Kansas State holds off Mississippi 69-64
Jan. 30, 2016
MANHATTAN, Kansas (AP) — 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.
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 sunk 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 averaging 24.3 points, 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 sidelines briefly before being taken to the locker room on 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.