"We got our Batman back. Everybody wants to be Batman, but Stefan Moody is Batman for us," said Kennedy, after Moody scored 24 points, 22 in the second half, as the Rebels snapped a four-game losing streak with an 80-63 win over Auburn.
Moody returned to the lineup after missing one full game and part of another with a hamstring injury. Despite limited mobility and an occasional grimace of pain, Moody ignited the decisive second half rally for the Rebels (13-7, 3-5 Southeastern Conference).
"I am so proud of his effort and he is so important to us in a big, big way," Kennedy said. "He was tight early but once he hits a couple of shots, he feels better about life and we're a much different team when he is out there."
Moody connected on three consecutive 3-point shots within a two-minute stretch to highlight a 19-4 second half run. The surge built an insurmountable 57-41 cushion with 12:22 left. The Rebels led by as many as 20 points and were never threatened again.
Marcanvis Hymon added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Rebels, rallying from a 30-29 halftime deficit. The Rebels were 28 of 62 (45 percent) from the field, including 19 of 34 (56 percent) in the second half.
"Hymon was outstanding. We had the statistical edge in the categories that are really important to us - rebounding and forcing turnovers," Kennedy said. "A lot of good things from a lot of guys tonight."
TJ Lang scored a career-high 19 points for Auburn (9-10, 3-5). Tyler Harris added 16 for the Tigers, who finished 20 of 54 (37 percent) from the field. Auburn led 30-29 at halftime.
"It was great to see TJ Lang play with confidence and that's a positive,"
Auburn coach Bruce Pearl said. "But it was obviously a tale of two halves. Andy made great adjustments, Moody played at his tempo, rebounding was a huge factor and in the second half, they destroyed us."
Ole Miss out rebounded the Tigers 40-33, highlighted by a 28-10 edge by the reserves. and forced 13 turnovers. The Rebels turned the ball over twice in the second half, as Moody handed out five assists.
Ole Miss was 12-3 before injuries sidelined starters Moody, Sebastian Saiz and Martavious Newby. The Rebels were 0-4 without the trio on a full time basis. Saiz, who averages 12.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, remains inactive while recovering from eye surgery. Moody and Newby returned to play 31 minutes, apiece.
"Saiz won't be available this weekend and will be evaluated by his surgeon next week," Kennedy said. "We won't know anything until then. We want him fully recovered."
Auburn has had six different players, including three guards, miss 48 games this season. The Tigers have used eight different starting lineups in 19 games.
"We've been playing seven guys because of these injuries," Pearl said. "Injuries have really affected what we do and I'm concerned that we're not getting better."
Ole Miss: The Rebels have won 10 of the last 12 against Auburn. ... Moody extended his string of 20-plus points to 14 games. ... Hymon added two blocked shots.
Auburn: The Tigers are 0-4 on the road in the SEC. ...Kareem Canty, ranked fourth in scoring in the SEC at 18.9 points per game, struggled to score 8 points on 3 of 14 shooting. Canty compensated with a solid floor game with eight rebounds and nine assists. ..Lang was 5 of 7 (71 percent) from 3-point range.
UP NEXT - BIG12/SEC CHALLENGE
Ole Miss visits Kansas State Saturday.
Auburn hosts Oklahoma State Saturday.