Hot-shooting Mississippi downs No. 19 Arkansas 96-82
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) Andy Kennedy has enjoyed coaching in Bud Walton Arena more than most.
The Mississippi coach continued his mastery at Arkansas on Saturday night, with Stefan Moody scoring 18 points to lead five players in double figures as the Rebels downed No. 19 Arkansas 96-82.
Ole Miss (11-6, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) has now won seven of its last eight games against the Razorbacks, and Kennedy is now 5-3 in his career in Fayetteville.
Saturday’s win came in the Rebels’ first game on the road since a crushing overtime loss at Kentucky. Much like in Rupp Arena, Ole Miss looked perfectly comfortable in the hostile environment – shooting a season-high 56.4 percent while ending Arkansas’ 16-game home winning streak.
”I do think our guys get excited to play here,” Kennedy said. ”Because of the fandom, and because of the energy that is in the building. I think it does give you an extra push.”
Kennedy is now 11-4 overall in his career against the Razorbacks (13-4, 2-2), who have lost two straight.
Bobby Portis had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead Arkansas, while Michael Qualls and Ky Madden had 22 each, but the Razorbacks were unable to overcome a 15-point first-half deficit while losing at home for the first time since dropping a game against Missouri last season.
Arkansas coach Mike Anderson is now 61-7 in Bud Walton Arena.
”Ole Miss did a good job of attacking us, and they took control of the game early in the first half,” Anderson said. ”In conference play, you’ve got to bring it and Ole Miss did something I didn’t think they would, especially here. But they came in and they stole one.”
Ole Miss had several chances to put away the No. 1 Wildcats two weeks ago, but they were rarely challenged on Saturday.
As it did for most of the game at Kentucky, Ole Miss played like a team very comfortable on the first in the first half – shooting a season-best 74.1 percent (20 of 27) from the field while taking a 52-40 halftime lead.
The Rebels hit eight of their first nine shots, and they hit 5 of 6 3-pointers in the half – finishing 8 of 15 overall from behind the arc.
Moody put Ole Miss up 27-12 after a first-half 3-pointer, and the Rebels’ lead was never less than eight points in the second half. All nine players scored for Ole Miss, with Jarvis Summers finishing with 17 points in front of a season-high 18,352 in Bud Walton Arena.
”To me, it’s a pleasure to coach in this environment,” Kennedy said. ”We knew they were going to make a run at us; our guys were able to sustain it.”
Sebastian Saiz had 12 points and LaDarius White 10, while Dwight Coleby finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Rebels.
Arkansas had won seven straight before a loss at Tennessee earlier this week, but it’s now lost two straight for the second time this season after falling to the hot-shooting Ole Miss.
”It’s hard to win a basketball game when they only miss seven shots in the first half,” Qualls said. ”That’s ridiculous. Like I said, it was one of those nights.”
Ole Miss: The Rebels entered the game 11th in the SEC in field goal percentage, hitting 42.1 percent of their shots this season. Their 56.4 percent shooting effort against the Razorbacks topped their previous season best of 54.8 percent (34 of 62) in a win over Austin Peay on Jan. 3.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks were outscored 33-15 in bench points, with Anthlon Bell scoring 10 of those. They also uncharacteristically finished with zero fast-break points.
The game was officiated by only two referees, Glenn Tuitt and Marc Ellard, after Anthony Jordan pulled a calf muscle during the pregame.
Ole Miss: returns to the road at Georgia on Tuesday.
Arkansas: hosts Alabama on Thursday.