Perry powers Mississippi State past Ole Miss

Published 8:27 pm Saturday, February 2, 2019

OXFORD (AP) — A handful of Ole Miss players were surrounding the basket during the second half when Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry slid between them unnoticed, grabbing another offensive rebound before making a layup.

A few minutes later, Perry was at it again, finding an open spot behind the 3-point line and hitting the jumper that would give the 22nd-ranked Bulldogs the lead for good in an 81-75 victory over rival Ole Miss on Saturday.

The 6-foot-10 freshman has quickly grown from a role player to an indispensable presence for the Bulldogs. He scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds — including seven on the offensive end — to push Mississippi State to its fourth win in six games.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“I just wanted to come out more aggressive,” Perry said. “My confidence has been up, pretty much since we started SEC play. My teammates have done a good job of putting me in the right position and keeping me motivated.”

Mississippi State (16-5, 4-4 SEC) got some payback after losing to Ole Miss 81-77 at home last month. Quinndary Weatherspoon’s game-high 27 points were a big reason for that, but so was Perry, who was starting just his second conference game.

“Reggie was phenomenal,” coach Ben Howland said. “This is the type of effort I hope to see every day in terms of productivity.”

Ole Miss (14-7, 4-4) led for a big portion of the second half before Mississippi State used a 9-0 run to take a 66-60 lead with eight minutes left. The Rebels pulled even at 73 on Breein Tyree’s 3-pointer, but never could regain the lead.

Perry hit a 3-pointer that made it 76-73. He was shooting just 22 percent from behind the arc for the season before making both of his 3-point attempts on Saturday. He posted a career high for a second straight game after finishing with 18 points against Alabama earlier in the week.

Tyree led Ole Miss with 25 points. He made 7 of 15 shots, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. It wasn’t enough to offset Mississippi State’s 40-28 rebounding advantage and overall dominance in the paint.

“We had some chances to win the game,” Ole Miss coach Kermit Davis said. “But eventually toughness won out.”

Ole Miss scored 13 straight points midway through the first half in taking a 43-39 lead at the break. Devontae Shuler had 14 points at halftime for the Rebels, making all three of his 3-point attempts.

The Rebels, though, suffered their second difficult loss this week after falling in overtime on the road at Florida on Wednesday.

After Saturday’s game, Davis said he was not pleased with his team’s effort.

“Give Mississippi State a lot of credit. They came into a great environment and out-toughed us from the start,” Davis said. “I had to call timeouts early and try to coach effort in a rivalry game in front of a sold out arena. That’s inexcusable. We did some things and had a chance to win the game, but eventually toughness won out.”