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BLOG: Moody’s career night leads Rebels past Mississippi St.

Stefan Moody scored a career-high 43 points in his final home game, helping Ole Miss down Mississippi State 86-78 Wednesday at the Pavilion.

Moody, who didn’t play in the teams’ first meeting — an 83-77 win for Mississippi State in Starkville on Jan. 23 — while nursing a strained hamstring, scored the most points for an Ole Miss player since Gerald Glass had 53 against LSU in 1989. The senior guard finished 11 of 24 from the floor and 6 of 12 from 3-point range to help the Rebels (19-11, 9-8 Southeastern Conference) cool off a Mississippi State team that won three of its previous four games coming in.

Sebastian Saiz and Anthony Perez each added 10 points, but the game was a scoring duel between Moody and Mississippi State forward Gavin Ware, who was a force inside to lead the Bulldogs (13-16, 6-11) with 28 points on 11 of 14 shooting. But Ole Miss limited the Bulldogs to 30.8 percent (8 of 26) from 3-point range after MSU shot 50 percent from deep in the teams’ first meeting.

Ole Miss led by as many 15, but Mississippi State got within 55-49 on a 3 from Travis Daniels with 14:43 remaining. But the Bulldogs didn’t get any closer after the Rebels answered with a 7-0 run capped by a 3 from Moody to push the lead back to double figures.

Moody started holding onto the ball after committing five turnovers in the first 10 minutes and continued to make shots. He scored 14 of the Rebels’ first 19 points, had 24 with 5:32 still left in the first half and started a 14-3 run with three free throws with 7:26 left in the first half to put Ole Miss up 42-27, scoring eight points during the spurt.

Mississippi State held Moody scoreless the final five minutes of the half and cut the deficit to 44-32 at the break, but Ole Miss kept its distance with Moody’s contributions and its mix of defenses. The Rebels forced 18 turnovers and finished plus-4 on the glass.