Dec. 18, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. - Behind a career-high 26 points from senior guard LaDarius White, Ole Miss overcame a 17-point deficit to knock off Coastal Carolina 71-68 on Thursday night at Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels shot 60.9 percent in the second half, as they overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to win for the first time this season.
“Coastal’s zone was spread and they weren’t allowing us to turn the ball,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “Our instincts should have told us to be aggressive and drive those gaps, try to be quicker to the ball. In the second half, that’s just we did. We took what the defense gave us. We got into gaps. We had 15 assists off 23 made field goals, which shows we shared the ball.”
White was an efficient 7-of-13 from the field, 6-of-8 from 3-point range and 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, setting another career high with six made 3-pointers. He was joined in double figures by fellow senior guard Jarvis Summers (16 points) and junior guard Stefan Moody (11 points).
The Rebels held a 27-23 rebounding edge, including 11 offensive rebounds to 15 defensive rebounds for the Chanticleers, led by senior forward Aaron Jones who had a season-high five offensive rebounds and nine total rebounds.
“We won the battle of the boards against the fourth-rated team in the country in rebounding margin, so there are a lot of positives, the biggest being we won the game.”
Coastal Carolina made six of their first eight shots, including their first five from 3-point range, on the way to 66.7 percent shooting from the floor and 8-of-11 shooting from 3-point range in the first half. The Chanticleers led by as many as 17 and went into halftime leading 41-28.
Sparked by back-to-back 3-pointers from White, Ole Miss opened the second half on an 8-4 run, drawing to within single digits. The Chanticleers pushed the lead back to double digits, and then the Rebels answered with an 18-3 run, taking their first lead of the game, 54-53, with 8:21 left in the game.
“He was very aggressive for us,” said Kennedy of White. “To start the second half, he was huge. We’re down 13 and morale is down and everybody is looking around, and he comes out and he makes the first two 3’s in the second half to relax us a little bit. We carved into that lead pretty quickly and got it to where it was manageable, so we could make some plays down the stretch.”
The teams traded leads down the stretch, with Ole Miss going ahead for good, 61-60, with 4:47 left after two free throws from White. The Rebels extended the lead to six, 66-60, their largest lead of the game, as they held Coastal Carolina scoreless from the 5:10 mark to the 1:10 mark.
The Chanticleers rallied, taking advantage of two Ole Miss turnovers and going 6-of-7 from the free-throw line, to tie the game at 66-66 with under a minute left. Moody then gave the Rebels a 68-66 lead with two free throws, and then an offensive foul for Coastal Carolina gave the ball back to Ole Miss, after which Summers made one of two free throws to extend the lead to 69-66.
Summers scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, his first game in double figures since scoring a season-high 23 against Creighton on Nov. 28.
“He was aggressive,” said Kennedy of Summers in the second half. “He attacked. He had a size advantage, so we were trying to him into the paint where he could score over the top, and he did that.”
Coastal Carolina had a 3-point look to tie the game, but it drew iron, and Moody grabbed the defensive rebound, drew the foul and iced the game with two makes at the free-throw line, where the Rebels finished 16-of-19 for the game.
“We had a couple of foolish turnovers there at the end, which made it too exciting, but we have made free throws for the most part this year and we finished the game at the foul line,” Kennedy said.
Ole Miss returns to action, playing Southeast Missouri in the Jack Jones Classic on Monday in Southaven, Miss. Tip-off between the Rebels and the Redhawks is set for 7 p.m. CT.