OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Mississippi head coach Andy Kennedy is a realist and Saturday’s post game press conference proved it.
”This is a good win for a lot of reasons,” said Kennedy in the aftermath of his club’s 92-63 blowout win over Austin Peay. ”But, I’m looking ahead to the conference season beginning Tuesday and it’s No. 1 Kentucky. I’m excited about that.”
Ole Miss (9-4) provided its best home court performance of the non-conference schedule, led by Jarvis Summers with 18 points. The Rebels placed four players in double figures, had the edge in every statistical category and led by as many as 31 points in the second half.
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”Jarvis is starting to play better again and when that happens, we play better again,” Kennedy said. ”We knocked down shots tonight and that’s something we’re going to have to do to compete in Lexington.”
Ole Miss shot a season-best 55 percent (34-62) from the field, including 11 of 21 from 3-point range. The offensive balance included Stefan Moody with 14 points, Dwight Coleby with 12 and Terrence Smith adding 10.
”We’ve been inefficient at times with turnovers this season,” Kennedy said. ”Today we had 23 assists and four turnovers in the second half and that shows we are sharing the ball. We’ve got to do that.”
Khalil Davis scored 20 points for Austin Peay (5-9). Chris Freeman added 12 points and six rebounds, while Ed Dyson added 10. The Governors struggled offensively, managing 35 percent (19-54) from the field and had 16 turnovers.
Ole Miss was 3-3 at home in non-conference play entering the game and held a precarious 28-26 lead with 2:40 left in the first half against the Governors. The Rebels responded with a 12-0 run to build a 42-29 halftime lead, highlighted by 3-point shots from Summers and Moody.
The Rebels were never threatened in the second half. Ole Miss led by 31 points on three occasions, the final time at 89-58 on a 3-point shot by LaDarius White with 2:06 left.
”We’re going to have to hit jump shots against Kentucky. We’re going to have to be A-Plus on jump shots,” Summers said. ”We did that against a team that played hard. We play a great team Tuesday, but it feels good to be playing well again because I want to help my team.”
Austin Peay: The Governors fell to 0-7 in road games. During a 10-minute stretch that spanned the first and second half, Austin Peay managed only one basket; a first half buzzer-beater layup by Jeremy Purvis.
Ole Miss: The Rebels hit a season high 11 shots from 3-point range, including 4 of 7 by Moody. The Rebels were 13 of 17, 76.5 percent from the free throw line. Ole Miss entered the game leading the nation in free throw percentage at 78.5 percent. The Rebels are 5-0 against Austin Peay in the all-time series.
Ole Miss visits No. 1 Kentucky on Tuesday.
Austin Peay visits Jacksonville State on Thursday.