By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – The Rebels half-way through their third and final “quick turn” of the season.
To accommodate the league’s TV contract, SEC teams agreed to a schedule that would on occasion have them playing a Saturday game after a Thursday night game.
The Rebels have had an SEC-high three “quick turns” this season, this one being the most difficult to maneuver. The Thursday start was later, at 8 p.m., followed by a distant road game with an afternoon start. The Rebels play at No. 1 Kentucky in a 3 p.m. tip.
The Rebels earlier had a 6 p.m., Thursday home game, a loss to Florida, followed by a home win against South Carolina in a 6 p.m., start.
Last week they lost a 6 p.m., start at Mississippi State but won a 6 p.m., home start against Auburn.
Vandy’s big 3 players deliver
The Rebels came into the game knowing they had to slow down the three weapons of choice on a Vanderbilt team loaded with options.
While Jeffery Taylor came out of the gate strong, it took a while longer for shooting guard John Jenkins, the SEC’s leading scorer, and 6-foot-11, 250-pound center Festus Ezeli to get their numbers.
They eventually got there.
Jenkins, who averages an SEC-leading 19.5, had 12 points in the first half and 26 for the game. He was 5 for 5 from the floor, 4 for 4 from the arc and 12 for 15 from the free throw line.
Ezeli finished with 13 points and four blocked shots.
Vanderbilt was 10 for 12 from 3-point range in the first half.
“I never sensed this. We caught them on a great night, and it snowballed. Honesly, I felt sympathy for them, because things were going so well,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said.
Playing time for reserves
The lop-sided game did give a number of Ole Miss reserves the chance for extended playing time.
Freshman guard Maurice Aniefiok had not played more than six minutes in an SEC game since playing 16 at LSU in the league opener.
He played 14 minutes and finished with seven points on 2 for 5 shooting.
Freshmen Aaron Jones and LaDarius White have been worked into the rotation more of late.
Jones played 17 minutes and had five points, six rebounds and four fouls.
White played 11 minutes and finished with five points on 2 for 5 shooting.