19-2 run propels Wildcats to 69-64 win over Ole Miss
MANHATTAN, Kansas -- The way Ole Miss star Stefan Moody has scored this season, all Kansas State coach Bruce Weber could hope for was to keep the guard in check.
His Wildcats did one better on Saturday.
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Moody didn't attempt a shot in the second half as Kansas State's D.J. Johnson scored eight of his 14 points during a 19-2 run in the final period to help the Wildcats hold off Ole Miss 69-64 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
"We said we were going to make him pass," Weber said of Moody. "They knew how we were going to scheme it defensively, but we did a great job on close-outs and making them make tough plays. He's a good player."
Wesley Iwundu finished with 11 points, six rebounds and three assists for the Wildcats (13-8, 2-6). Justin Edwards and Stephen Hurt added 10 points apiece.
A 17-point swing in favor of the Wildcats, spanning six minutes, helped blow the door open and give the home team a 63-45 lead with 7:48 remaining. Johnson led the stretch with eight points, but it was Barry Brown who bookended it. Brown missed the second of two free-throw attempts following a foul with 8:49 left, but grabbed his own rebound and then sank a 3-pointer from the corner.
"When you go on the road in an environment such as this," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said, "with a program that's had so much success in this building -- and you're minus-seven on the glass, turn it over 17 times and allow the other team to shoot over 45 percent while you shoot under 40 percent -- that's a recipe for disaster."
Ole Miss (13-8, 3-5) was 2 of 14 from the field during the Wildcats' spurt, including a near four-minute scoring drought. Moody entered leading the SEC in scoring at 24.3 points per game, including 14 straight games with 20-plus points. But after his 10-point first half, Moody was held scoreless in the final period, with Kansas State wedging him off ball screens.
"He was doing the right thing, I thought, with five assists, trying to find the open guy," Kennedy said. "He's been doing a much better job of that. I just didn't think he had much pop, which is why I sat him at the end."
Kansas State opened the game with a 16-8 lead, on the heels of a 9-0 run, before losing starting point guard Kamau Stokes to a non-contact knee injury. Stokes was examined on the sideline briefly before being taken to the locker room in a wheelchair.
Ole Miss recovered swiftly and took its biggest lead of the first half, 24-19, with 6:30 left. Moody, who was held scoreless for the first seven minutes, hit consecutive 3-pointers and finished the first half with a team-high 10 points. However, it was the Wildcats and backup guard Carlbe Ervin who went into the locker room at halftime with the lead. Ervin scored five points in a three-minute stretch to give the home team a 38-36 advantage at the break.
Ole Miss was led by Anthony Perez with 13 points.
"We needed this game," Iwundu said. "It was very important to us as a team for us to move forward."
Ole Miss: Moody had led the Rebels in scoring in 19 of 20 games before Saturday. Ole Miss is now 0-2 against Kansas State in the Big 12/SEC Challenge.
Kansas State: Undersized forward Austin Budke proved big off the bench, finishing with four points, six rebounds and three assists in 21 minutes. The Wildcats are 66-21 under Weber when holding a team to 69 points or less.
"We don't know what's wrong with Kamau," Weber said. "He's going to have an MRI. Initially, nothing major structurally, but we'll see."
Ole Miss: At Missouri on Wednesday.
Kansas State: At No. 4 Kansas on Wednesday.