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Ole Miss pummels cold-shooting Missouri

The SportsXchange

OXFORD, Miss. -- Mississippi's Rebels decided not to be kind hosts to No. 10 Missouri in the Tigers' first trip on the road in the Southeastern Conference. Ole Miss remained undefeated at home and improved to 2-0 in SEC play with an impressive 64-49 win over Missouri in front of a raucous crowd of 9,173 at C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum.

As solid as the Rebels (13-2 overall) played in the first half, they were much, much better in the final 20 minutes against the Tigers, who only shot 36.8 percent from the floor. Senior forward Murphy Holloway led the Rebels with 22 points and was second on the team with eight rebounds.

Sophomore point guard Jarvis Summers had 12 points and Marshall Henderson, the SEC's leading scorer, finished with 11 for Ole Miss. Missouri, which fell to 12-3 overall and 1-1 in the SEC, was led by Jabari Brown's 13 points.

The Rebels never let Missouri get any closer than seven points in the second half thanks to a smothering defense that coach Andy Kennedy said was the main reason for the victory.

"Defensively, we were as good as we've been since I've been here," Kennedy said. "We just held a very good basketball team that is averaging right at 80 points per game to 49. We knew one of the keys coming in was they were incredible in transition and we had to get back in transition and try to contain them and tonight they had four fast-break points.

"I thought we did a good job on (Phil) Pressey. He's a dynamic point guard who in Missouri's last game at UCLA went for 19 points and had nine assists. I thought we did a good job on him limiting him to 10 points and five assists," Kennedy continued. "I also thought we controlled the glass against a team that led the nation in rebounding margin. We won the battle of the glass, all the effort areas, were the things that we capitalized on."

Ole Miss went 22-for-56 from the floor but finished 15-for-20 from the free throw line and with one more rebound (37) than the Tigers. Ole Miss held a double-digit lead all but 40 seconds of the second half and led by as many as 20 points with just over five minutes left in the contest.

"Ole Miss played great. I thought they were much tougher than us and played with more energy," Missouri coach Frank Haith said. "Their fans were great and I thought we really didn't do things we've done all year. We didn't attack. We only went to the line six times, they went 20 times. They were way more aggressive than we were and it showed on the scoreboard."

Scoring points was a problem for the Tigers all night, but especially in the first half. The Tigers shot just 14 percent (2-for-14) in the first nine and a half minutes of the contest. The less-than-ideal start found the Tigers trailing the Rebels 31-22 at the half.

"I thought we were timid when we drove the ball. We missed so many layups and we weren't attacking with any aggression like you need to attack," Haith said when asked about the offensive struggles. "They blocked a couple of shots but we were way too timid. We missed a lot of chip (shots) and we were looking for someone to bail us out rather than going and making plays."

The Rebels, who led by as many as 13 points in the first half, didn't have the same problem as the Tigers from the floor, but they didn't scorch the net either, shooting 37.5 percent in the opening 20 minutes of action.

Ole Miss' inability to shoot any better kept the Tigers within striking distance as the half neared a close. Missouri was able to erase the 13-point deficit by scoring 10 of the game's next 12 points from the 8:13 mark until a dunk by Ole Miss' Aaron Jones with 4:01 left. The Rebels did get two 3-pointers from Derrick Millinghaus and two free throws in the final two minutes to keep the lead at three possessions.

NOTES: Missouri, which came into the contest leading the SEC in rebounding, averaging 45.3 per game, grabbed 20 in the opening half and finished with 36. ... The Tigers were without leading scorer Laurence Bowers for the game. He sprained his MCL in the SEC opener against Alabama. ... Ole Miss is off to a 2-0 start in SEC play for the first time under coach Andy Kennedy and the first time since the 2005-06 season. The Rebels are also off to their best start since the 2007-08 season, when they started 13-1.

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