Ole Miss zips past the Racers

Published 9:37 am Friday, December 16, 2016

OXFORD (AP) — Ole Miss played pretty well for most of Thursday night, jumping out to a 20-point lead over Murray State by the middle of the second half. The Rebels looked well on their way to a ho-hum blowout non-conference win.

Instead, Ole Miss walked away with a 78-73 win that was much more difficult than coach Andy Kennedy would have liked.

“I’m frustrated because I know what I see and I know what we’re capable of,” Kennedy said. “I know this team has to live on a razor’s edge as it relates to focus, toughness and execution and we refuse to live there because it’s difficult.”

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Deandre Burnett scored 24 points and Terence Davis added 16 for the Rebels. Sebastian Saiz had 15 points and 14 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

Ole Miss (7-3) had a comfortable advantage for most of the game — leading 62-42 with 10:55 remaining — but a late Murray State run made things interesting. The Racers rallied to pull within 77-73 with 17.7 seconds to go.

“We just relaxed. We can’t do that,” Saiz said. “We play really hard at times. We’ve just got to keep it up for 40 minutes.”

Kennedy was upset that the Rebels missed on so many opportunities to put the game away earlier.

“We missed eight layups,” Kennedy said. “Eight layups. For SEC scholarship players. Layups that I can make right now in this tie and these slippery shoes I’m wearing.
“We’ve got to get better.”

Burnett scored a big chunk of his points on free throws, making 14 of 16. Ole Miss shot just 22-of-62 (35.5 percent) from the field.

Murray State (5-6) was led by Terrell Miller, who scored 27 points. The 6-foot-8 junior was efficient from everywhere on the court, shooting 8-of-12 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range. He added 10 rebounds and two assists.

“We’ll never, ever celebrate losing, but I’m very pleased with the fight and the way we played,” Murray State coach Matt McMahon said. “Even down 15, 18 points, we were really defending and competing. We just weren’t able to complete some plays on the offensive end.”

Blue Mountain 57, Jackson State 49
Jay Howard scored 12 points off the bench, Chris English scored 10, and NAIA Blue Mountain College surprised Jackson State. It’s the Toppers’ second win over a Division I school this season.

The Toppers (6-2), who beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff 77-74 in triple overtime last month, stretched a 23-20 halftime lead to 11 on an English layup less than five minutes into the second half and had an answer for every challenge by the Tigers (3-7).

English made a pair of free throws with 50 seconds left to make it 52-43, and two more after a 3-pointer by Paris Collins. Three more free throws after Jackson State misses sealed it.

The Toppers shot 53 percent and made 13 of 15 free throws in the second half. Ten of 11 players scored, giving them a 26-0 advantage in bench points.

Jackson State shot just 30.5 percent, going 4-of-31 from 3-point range. It made just 9 of 15 free throws. Edric Denis scored 15 points.

Seattle 82, MVSU 67
Zack Moore scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and Brendan Westendorf added 14 points as Seattle won its third straight by beating Mississippi Valley State.

Seattle (6-5) led all the way and built a 24-9 lead with 9:30 to play before halftime. The Redhawks outscored the Delta Devils 27-14 the rest of the half and posted a 51-23 lead over MVSU (0-10).

William Powell made a pair of free throws at the start of the second half to push Seattle’s lead to 30.
Westendorf made his lone free throw of the game and is now 28-for-29 (96.5 percent) from the line this season. He entered the game sixth in the nation in free-throw percentage.

Rashaan Surles scored 15 points for MVSU, and Darrell Riley and Isaac Williams each added 14 points.