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Ole Miss Gets a Hard Fought 79-73 Win Over Mississippi State

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Ole Miss Guard Jarvis Summers was once again the star of the night for the Rebels. Photograph by Newt Rayburn.

Ole Miss has not won three in a row versus Mississippi State since 1999. On Wednesday night, they did just that. 

After a one point victory over Florida, the Rebels looked to gain some momentum as they head into the meat of the SEC schedule. Free throw shooting stole the night. Ole Miss made 29 of their 37 free throw attempts, on the flip side Mississippi State went 6-11 on free throws.

Jarvis Summers alone went 12-15 from the free throw line, all of which came in the second half. Summers, who played only nine minutes in the first half, scored all 22 of his points in the second half.

“Jarvis had been struggling,” said Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy. “In the first half he was 0-2. He did not look like he had any pop. He wasn’t putting any pressure on the defense. We challenged him at the half and he responded.”

Jarvis Summers 22 points all came in the second half. Photograph by Newt Rayburn.

Summer’s biggest play came with about 3:16 remaining in the game. Up two towards the end of the second half, Summers launched a three and was fouled by State forward Roquez Johnson. He went to the line, and like the Rebels have this season, knocked down his free throw. 

“He (Johnson) hit my hand really hard,” Summers said. “So I thought; no way I am making it.”  

Just like against Florida, if you look at the stat sheet, Ole Miss really should not have been in the game. State had more rebounds, more assists, shot a better field goal percentage, and made more three pointers.

“Very, very seldom do you win basketball games when you get out rebounded,” said Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy. The Bulldogs out-rebounded the Rebels 34-31. Photograph by Newt Rayburn.

Ole Miss, however, won the big stats. The Rebels forced the Bulldogs into 16 turnovers, while only committing only six turnovers themselves. They won free throws, and they also won bench points,too. Ole Miss had 32 bench points and State only had 13. 

“Very, very seldom do you win basketball games when you get out rebounded,” said Coach Kennedy. “They out rebounded us and shot 56% from the floor. They shot almost 60% from three, and I give our guys credit for staying in the fight.”

Towards the end of this game it turned into two stars duking it out. While Summers had 22 points, State Guard Craig Sword also had a huge scoring night. Sword registered 27 points and hit a season high five threes. Sword, who has battled nagging back injuries all season, was considered a game time decision.

Mississippi State Guard Craig Sword had a huge scoring night. Sword registered 27 points and hit a season high five threes. Photograph by Newt Rayburn.

“Craig Sword was a borderline all league player last year,” remarked Coach Kennedy. “Over the last two weeks he has started to look like the Craig Sword of old.” 

Ole Miss continues its 2014-15 season as they take on the Missouri Tigers (7-12) in Columbia on Saturday, January 31st. The SEC for the past few years has been considered the worst of the power five conferences, but this year things have changed. Teams have improved and the Conference as a whole is on the upswing.

“If you look at it, Missouri is probably four or five possessions away from flipping their record,” said Coach Kennedy. “There is quality of depth in this league, and I think for the first time since I have been here, one through fourteen, there are no off nights.” 

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