Strong exhibition start

I didn’t make the basketball exhibition last night.

It went like exhibitions are supposed to go which is good news. The trouble comes when you lose exhibitions.

Ole Miss easily defeated Division II Clayton State 103-87. The Rebels got noteworthy performances from players who have to play well if this team is going to make a run at the NCAA tournament.

Among them:

  • Stefan Moody had 25 points and was 3-for-5 from the arc.
  • Sebastian Saiz had a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
  • Juco transfer guard Sam Finley had 21 points off the bench.
  • Tomasz Gielo had 15 points and was 3-for-5 from the arc.

Ole Miss was 36-for-44 from the free throw line. It’s not surprising the Rebels would get to the line that many times. You would expect a smaller program to have smaller, less athletic players and therefore be less able to guard without fouling. Clayton State was 8-11 in the Peach Belt Conference last year.

The important thing is the Rebels took advantage of free throw opportunities, and guys you expect will get fouled a lot this year shot well. Saiz was 7-for-9, Moody 10-for-11 and Finley 10-for-12. That’s guys who will have the ball in their hands a lot this season combining for 27 of those 36 free throws.

A warning sign from last night: Anthony Perez, after a fantastic summer of overseas competition, was scoreless in 21 minutes going 0-for-6 from the floor, 0-for-3 from 3.

It would really be a lift for this team if Perez, and experienced senior, finds his stroke.

Something else to keep an eye on. Clayton State shot 62.1 percent from the field, 61.5 percent (8-for-13) from 3 in the second half.


Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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