By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy understands the significance of this Thursday’s game against Vanderbilt, but does not place the value on one game that his freshman point guard does.
“It’s the most important game of the year. If we win it, we’ll be alive,” said Summers, who finished with 11 points, four assists and three steals and only two turnovers in 32 minutes.
Summers made one of the game’s biggest plays down the stretch. The Tigers had possession in a tie game after a timeout with 2:19 to play. Summers tipped a pass from Kenny Gabriel, retrieved the ball and took it the distance for the bucket.
He said he had an edge from video study.
“I went for the steal, and I timed it real good. I knew the whole play,” he said.
Vanderbilt had an RPI of 28 going into Saturday’s play. The Rebels had slipped to 56, and beating a top 30 team would be a big lift in the numbers game.
“We’re all relegated to numbers at the end, and in about two days nobody, myself included, will remember this,” Kennedy said. “The numbers have to add up, and we know you have to have quality wins, and you have to take advantage of your opportunities. We’ve done that some, not as much as we’ve needed. Thursday presents another opportunity.”
Junior guard Nick Williams, who recorded just one double-figure SEC scoring game last season, had a string of seven snapped when he did not score against Mississippi State.
“He was disgusted with himself, a guy averaging 14 in the SEC to go on the road in a big game … He knows he can’t do that. His role has changed with this team,” Kennedy said.
Williams responded Saturday with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting. He was 3-for-6 from 3-point range and played 32 minutes.
Holloway still sore
Murphy Holloway missed three games around the turn of the new year with an ankle sprain. He returned with a vengeance with 19 points and 14 rebounds against Arkansas, but offensive production since that time has been sporadic.
“The ankle still affects me when I jump. I don’t get up as high as I used to. Y’all can probably see that,” he said.
Holloway sat out his transfer season at South Carolina with a broken ankle, not the same ankle that he injured earlier this season against Middle Tennessee State.
Holloway’s burst didn’t surprise his younger teammates.
“I knew that was in him. He’s just a soldier. I knew he had it up in him,” Summers said.