Moody, White lead Ole Miss past Southern, 69-38
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) Mississippi head coach Andy Kennedy admitted to having mixed emotions while watching his Rebels defeat Southern 69-38 Thursday night.
''It's clear offensively, that we're not executing at the level we need to execute, especially with conference play coming up,'' Kennedy said. ''But, I am pleased that through three games, that we are guarding somebody.''
The Rebels (2-1) limited Southern to 14 of 50 (28 percent) from the field and forced 22 turnovers to dominate after the opening four minutes.
Stefan Moody and LaDarius White led a balanced attack with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
''Our shots aren't falling right now, but that's going to happen,'' White said. ''But you can play defense every night. We know that you win championships by playing defense and we're getting that right now.''
Ole Miss was never seriously threatened, racing to a 37-15 halftime lead with offensive surges of 17-4 and 11-0. The Rebels, with 11 different players scoring at least one basket, led by as many as 32 points in the second half.
Adrian Rodgers scored 11 and Keith Davis added 10 points for Southern (1-2), which finished 1 of 11 from 3-point range. Christopher Hyder had eight rebounds for the Jaguars.
The Rebels were 24 of 60 (40 percent) from the field, but converted 16 of 21 free throws and won the rebounding battle 45-38. Sebastian Saiz, Martavious Newby and Dwight Coleby had six rebounds apiece.
Jarvis Summers played only 22 minutes, but had five assists and five steals.
Rodgers gave Southern an 8-7 lead about 4 minutes in, as the Jaguars hit 3 of 5 shots to open the game. However, Southern cooled off considerably and finished 5 of 19 from the field in the first half as Ole Miss gradually pulled away.
The Rebels led by as many as 32 points on two occasions in the second half, the final time on an Anthony Perez dunk with 1:59 left.
''We're still mixing and matching, trying to find the right combinations and that's affecting the flow of our offense,'' Kennedy said. ''That's frustrating for me and I know it frustrates the players, but it hasn't affected them on the defensive end and I'm encouraged about that.''
Ole Miss: The Rebels finished with 14 steals, including 10 in the opening 15 minutes. Forward Aaron Jones, who had 27 starts last season, played 13 minutes in his season debut after serving a two-game suspension. He finished with four points, a blocked shot and a rebound. Ole Miss leads the all-time series with Southern, 2-0.
Southern: The Jaguars, Southwestern Athletic Conference regular season champions last season, lost five of its top seven scorers. Southern played seven reserves who combined to go 2 of 14 from the field, including 0 of 5 from the 3-point line
Ole Miss hosts Northern Arizona on Sunday.
Southern visits Middle Tennessee Saturday.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
''Defense is as much about trust as it is ability and we've got a team that trusts each other on the defensive end of the court.'' - Ole Miss guard LaDarius White, whose club limited Southern to 14 of 50 (28 percent) from the field.