Buck Wild

Tad Smith Coliseum was all but filled to capacity. Fans from opposing schools exchanged words from tipoff to the final horn. Students were unrelenting in taunting the Mississippi State bench for 40 minutes.

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There was no love lost in a typical game between bitter in-state rivals Ole Miss and No. 18 Mississippi State Wednesday night.

Ole Miss entered the game reeling, fresh off a tough loss at Auburn and losers of five straight to Mississippi State. But thanks to a monster effort from Reginald Buckner, who totaled 19 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks, Ole Miss reversed its fortunes -- if only for a night -- with a 75-68 win.

Buckner's 19 points tied a career high. The loss was the first for any active Mississippi State player at Ole Miss. Mississippi State, prior to the loss, had won three-straight games at Ole Miss.

"I thought he was tremendous," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said of Buckner. "He gave us a presence at the basket, he rebounded for us. Reg was kind of solo out there. He really had to keep us afloat early. By far, Reg's best overall game of the season, when we needed it the most."

The Rebels improved to 12-6 overall and 2-2 in Southeastern Conference games. It was the first win for Ole Miss over Mississippi State (15-4, 2-1 SEC) since the 2008-09 season. Ole Miss improved to a perfect 8-0 at home this season.

"It was a statement game," Buckner said. "We're back in it; we're back in the race at 2-2. The good start was the key. We beat a really good team tonight."

Reginald Buckner
Bruce Newman

"He came out with his focus tonight," forward Demarco Cox said of Buckner. "He came out, shoot-around, he wasn't playing like he normally does. He came out with his head right, ready to play. He had his head right. He was ready to get a win. When he's pumped up, we know we've got something good going for us."

Ole Miss shot 50 percent (27-54) from the floor for the game, while Mississippi State shot just 38 percent (23-61). The Rebels made 17 of their 30 free throws, good for 56.7 percent, but made six straight to ice the game, including four from Nick Williams, who finished with 17 points. Ole Miss was 4 of 13 from 3.

Jarvis Summers and Terrance Henry had 12 points apiece. Summers had five assists to only one turnover. Renardo Sidney led MSU with 17 points. He had nine rebounds. Arnett Moultrie, a Wooden Award finalist, recorded his ninth double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Dee Bost had 15 points.

"Give Ole Miss credit; I thought they played extremely well," Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said. "We kind of fought from behind all night long. Had a lot of opportunities in that second half. When you're on the road, fighting for your life, it's very difficult."

Ole Miss jumped out to a 12-3 lead with just under 14 minutes to go in the first half following two of Williams' 10 first-half points. However, Mississippi State made a run, grabbing its first lead with an 18-7 spurt. Ole Miss answered back with an 8-0 run, and stayed in front for a 38-33 lead at the half.

Ole Miss led by six, 55-49, with 7:07 to play. Mississippi State continued to plug away, pulling to within three following a 3-point make by Bost. An alley-oop, Summers to Holloway, pushed the Rebels out in front by a score of 63-56, and brought the crowd to its feet with it. Mississippi State got no closer than three points.

"Once they hit some shots and got some tip-slams, the crowd was into, so I knew they were ready to play," freshman Mississippi State guard Rodney Hood, who had 13 points, said. "And they just kept a rhythm throughout the game."

Ole Miss returns to action Saturday at Georgia. The game is set for a 3 p.m. tipoff.

"(The win) shows us what we're capable of doing," Kennedy said. "Now we've got to carry that momentum and break through on the road. We go on the road; that won't be easy. At least we can go in there with a little bit momentum earned tonight."

Cox aids the cause:

With Murphy Holloway in early foul trouble, Kennedy called on Cox to produce. He responded with seven points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes off the bench.

"That game helped get my confidence up," Cox said. "I'm ready to play the rest of this year and on to next year. What I did, got in and played hard. Did what coach wanted me to do. He told me to just keep my head up, so that's what I did."

Prior to the game, Cox averaged a mere 3.3 minutes per game. In his last three games, he made little to no impact, and didn't appear at all against Arkansas, the team's first conference win of the season.

"Demarco came in and played great," Williams said. "We've been asking that out of him since he's been here. He's young. It took him a while. I hope this is a sign of things to come."

Henry guards Bost:

Terrance Henry
Bruce Newman

Senior guard Terrance Henry drew the assignment of guarding Bost Wednesday. Kennedy said the matchup made sense, considering Henry's length at 6-foot-9 against the 6-foot-2 Bost.

"We tried some different things," Kennedy said. "We put Terrance on Bost for a number of reasons. We thought maybe the length would bother him. I think it did a little bit. We ask Jarvis to do an awful lot. I didn't want to also ask him to chase around the best point guard in the SEC.

"I thought Terrance did a tremendous job."

Along with his 12 points, Henry finished with three rebounds, three assists, one block and one steal. Bost, meanwhile, was a mere 4 of 15 from the field and 4 of 10 from 3.

"We wanted Terrance to guard him. We were going to mix and match," Kennedy said. "I thought, honestly, it was going to be more troubling off the bounce to keep Dee in front of him. But guys did a pretty good job of it, and I thought Terrance did a tremendous job."

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