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Ole Miss Looks to Avenge Earlier Loss to LSU in Saturday Showdown

The last time the Ole Miss Rebels and LSU Tigers squared off, a game that LSU won 75-71 in Oxford, the teams were on very different trajectories. LSU was 13-3 and making their way into the Top 25 with a high seed in mind. Ole Miss had yet to find their groove and at 10-6, the NIT seemed more likely than a ticket to the Big Dance.

Photo courtesy Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics
Photo courtesy Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

Since then, Ole Miss has gone on a tear, winning nine of their last 12 games to put them at 19-9 on the year. Despite a 76-72 loss to Georgia on Wednesday, the Rebels are firmly in everyone’s projected bracket, ranging from a seven to 10 seed.

LSU, on the other hand, is 7-5 since leaving Lafayette County, including losses to paltry Auburn and Mississippi State teams. They are now squarely on the bubble and need to finish well in their last three games: Ole Miss, Tennessee and at No. 18 Arkansas.

In that 75-71 victory in Oxford, LSU had big games from their star players. Forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey each had double-doubles, posting 18 points and 14 rebounds and 11 points and 11 rebounds respectively. Mickey was a tenacious tree in the paint all night, racking up six blocks while only accumulating a single foul. In addition to the stellar play by the Tiger bigs, guard Keith Hornsby had a game-high 23 points, due in large part to five three-point field goals.

The Rebel guards, typically the driving force of the team, did not turn in their best performance against the Bayou Bengals that night. Starters Stefan Moody, Jarvis Summers and Snoop White were just 14-45 from the field, including 4-18 from deep. The reserves did not play much better as Terence Smith and Martavious Newby were just 2-10 from the floor.

Ole Miss did get quality minutes from big men M.J. Rhett and Dwight Coleby with Rhett finishing with 15 and seven, and Coleby scoring 10 points with eight rebounds. Despite the height advantage for LSU, Ole Miss outrebounded them 47-41, including a 23-12 advantage on offensive boards.

If Ole Miss is to get revenge on Saturday, they will need to keep up the great play by their front court. Anthony Perez has been key for Ole Miss lately and if he can continue to stretch the floor, it will open up the floor for Moody and Summers. The Rebel guards will need to bounce back from tough performances against the Bulldogs if they are to win at the Pete Marvich Assembly Center.

This is a big game for both teams as not only does the winner have the inside track to a better seed in the SEC Tournament in Nashville, but will also bolster their NCAA Tournament resume. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and the game can be seen on the Fox Sports Network.

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