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Rebels Fall 81-74 to Western Kentucky at Home

Junior Stefan Moody knocked down a career-high six 3-pointers and led the Rebels with 25 points, but Ole Miss (6-3) was unable to overcome a second-surge from Western Kentucky in a 81-74 loss Saturday afternoon.
imageThe Hilltoppers (4-4) shot 51.9 percent from field in the second half, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range, outscoring the Rebels 41-18 over the last 14:49 of the game. After shooting 52.9 percent in the first half, Ole Miss was held to just 24.2 percent shooting in the second half.
“You have to make plays,” head coach Andy Kennedy said. “With a shot clock, there’s no running out of the clock. You have to continue to make plays. In the first half, we were really aggressive and we were making shots. And then we shoot 24 percent in the second half. It’s not just any one guy, but we’re not getting the production we need to be as competitive as I would have hoped.”
Four players finished in double figures for Western Kentucky, led by T.J. Price who scored 21 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
“We thought T.J. Price was the key, and look at his numbers — 26 points, 10 rebounds, five assists — that’s what you want out of your senior guard,” Kennedy said. “He came up and he got in a little bit of a rhythm. And then he started toying with us off the dribble and made shot after shot.”
For Moody, it was his second-straight 20-point game and his team-leading third 20-point game of the season. Joining him in double figures was senior LaDarius White with 15 points, who scored 13 of his 15 in the first half.
“Moody was outstanding,” Kennedy said. He’s been really good for us, in giving us energy and give us the ability to score. In the second half, he had zero help, and they did a better job of limiting his clean looks.”
It was a back and forth contest early, with three ties and four lead changes, before a 3-pointer from White gave Ole Miss the lead, 17-16, with 10:27 left in the first half, the start of a 9-1 run for the Rebels. Three-straight 3-pointers from Moody stretched the lead to 32-19 with 5:36 left. Moody finished with a game-high 14 points in the first half, going 4-of-7 from 3-point range and scoring 12 of his 14 points in a 3:44 stretch late in the half.
Ole Miss led by as many as 17 on the way to a 45-32 halftime lead. The Rebels shot 53 percent from the field and held the Hilltoppers to just 33 percent shooting, including a 3:55 field-goal drought.
Western Kentucky stormed back in the second half, taking a 58-57 lead with 8:20 left after a 14-0 run that included three 3-pointers. Moody gave Ole Miss a 63-61 lead, the team’s final lead of the game, with his sixth 3-pointer. The Hilltoppers had another answer, a decisive answer, knocking down two more 3-pointers as part of an 8-0 run to take a 69-63 lead with 3:26 left.
Ole Miss drew to within three, down 69-66 with 2:00 left, after three made free throws, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way, as the Hilltoppers closed out the win from the free-throw line, where they were 26-of-32 for the game.
“We let Western come in and make more free throws than we attempted,” Kennedy said. “We were plus-nine on the glass in the first half, and in end, it ended up even. It was a tale of two halves. We were pretty good in the first half, but they were outstanding in the second half.”
Ole Miss returns to action, hosting Coastal Carolina on Thursday as part of a doubleheader with the Ole Miss women’s team. Tip-off between the Rebels and the Chanticleers is set for 7 p.m. on the SEC Network.
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