Ole Miss Men's Basketball Cruises Past Troy State, 92-65
Dec. 18, 2000
By RALPH D. RUSSO
OXFORD, Miss. - Given a rare shot to play, Josh Hayes had his shot working.
The seldom-used forward scored 20 points and hit six of a Mississippi's team-record 14 3-pointers as the 24th-ranked Rebels defeated Troy State 92-65 Monday night.
Ole Miss has won nine straight to start the season, its best start since 1936.
Hayes had played just 24 minutes coming into the game, but playing a weak opponent at home gave Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes a chance to dig deep into his bench.
"I have been a bench player all season and I have accepted that role," Hayes said. "Coach told me if I got an open shot, I had to knock it down."
Hayes, a redshirt freshman who sat out last season with a stress fracture in his right foot, made his first seven shots. His only miss of the night came on his final shot.
"After the second one tonight, I just felt it," said Hayes, who did his damage in just 13 minutes of playing time.
"I have always thought that Josh Hayes could really shoot the ball, but he has not had any confidence this season," Barnes said. "He was more focused tonight and tonight was his night.
Hayes played just five minutes in the second half despite having a chance to match the school record of eight 3-pointers.
"I don't think about records," Barnes said. "I just think about that 9-0 record."
David Sanders had 11 points as 12 of the 14 Rebels that played scored.
Robert Rushing led Troy State (2-6) with 15 points.
In what was a big night for benchwarmers, the record-setting 3-pointer
appropriately came from walk-on freshman John Pilger.
Pilger's jumper bounded high off the front rim and through, and gave the Rebels a 90-53 lead with 5:35 remaining. The small but well-informed student section responded to the record setting-bucket with a burst of cheers.
Ole Miss was 14-of-34 from 3-point range.
The Rebels' previous record was 13 3-pointers against Arkansas in 1992.
Troy State is annually one of the most prolific 3-point shooting teams in the nation. Even as the Trojans have struggled early on this season, they have still been making over eight 3s per game and taking more than 20.
With Troy State packing the paint against Ole Miss center Rahim Lockhart, the team's leading scorer, the Rebels grabbed a page from the Trojans' playbook and came out firing from long-range.
"We did not think they'd shoot the ball that well," Rushing said. "They executed their offense really well and adjusted to the zone."
Ole Miss was 11-for-18 from 3-point range in the first half, led by Hayes.
Hayes scored 14 points in the first half, nearly doubling his season total of eight, and made four 3-point shots.
"So far this season we have been turning down shots," Sanders said. "It really stretches the defense when guys were making shots like they were tonight."
The Rebels had been making about four 3-pointers per game.
Ole Miss led 55-34 at halftime, shooting over 60 percent from the floor.
Troy State was 7-for-27 on 3-point attempts.
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