Ole Miss Takes Down BYU in NCAA Tournament
March 17, 2015

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DAYTON, Ohio -- March Madness reigned in Dayton, as 11th-seeded Ole Miss scored 62 second-half points to overcome a 17-point halftime deficit, rallying past 11th-seeded BYU 94-90 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday.

"We wanted to show that we belonged here," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I challenged our guys to show that we are worthy of this selection. There are a lot of quality teams in college basketball that don't have this opportunity, so let's go show that we're worthy, and we did that."

Six Rebels finished in double figures, led by a team-high 26 points by junior guard Stefan Moody, who went 10-for-18 from the field, including 5-for-9 from 3-point range. Senior forward M.J. Rhett added a career-high 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting, scoring 14 of his 20 points during the second-half surge.

As a team, Ole Miss (21-12) shot 45 percent from the floor, including 60 percent in the second half. They dished out 24 assists on 36 made field goals, led by a season-high 10 assists from senior guard Jarvis Summers, who also finished with 11 points. The Rebels also scored 25 points off 15 BYU turnovers, while committing just seven turnovers that led to zero points off turnovers for the Cougars (25-10).

"It fueled our defensive effort," Moody said. "It's a lot easier to play defense when what you're doing is working and you're getting stops. We kept going and rolling off of that."

BYU took a 49-32 lead into halftime, behind 57 percent shooting from the field, including a 10-for-15 mark from 3-point range. Ole Miss stormed back, drawing to within single digits after a highlight-reel, alley-oop dunk from Summers to Rhett with 14:28 left in the game, as part of a 20-8 run for the Rebels to start the second half.

"We wanted to attack the paint as much as we could because our jump shots weren't falling in the first half," Rhett said. "We kept attacking and getting to the rim, and that's we did."

Ole Miss followed with a 15-2 run that turned a 66-57 deficit with 9:54 into a 72-68 advantage with 7:14 left, highlighted by a 3-pointer by Moody to give the Rebels a 70-68 lead with 7:45 left, their first lead of the game. Moody delivered another key play in the game, knocking down his fifth and final 3-pointer of the game to take an 85-82 lead with 1:58 left, a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

"I was just trying to make plays," Moody said. "Coach challenges us to make plays to come back in the second half, and those are the big shots you have to make."

Down four in final minute of the game, BYU had two looks from 3-point range, but both attempts were off the mark, before the possession ended in another forced turnover for Ole Miss. The Rebels put the game away at the free-throw line, where Summers made the second of two free throws with 2.9 seconds left to seal the 94-90 win.

With the win, the second NCAA Tournament win under Kennedyand the fifth in program history, the Rebels advance to play sixth-seeded Xavier in the second round of the West Regional on Thursday. Tip-off from Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, is set for approximately 3:10 p.m. CT on TBS.


 

 

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