Chris Warren had been nursing a deep thigh bruise for a week. Murphy Holloway took a hard fall in the first half and injured a wrist. Terrico White picked up two fouls in the first six minutes of the contest.
But the Rebels (15-4 overall, 3-2 in the SEC) still led 38-32 at intermission, thanks to back to back 3-pointers from Trevor Gaskins and Terrance Henry following LSU turnovers.
"We stayed in the game in the first half with a lot of guys off our bench," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We saw the quality of the depth in our bench today. Trevor (Gaskins) was tremendous. We put Terrance (Henry) in the starting lineup to try to get the Murphy Holloway factor of playing well against the homestate team, and that worked, especially offensively. The big 3s at the end of the half gave us momentum, but I knew it would be a grind in the second half."
It was. The Rebels and Tigers were tied 56-56, but a Warren 3-pointer with 7:46 to go broke that tie, and Ole Miss didn't trail again.
Warren said he was not himself in the first half but tried to pick things up in the second half.
"It's a little painful and limits my movement," the junior point guard said of his thigh bruise since the Tennessee game a week ago. "But if I keep it loose I'm OK. Some of my teammates said I looked stiff or whatever and I was like ‘Really?' So I tried to get loose to be ready to go in the second half."
Warren had 14 points in the second period after going scoreless in the opening half. He tied for team-high scoring honors with Henry and Eniel Polynice.
Holloway had played well against South Carolina, his homestate team, on Wednesday night in a 66-57 UM win with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Henry said he wanted to follow suit.
"It felt good," Henry said of his 28 minutes against the Tigers. "I tried to come out a little aggressive. I just played well today."
And down the stretch at game's end the Rebels did, too. As was the case at the end of the first half, Ole Miss pulled away from LSU to close it out.
Counting Warren's 3-pointer, the Rebels outscored the Tigers 17-7 in the last 7:46 of the game. The home team turned it over three critical times after they'd cut it to 64-60 with 3:04 to go.
A Polynice jumper made it 66-60 followed by an LSU turnover that led to a layup by Warren that made it 68-60. The Rebels had some breathing room and took home an important road win to Oxford, their second so far in the early-going of SEC play.
"It's important to get road wins early so our team could buy in and get even more road wins this season," said Polynice - the Rebs are on the road next with a game at Auburn Thursday night. "Everybody is staying together and helping out. We'll be fine."
LSU head coach Trent Johnson said his team, now 9-10 and 0-5, isn't doing fine at the moment.
"Obviously Ole Miss is a very good basketball team," he said. "And our deficiencies reared their ugly head. This is frustration. We have to find a way to win a game."
The Rebels limited Tasmin Mitchell, the Tigers' leading scorer, to 16 points.
"He starts at the 3, and so we started Terrico on him and that backfired," Kennedy said. "He picked up two quick fouls and he wasn't able to play. Terrico never got into the flow of the game. Second half we zoned them a lot and we tried to really shade (Mitchell) and attack the ball. I thought we were much more aggressive in the second half defensively."
"They zoned it up and packed it in on me," Mitchell said of the Rebel defense. "That's going to happen so it's up to other people to step up and make plays."
The Tigers also got 22 points from Bo Spencer and 11 from Storm Warren.
Ole Miss won the battle of the boards for the second straight game, outrebounding LSU 32-30.
Gutting Out A Win
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