Rebels romp against rival Mississippi State

Published 7:12 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

OXFORD (AP) — Terence Davis led Ole Miss with 18 points on Tuesday night, including a crucial baseline jam during the second half that helped the Rebels push back against a final Mississippi State rally and cruise to an easy 88-61 victory.

The 6-foot-4 sophomore finished 7-of-13 from the field, scoring several big buckets exactly when the Rebels needed them. When a reporter asked if the bouncy guard has a chance to be a star, coach Andy Kennedy broke into a wry grin.

“He certainly thinks so,” Kennedy said. “Have you and him been Snapchatting?”

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Jokes aside, Davis has become an important part of the Ole Miss offense as the Rebels try to make a push in the league standings during the season’s final month. He’s scored at least 18 points in four of the past five games.

Kennedy said he hopes Davis will continue to drive to the basket and not settle for contested jumpers. He was 6-of-7 inside the arc on Tuesday opposed to 1-of-6 on 3-point attempts.

“He wants me to get downhill,” Davis said. “Good things happen when I go downhill so that’s what I try to do.”

Ole Miss (13-9, 4-5 Southeastern Conference) won for just the fourth time in 10 games. Sebastian Saiz added 17 points and 11 rebounds against Mississippi State for his 15th double-double of the season.
Mississippi State (13-8, 4-5) cut the Ole Miss lead to 64-54 with 10:39 remaining, but the Rebels scored the next 12 points to put the game out of reach.

The Bulldogs were led by Quinndary Weatherspoon and Lamar Peters, who both scored 16 points. Peters left the game midway through the second half with what coach Ben Howland called a hip pointer and the Bulldogs’ offense never looked the same.

Mississippi State was already without backup point guard I.J. Ready, who is injured. Howland said point guard play without Peters was certainly a big problem, but the issues that cost them the game were mostly in the first half.

“I thought the biggest things were our turnovers and the transition defense that allowed them to get an 18-point lead at halftime,” Howland said.

It was a close game for a big chunk of the first half. Ole Miss was up just 29-28 with 7:45 remaining, but used a 22-5 run to take a 51-33 lead by halftime. The Rebels were doing just about everything right, shooting 20-of-38 (52.6 percent) from the field and forcing 12 Mississippi State turnovers.

“We didn’t play a perfect game by any means,” Kennedy said. “But we didn’t turn it over, we rebounded the ball, defended and held them under 40 percent in the second half. Typically, if you can win those categories, you’ve got a chance.”

Ole Miss junior Justas Furmanavicius had one of his most productive games of the season, finishing with six points, 10 rebounds, one assist and two steals in 27 minutes off the bench.

“His energy was tremendous,” Kennedy said.