No Encore

STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Humphrey Coliseum has historically been a house of horrors for Ole Miss.

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Thursday night was no different.

No. 20 Mississippi State, motivated after taking a loss in the first game between the bitter in-state rivals in Oxford Jan. 18, rolled over Ole Miss, 70-60, in a crucial game for both teams. Mississippi State improved to 91-24 all-time in games played in Starkville.

With the loss, Ole Miss fell to 14-9 on the year and 4-5 in Southeastern Conference games. Ole Miss has lost six of its last eight games against Mississippi State.

"They came out and knocked us to the mat early," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy, who is now 408 against Mississippi State in his Ole Miss coaching career, said. "I thought we showed signs of life again. We were never able to get back in it."

The Hump was packed Thursday, outside of a small contingent of Ole Miss fans in the upper deck. Mississippi State (19-5, 5-3 SEC) gave them plenty to cheer for and Ole Miss fans reason to change the channel, jumping ahead 16-4 in the opening minutes.

Ole Miss got no closer than six points the rest of the way, and fell for the third-straight times in Starkville. The last Ole Miss win here was a 67-63 victory on Jan. 31, 2009.

"Some people want to count this as more than one win but it's one win," Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury said. "It's a special win, always. I was proud of the way our kids came out. I thought we were really focused. Defensively, we had our edge."

Ole Miss was led by Reginald Buckner, who scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Jarvis Summers finished with 12 points and Jelan Kendrick had 11, as the only other Rebels in double-digit scoring.

Arnett Moultrie
Associated Press

However, the bigger story was the impact of Bulldog forward Arnett Moultrie. Moultrie had a double-double in the first game against Ole Miss this season, though he was far less effective than in previous games.

Thursday, however, he took over, owning the paint against a veteran Ole Miss front court. The Rebels had no answer for the UTEP transfer, who brought the home crowd to their collective feet with two thunderous dunks in a 7-0 run to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 40-27 at halftime after the Rebels were within six.

Mississippi State held a double-digit for the remainder, and Moultrie finished with a team-leading 18 points. He also had nine rebounds and six dunks.

"He was really, really aggressive at the rim," Kennedy said. "Our back rotation was just not there. It seemed like he was there by himself a number of times."

For a team that relies on its rebounding and defense, Ole Miss struggled with both Thursday. Mississippi State won the battle of the boards, 38-33, and its most dangerous scorers -- Moultrie, Dee Bost and Renardo Sidney -- were the top-three scorers.

Ole Miss has now been outrebounded in back-to-back games, both losses.

"By now you know who you are. Who we are is a team that has to do a good job on the glass, we have to defend in an efficient manner and then we have to make timely shots," Kennedy said. "Offensively, we had some moments. But in those other two areas we failed miserably."

Bost and Sidney had 15 and 14 points, respectively. Bost added 13 assists, the sixth-most in school history and a career high, and the most for any SEC player this season.

"I thought he was tremendous," Kennedy said of Bost. "I've always said he's the best point guard in this league, and he played like that tonight. He's going to score points. You want to make him have to earn them. The big thing that jumps out at me is 13 assists."

"This was a game, we lost up there, and I kind of heard a lot of everything," Bost said. "I wanted to make sure that we didn't lose this game at all."

Ole Miss returns to action Saturday against Auburn. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. tipoff.

"Hopefully if we meet up again we can break the tie," Kendrick said. "We just didn't play to our capability, what we know we're capable of. That's something we're going to get in the gym and work on. This is a heartfelt loss, losing against a rival team. So now we look to the future."

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