Ole Miss' second meeting with the Missouri Tigers unfurled in more dominant fashion Tuesday as the Rebs blasted Kim Anderson's club in the second half and put the finishing touches on an 85-76 win. Stefan Moody scored a game-high 29 points on 8-of-19 shooting from the field and notched eight rebounds and eight assists in one of his more freakish performances in recent memory.
The night's proceedings commenced in barnburner fashion with Ole Miss slipping out to a quick 20-12 lead, but Mizzou steamrolled back to even things up and then take a 22-20 lead midway through the first period. From there, the Rebs and Tigers engaged in a spitting match until recess to end the first half with a 43-42 Ole Miss advantage. Moody shot well early and often, licking off four lasers from beyond the arc in support of 14 first-half points.
The fistfight continued out of the locker rooms until Moody decided to just take the damn thing over and lead Ole Miss on a 10-0 run halfway through the second window. Young Stef was bouncing all over court, blocking shots, making steals, following hard at the rim, and offering up behind-the-back dimes down low. Ole Miss led by as much as 16 with just a minute left in regulation, but following three-straight Tiger treys and a boneheaded shot from J.T. Escobar, things tightened up somewhat. Missouri in fact shot considerably outside themselves for much of the night, and no amount of Andy Kennedy defensive voodoo can account for strong accuracy from the field.
In the end, though, Ole Miss forced more turnovers and grabbed more offensive rebounds and, well, scored more points than Mizzou. Most significantly, the Rebs had one more Stefan Moody.
1. Stefan Moody would like to drink your milkshake.
We're all gonna miss this guy.
M dy Ball!!!https://t.co/AvclKsFACw— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) February 24, 2016
Stefan Moody! So fresh and so clean!https://t.co/XHHOQfLcP5— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) February 24, 2016
The block!!!! The layup!!!! Here come the Rebels and you can't stop them!!!https://t.co/QtZn8mOiLn— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) February 24, 2016
Look at M dy go! You can't stop him!https://t.co/p6E6ImLxev— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) February 24, 2016
Alert! Alert! Newby and Moody are on the loose and can't be contained! https://t.co/vypdvzMr7c— Ole Miss Basketball (@OleMissMBB) February 24, 2016
And this one was waved off for a foul, but oh my.
2. Sebastian Saiz is pretty much back.
Before his retina injury and surgery, Sebas was averaging 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. His production understandably dwindled in his first few outings upon return, and Andy Kennedy was waiting for his fitness and overall confidence around the rim to reassert themselves. Well, reassert themselves they did on Tuesday, wherein Shades proffered 15 points and 14 rebounds in 32 minutes of participation. His jump and aggression to the rack aren't fully 100 percent, but more of the offense is at least funneling through Saiz, best evidenced by the back-to-back pick-and-pop sets Moody called for him late in the second half.
Good to see you again, Sebastian.
3. Transition defense and offensive rebounding proved the difference makers.
It's no secret that Andy Kennedy's defensive philosophy may best be described as eclectic, and variety has often been the order of the day for these Rebels. And so it was somewhat surprising -- if refreshingly impressive -- to see how often AK dialed up the high trap against the Tigers' midcourt approach. Better still, the proportionate success of those traps contributed to 18 total Mizzou turnovers, many of which the result of piss poor passing around the half stripe.
In addition to their midcourt disruption successes, the Rebs crashed the glass on both ends, ripping down 17 offensive boards, over half Mizzou's defensive total of 31. It's those second and third opportunities -- repeatedly wheedled away -- that contribute to double-digit runs late in games.