gave them something to be excited about.”

Henderson produced plenty of highlight-worthy plays in his first game against the Bulldogs this season. The senior didn’t play in the teams’ first matchup as he served the last of a two-game league suspension, but Henderson made up for it this time around with a combination of inside and outside scoring and a handful of big plays on defense.

Henderson produced all but six of his points inside the arc, finishing 7 of 17 from the floor. But he drew some of the loudest roars from the home crowd with his defensive effort, turning a pair of second-half steals into dunks and swatting a shot out of bounds in front of the student section. Henderson’s final line included four steals and four assists.

The Rebels grabbed their largest lead at the time at 45-30 on a tip-in by Saiz with 16:18 left in the game and pushed the advantage to 21 with eight of the next 10 points. Mississippi State reeled off the next eight points and eventually cut the deficit to 12 with 8:01 remaining, but the Bulldogs didn’t get any closer.

After being victims of Mississippi State’s dribble penetration two weeks ago, the Rebels came out aggressive on both ends. Ole Miss held a 38-27 lead at the break despite going just 2 of 11 from 3-point range, taking the ball to the basket against the Bulldogs’ man defense. Ole Miss held a 22-16 advantage in the paint in the first half and finished with 38 points inside.

The Rebels forced State to shoot over the top using a mixture of zone defenses. The strategy worked as the Bulldogs shot 39 percent (11-for-28) in the opening 20 minutes, including just 3 of 8 from the beyond the arc. Ole Miss connected on 14 of its 31 shots in the first half, leading by as many as 13.

State went 6-for-14 from the free throw line after drawing 42 trips to the charity stripe in the previous meeting. Ole Miss hit 17 of its 20 free throws.

“I was glad to see an adjustment,” Kennedy said. “Obviously in game one, they lived at the foul line with 42 attempts. We wanted to make a concerted effort of keeping them in front of us, and I thought we did that for the most part.”

Ole Miss will return to action at Tennessee Wednesday night.

See Monday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage from today’s game.

  (January 25, 2014)

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