Rebels Move into Second Place in SEC with Win over Aggies
Feb. 4, 2015


OXFORD, Miss. - Junior guard Stefan Moody powered Ole Miss with a game-high 19 points, as the Rebels defeated Texas A&M 69-59 Wednesday night at Tad Smith Coliseum.

With the win, the Rebels’ third top-50 RPI win this season, Ole Miss (15-7, 6-3 SEC) moved into a three-way tie for second place in the Southeastern Conference standings at the halfway mark of league play.

“It wasn’t the aesthetically pleasing game at times, but these are the kind of games you have to win in early February,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “You have to grind through them, and when you have a veteran team, you hope they have a maturity do that, even though they’re not on the top of their game.”

In addition to Moody, Ole Miss received key contributions from a trio of frontcourt players in senior forward M.J. Rhett, who joined him in double figures with 11 points, and sophomore forwards Sebastian Saiz, who finished with nine points, and nine rebounds and Dwight Coleby who added seven points and six rebounds.

Defensively, the Rebels held Texas A&M (15-6, 6-3 SEC) to 38.6 percent (22-of-57) shooting and forced 16 turnovers. They also limited the Aggies’ two leading scorers, Jalen Jones and Danuel House, who each averaged 14.2 points per game, to a combined 14 points on 5-of-19 shooting.

“We were really locked in defensively,” Kennedy said. “Bill Armstrong had the scout and did an outstanding of preparing the guys, and we followed it. Every time we heard the call, we relayed it, and our guys were where they supposed to be.”

After starting 7-of-26 from the field,  Ole Miss made five of its last seven shots to end the first half, including four of its last five 3-point attempts, to take a 33-32 lead into halftime. Moody led the way with 13 first-half points, followed by senior guard Terence Smith, who scored all eight of his points in the first half.

“Moody was the guy who kept us in it early by attacking. Terence Smith gave us great minutes early. Collectively, our frontline, the three main guys who played, we go 11-of-20 and we rebound at a pretty efficient rate.”

The Rebels opened the second half on a 7-0 run to push the lead to double digits, before Texas A&M stormed back with a 12-3 run, including a 5-0 stretch, to get within three, 53-50, with 8:18 left, but that was as close as the Aggies would get the rest of the way.

Ole Miss answered with a 3-pointer by senior guard LaDarius White, his only points of the game, and then an old-fashioned 3-point play by Rhett to push the lead back to 59-50 with 6:26 left. It remained a multi-possession game, as the Rebels, the nation’s leader in free throw percentage, closed it out from the free-throw line, going 10-of-12 in the second half to finish 15-of-20 for the game.

“We just stayed the course,” Rhett said. “We took the same shots we took in the first half. They just weren’t falling in the first half. In the second half, everything started going in, the crowd got into it, and everything started rolling. Once you start making shots, it makes you want to defend better, and we did that.”

Ole Miss hits the road for a two-game road swing, starting with Auburn on Saturday (5:30 p.m. CT, SEC Network), followed by Florida on Thursday in Gainesville, before returning home the following Saturday against Arkansas.


 

 

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