Moody leads Mississippi over Bradley

Published 10:20 pm Saturday, November 28, 2015

PEORIA, Ill. – According to Mississippi Coach Andy Kennedy, Rebels point guard Stefan Moody still has a lot to learn.

The leading returning scorer from last season in the Southeastern Conference is currently tied atop the conference in points per game, but still has to figure out how to play point guard after playing last year as a shooting guard.

“This is his fourth game of college basketball at the (point), so he is a work in progress,” Kennedy said.

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The work looked to be progressing well on Saturday as Moody scored 21 and keyed a late first-half run that got the Rebels going, leading Ole Miss to a 67-54 win over Bradley on Saturday.

Moody struggled early, and was held scoreless until under nine minutes to play in the first half – and Bradley led most of the half, at one point opening up an eight-point lead.

But the Braves went the last 5:02 of the first half without scoring and Moody’s steal under the Bradley basket and lay-in with just under a minute to play in the half gave the Rebels their first lead at 31-29. Moody then hit a jumper with four seconds remaining in the first half to give Ole Miss a 33-29 halftime lead.

Bradley never regained the lead and Ole Miss built its advantage to as many as 20 points in the second half.

Sebastian Saiz added 18 points and nine rebounds for Mississippi (5-2).

It was the sixth straight loss for Bradley (1-6), which had trouble keeping possession in the second half.

“We killed ourselves with turnovers,” said first-year Bradley Coach Brian Wardle. “You take care of the ball a little bit better … then it’s a new ballgame.”

The 5-foot-10 Moody wasn’t just a problem with his 7-for-21 shooting from the floor with two 3-pointers, and a team-high five assists.

“He was very disruptive defensively for us too,” said Wardle. “He was bothering our guards and shooting (into the) passing lanes.”

Wardle said his team did what he expected defensively against Moody – but wasn’t ready for the Rebels’ other major weapon on Saturday, Saiz, a junior from Madrid, Spain.

“Moody’s really good, he got his points, but I thought we did a good job making him earn them,” Wardle said. “But Saiz really hurt us on the post, on the glass, his length and his size.”

Tomasz Gielo added seven rebounds and five points for the Rebels.

Donte Thomas had a career high 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting and was 6-7 at the free throw line to lead Bradley.

Thomas said Bradley seemed to play too soft after taking the early lead.

“We can’t come out lollygagging and thinking the game is over with, we’ve got a whole other 20 minutes to play,” Thomas said.

“We’re gaining experience,” said Wardle of his young team, which included three freshmen starters. “I know we’re learning a lot, but now we need to start applying what we’re learning more, and learn from our mistakes.”

By DAVE ROYSE, Associated Press