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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Rebels hold off Mizzou, 91-88

BLOGMarshall Henderson poured in a game-high 29 points, Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White added 16 apiece, and Ole Miss hung on for its biggest win of the season with a 91-88 victory over Missouri Saturday afternoon at C.M. “Tad” Smith Coliseum.

Ole Miss (16-7, 7-3 Southeastern Conference), which also got 11 points from Anthony Perez, led by as many as 18 in the first half and took a 50-35 lead into the break but survived a heavy push from the Tigers (16-7, 4-6), who started the second half on a 15-1 run and got as close as a point with 3:28 left on a 3-pointer from Earnest Ross, who led Missouri with 24 points.

The Rebels pushed the lead back to eight at 91-83 with 19 seconds left, but Missouri reeled off five straight points to cut it to three with 3 ticks remaining. Summers got the inbounds pass but was trapped in the corner and eventually stepped out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Tigers with 0.9 seconds left. Ross’ last-second heave grazed the front of the rim, allowing the Rebels to escape.

It’s the first top-50 RPI victory for the Rebels, who improved to 5-6 against the RPI top 100.

“Huge win. Huge, huge win,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “Because it’s a home game against a top-50 team that everybody has slotted ahead of us. Huge win.”

The Rebels outrebounded Missouri 34-33, getting 11 and 10 boards from forwards Aaron Jones and Sebastian Saiz, respectively. Jordan Clarkson added 23 points for Missouri while Jabari Brown, the SEC’s leading scorer coming in, hit his season average of 20.

Missouri shot 53 percent from the floor in the second half to make a game of it, but it was the Rebels who began pouring in shots early and never really stopped.

Henderson, who finished 10 of 18 from the floor and tied his career-high with eight 3s, sank six of Rebels’ nine long-range shots in the first half as Ole Miss stormed out to a 29-19 lead midway through the opening 20 minutes. Henderson’s final 3 of the half gave Ole Miss a 33-21 advantage, and a dish to Perez off a turnover resulting in a dunk gave the Rebels their biggest lead at the time at 14, bringing the home crowd to its feet with 6:36 left until halftime.

The Rebels continued to use some hot shooting along with a mixture of its man, zone and halfcourt trap defenses to push the advantage to 47-29 less than four minutes later and eventually hit the 50-point mark on a free throw from White with 38 seconds remaining — the most points Missouri has given up in any half this season.

Ole Miss ended the half shooting 53 percent (17 of 32) from the floor and scored 19 points off 10 turnovers. The Rebels finished with 21 points off 12 takeaways in all.

“I thought our guys we were really, really locked in,” Kennedy said. “Obviously when you make a bunch of shots — the first half, we go 9-for-16 from 3 — that’s a lot of energy in the building, making shots regardless of what they were doing. We were able to capitalize and scored 50 big points in the first half, and as a result, we had all the momentum.”

The Rebels will travel to Alabama for their next game on Tuesday for an 8 p.m. tip. The game can be seen on ESPNU.

See Monday’s edition of the EAGLE for complete coverage from Saturday’s game. (February 8, 2014)

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