Second-half surges lift Ole Miss over Georgia State 77-72
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Terence Davis scored 24 points and Markel Crawford added 15 points and Mississippi rallied to defeat Georgia State 77-72 on Friday.
The Rebels (3-0) had three scoring surges in the second half 10-0, 12-1, 8-1 and finished by connecting on six consecutive free throws in the final 40 seconds. Crawford, who hit four of the closing free throws, finished 9 of 10 from the line.
“We’ve had three wins that challenged us to open the season,” Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. “There are no cupcakes in there. Georgia State is going to win a lot of games and play postseason somewhere. We got some valuable lessons.”
D’Marcus Simonds led Georgia State (2-1) with a career-high 29 points with five assists and four rebounds. Jeff Thomas had 14 points with nine rebounds and Devin Mitchell scored 11. The Panthers led 44-36 at halftime and by as many as 12 three times in the first half.
“Simonds is one of the best players in the country that you have not heard of. Not yet, but everybody will,” Georgia State coach Ron Hunter said. “Our men played hard but foul trouble hurt us late. We’re proud but we don’t count moral victories.”
Ole Miss shot 23 of 52 (44 percent) from the field, 9 of 27 (33 percent) from 3-point range and 22 of 30 (73 percent) from the free throw line, including 9 of 11 in the second half.
Georgia State outrebounded the Rebels 35-33 and shot 8 of 21 (38 percent) from 3-point range. The Panthers finished 16 of 22 (73 percent) from the free throw line, but had 16 turnovers, including seven by Simonds.
“I thought the difference in the game was they shot about 55 percent in the first half and 35 percent in the second half,” Kennedy said. “We went to more zone to keep them in front of us and slowed them down just enough.”
Georgia State: Simonds, a 6-3 sophomore, was effective on the dribble-drive and had three other possible assists foiled when teammates could not complete shots. Mitchell and Thomas had three baskets apiece from 3-point range. The Panthers looked worthy of being picked second in the preseason poll for the Sunbelt Conference, despite falling to 4-33 all-time against Southeastern Conference teams.
Mississippi: The decisive edge was the three scoring runs, each taking less than four minutes, which accounted for a 30-2 margin. Davis and Tyree combined to hit 8 of 15 from 3-point range as superior backcourt depth wore down Georgia State. The Rebels still need more production inside, despite a solid performance from reserve Bruce Stevens with eight points and six rebounds in 22 minutes.
NCAA TOURNAMENT PREDICTION
“I just told our guys in the locker room that we got beat on the road by an NCAA Tournament team,” Hunter said. “You’ve got to keep them out of transition and we did a good job with that, except for those three runs they made in a flash. Ole Miss is really good..”
Georgia State: The Panthers face Eastern Washington Monday in the middleweight bracket of the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas.
Mississippi: The Rebels face Utah Monday in the heavyweight bracket of the MGM Grand Main Event in Las Vegas.