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Olstad: Ole Miss Defeats Vanderbilt 85-78

Ole Miss defeats Vandy inside the Pavilion. Photo by Jack Olstad
Ole Miss defeats Vandy inside the Pavilion. Photo by Jack Olstad

A roaring home crowd, including a student section with matching red t-shirts that read “I’m with the band”, propelled the Rebels to a high-scoring SEC victory Saturday night.

Ole Miss defeated the Commodores of Vanderbilt 85-78 to improve to 500 against SEC opponents and a 15-8 record overall. Vanderbilt falls to 13-10 and matches the Rebel’s SEC conference record of 5-5.

The Rebels came into the game with a large task at hand. With the absence of forward Sebastian Saiz, the Rebels front line was very thin compared to the big men of Vanderbilt, who had three players over seven feet tall, with another at 6’10′.

Despite the diversity, Ole Miss stretched out the Vanderbilt defense and out-rebounded them 44-41, implementing a 1-3-1 defensive zone to compensate for a lacking front court. Defensive traps and presses produced 19 turnovers and disrupted Vanderbilt’s efficient offense.

Vanderbilt forced Ole Miss to defend all areas of the floor in the 1st half, evenly disturbing the ball down low for 16 points in the paint and another five baskets from behind the arc.

Vanderbilt jumped out to an eleven-point lead with 2:51 in the 1st half, but two consecutive Ole Miss threes by Tomasz Gielo and Rasheed Brooks gave the Rebels a lift, entering the locker room at halftime down 39-37.

Stefan Moody led the Rebels in scoring once again with 23 points and made every one of his shots count, going 5-25 from the floor. Other Rebels also had a meager shooting night, and the team overall went 35.8 percent from the field.

Thankfully, Saturday night’s game wasn’t won with shot attempts, but with hustle. A great way to measure it that game was on the offensive glass, an area where Ole Miss racked in 19 rebounds that lead to 25-second chance points.

After eight minutes of the second half pasted, Ole Miss stayed in front, jumping out to their own eleven-point lead with 6:40 left in the ball game.

The Rebels closed out the game with their accuracy from the free-throw line, finishing the second half 17-21 on foul shots.

A Look Ahead:

The Rebels will travel to Gainesville, Florida, Tuesday to play the Florida Gators at 8 p.m. CT. The two teams will face off with identical 15-8 records. The Gators are fifth in the SEC with a record of 6-4, one game above the Rebel’s SEC record. Florida is 11-1 at home and hasn’t lost to an SEC their yet this season.

An SEC win gives Ole Miss “Momentum and confidence” according to head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels showed their grit Saturday night, winning with players missing and Stefan Moody who says his hamstring is “70 percent” back to where it should be. The Rebels will find out Monday if Saiz can rejoin the team against the Gators. Ole Miss has now jumped from eighth to seventh in the SEC and looks to keep climbing as SEC matchups progress.

Jack Olstad is a journalism student at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He can be reached at jtolstad@go.olemiss.edu.

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Adam Brown
Adam Brown
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