Aaron Epps notched his second double-double against Ole Miss
Brandon Slaughter

Men's Basketball Falls to Ole Miss, 96-76

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

OXFORD, Miss. – The Ole Miss Rebels for the second straight contest rallied from a double digit second half deficit to score a 96-76 win over the LSU Tigers Tuesday night at The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

The game put a damper on the second straight contest in which LSU played a strong first half and after leading by three after 20 minutes, expanded the lead to 11 with 16:25 to play. The Tigers were outscored 52-21 from that point on for the final margin of the game.

Antonio Blakeney helped LSU to the lead with 29 points, including 22 in the first half of play. Blakeney, with 60 points in LSU’s last two road games, hit 10-of-17 shots and 5-of-7 treys to go with 4-of-4 at the free throw line. Skylar Mays added 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting that included three treys, with Brandon Sampson adding 11 points as did Aaron Epps off the bench. Epps posted a double double with a game high 11 rebounds.

Ole Miss was led by the 33 points of Terrence Davis, who had 22 second half points on the night. Davis was 13-of-21 from the field with three treys and four assists. Sebastian Saiz and Deandre Burnett each had 15 points for the Rebels with Cullen Neal adding 10 points.

LSU, after making 18-of-33 field goals in the first half (54.5%) and 5-of-13 from the arc, managed to make just 7-of-25 in the second half (28.0%), including 3-of-7 from three-point line (42.9%). LSU did have a good night at the free throw line, making 18-of-21.

Ole Miss shot over 50 percent in both halves and finished at 54.1% (33-of-61). Ole Miss made 12-of- 27 three-pointers (44%) and 18-of-20 at the free throw line.

LSU committed 19 turnovers in the game to 11 for the Rebels with 12 of those coming in the final 20 minutes. Ole Miss had a 36-26 advantage in points in the paint and 26-22 on points off turnovers, but the Tigers had an 11-2 advantage on second chance points.

With the teams combining for 34 first half field goals and 11 treys, the offensive action was plentiful as the Tigers ended up with a 47-44 halftime advantage. LSU began to establish an advantage, getting up five, 20-15, with 13:21 to go in the half on a Blakeney jumper. The teams battled through four ties and 11 lead changes before the Tigers took the lead for good in the half on two free throws by Mays that put LSU up, 38-37 with 3:22 to go.

The Tigers would build as much as a seven-point advantage in the final 2:14, 45-38, on a layup and free throw by Epps and the Tigers would lead by three, 47-44.

The momentum continued the Tigers way early in the second half after over two minutes of back-and-forth action in which neither team could score. Epps hit a jumper at the 17:45 mark to make it 49-44 for LSU and after Ole Miss missed a three-pointer, Blakeney was fouled and made two free throws to stretch the game to 51-44.

After an Ole Miss turnover which Mays forced, the freshman missed a shot in close but Epps was there for the rebound dunk to push LSU’s lead to nine. Ole Miss called timeout, but out of the break, the Rebels missed another shot and Sampson was fouled leading to two more free throw makes that made it 55-44 and LSU’s biggest lead with 16:25 to play.

It was at that point that things began to turn for Davis and the Rebels, taking the lead down to five, before a Blakeney three would eventually put the Tigers back up by 10 with 12:47 to play, 61-51. But LSU’s final double digit advantage would come on a three-point play by Sampson that gave LSU a 10-point nod, 64-54, with 11:27 to play.

The Tigers would get only 12 more points the rest of the way, while the Rebels would score 42.

Ole Miss would take the lead, 70-69, with 6:43 to play on a layup by Marcanvis Hymon with LSU tying the game for the last time on a Mays trey at the 6:10 mark, 72-72.

The Rebels would take complete control of the game with LSU’s last points coming on a free throw by Duop Reath with 4:32 to play as Ole Miss posted the final 17 points of the contest.

The Tigers fall to 9-16 overall and 1-12 in the SEC, while the Rebels improve to 16-10 and 7-6 in the SEC.

LSU travels to Alabama for a 2:30 p.m. game in Coleman Coliseum on Saturday afternoon. The game will be broadcast on the affiliates of the LSU Sports Radio Network (Eagle 98.1 FM in Baton Rouge and LSUsports.net./live) and broadcast on the SEC Network.
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POST-GAME QUOTES
LSU Head Coach Johnny Jones

On the game…
“We got off to a good start in the game. We battled extremely hard on the defensive end. Offensively, we had a nice flow going to be able to get in there at halftime with an advantage. In the second half, we came back out and didn’t get in a rhythm scoring. We were good enough on the defensive end to maintain a lead by getting stops. Then, we were able to get in a better flow as the game played out in the second half and hit some baskets to get up 11. We held them scoreless through the first three minutes in the second half. Unfortunately as the game played out, the rhythm wasn’t there for us. We got a little hesitant and allowed them the freedom to play and knock down some big shots late in the game. Unfortunately, we built ourselves a deficit that we couldn’t recover from.”

On Terence Davis…
“He did a good job on coming down off of the pin-down screens and catching it. His defender was there, and he hit some big shots. He created some opportunities and made plays. We were looking for him to punch the ball back inside and play off the post as well. He got in a catch-and-shoot mode. We had to make some adjustments late. He had a huge night for them, especially in the second half. (Sebastian) Saiz played well for them down stretch, especially in the second half as well. I thought we did a much better job on him in the second half.”
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Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy

On the game…
“(Terence Davis) is getting better and better, isn’t he? He did it in 27 minutes because of fouls, again. He admitted that he plays with his hands too much. He’s has to stop because we need him on the floor. What a crazy game we played. LSU leads for 25 minutes of the game and gets beat by 20. It’s crazy. They got a little fatigued. The 1-3-1 finally effective for us at the end. We were so much more effective offensively in the second half; 21 assists on 33 made field goals shows we were sharing the ball. At the end, I just wanted us to get downhill and put pressure on the basket.”

On slowing down Antonio Blakeney in the second half…
“Believe it or not, the game plan was to try to do that the whole game. LSU has had its struggles. I know that they’re talented. The one thing that you can’t do is that you can’t give them much life or hope. We knew it was going to be through him. We let him get touches and drive us. He started making shots. The rest of their team started playing with that same confidence. Skylar Mays, another freshman, was terrific. Those two kids were really having their way with us. We tried to stay attached to him as much as possible. We moved the 1-3-1 back, which allowed those wings to stay attached to him so he couldn’t catch it off the initial pass.”

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