Davis scores career-high 33 as Ole Miss rallies past LSU

LSU coach Johnny Jones watches his team play Mississippi during an NCAA college basketball game in Oxford, Miss., Tuesday, Feb. 14, 2017. (Bruce Newman/Oxford Eagle via AP)

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy shook his head, smiled and admitted to what everyone in the postgame press conference was thinking.

”What a crazy game we played,” said Kennedy, after his Rebels (16-10, 7-6 Southeastern Conference) rallied from a nine-point second half deficit Tuesday to defeat LSU 96-76. ”I’ve told them over and over that the season is a grind and that the grind is real.”

Terence Davis scored a career-high 33 points, with six rebounds and four assists as the Rebels outscored LSU 39-10 in the final 11 minutes to erase a 66-57 deficit. Ole Miss had rallied from a 23-point deficit in the final 18 minutes to defeat Auburn on Saturday.

”I could sense we were a dead emotionally and physically for a while,” Kennedy said. ”It’s hard to turn around after climbing out of the hole with Auburn. But our players are beginning to understand to keep your head down and keep grinding. Usually, you’ll be where you’re supposed to be at the end.”

DeAndre Burnett and Sebastian Saiz scored 15 points apiece while Cullen Neal added 10 points. Ole Miss shot 33 of 61 (54 percent), including 12 of 27 (44 percent) on 3-point shots, including three apiece from Rasheed Brooks, Burnett and Davis.

LSU (9-16, 1-12) was led by Antonio Blakeney with 29 points, 22 in the first half. Skylar Mays added 19 points, Brandon Sampson had 11 points and Aaron Epps had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

The Tigers led 47-44 at halftime and as much as 11 points, 55-44, in the second half before fading in the final 11 minutes. LSU finished 25 of 68 (43 percent) from the field, 8 of 20 (40 percent) from 3-point range, but were hampered by 19 turnovers.

”Our guys are battling, but we’ve got to figure out a way to finish,” LSU coach Johnny Jones said. ”Unfortunately, as the game played out, our rhythm was not as good, they hit big shots and giving up 52 points in a half is too much.”

BIG PICTURE

LSU: The Tigers have lost 12 straight games, but narrowed the deficit margin to eight points in losses to Kentucky and Arkansas and led for 25 minutes against the Rebels. Blakeney, a sophomore, was 9 of 12 from the field, 4 of 5 from 3-point range in a 22-point first half. In the past three games, Blakeney has scored 29, 21, 31 points.

Ole Miss: The Rebels have won four of the last five and is one of six SEC teams over .500 in conference play. Picked ninth in the preseason media poll, Kennedy-coached teams have consistently exceeded preseason expectations. The Rebels are 126 of 148 (85 percent) from the free throw line in the last six games. In five of the seven SEC wins, Ole Miss has rallied from second half deficits.

OFFENSIVE EFFICIENCY

Ole Miss converted 17 baskets on 13 assists with only three turnovers in the second half, outscoring the Tigers 52-29. Burnett and Neal had five assists apiece against the Tigers.

In the past six starts, Ole Miss has 64 turnovers, with three games of eight or fewer turnovers. Earlier in the season, Ole Miss averaging almost 20 turnovers per game.

UP NEXT

LSU visits Alabama Saturday.

Ole Miss opens a two-game road trip at Arkansas Saturday.