By David Brandt/The Associated Press
OXFORD — Jeffery Taylor scored 28 points, John Jenkins added 26 and Vanderbilt easily defeated Ole Miss 102-76 on Thursday night.
The Commodores (18-8, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) put the Rebels away early with a blazing first half that featured 70.8 percent shooting from the field (17 of 24), including 83.3 percent (10 of 12) from 3-point range, on the way to a 53-28 halftime lead.
Taylor scored 23 of his points in the first half, making 8 of 10 shots, including his first seven. He fell two points short of tying a career high.
It was embarrassing game for Ole Miss (15-10, 5-6), which received three technical fouls, including one after the fans threw ice on the floor for a second time.
Jarvis Summers led the Rebels with 14 points. Murphy Holloway added 13.
Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy and senior Terrance Henry both had technical fouls by the end of the night. After the game, teammates Reginald Buckner and Jelan Kendrick had to be separated by the coaching staff after an argument.
It was the most fight the Rebels showed all night.
Taylor scored on a driving lay-up to give the Commodores a 2-0 lead and kept on hitting shots. He made four 3-pointers, three regular buckets and a free throw before finally missing — on a free throw — with 5:33 remaining in the first half.
Ole Miss managed to hang with Vanderbilt’s frantic scoring pace for a while, pulling within 22-21 on a Demarco Cox dunk with 11:42 remaining in the first half. But the Commodores ended the half on a 31-7 run thanks to their stunning shooting display.
Vanderbilt cooled off in the second half, but by then the game was decided. The Commodores finished with a 62.5 percent (30 of 48) shooting percentage from the floor, including 63.2 percent (12 of 19) from behind the 3-point line.
Festus Ezeli added 13 points and four blocked shots.
The game couldn’t end soon enough for the Rebels, who shot 40.3 percent (29 of 72) from the field.
Vanderbilt and Ole Miss came into the game mired in the middle of a jumbled SEC pack and seeking more clout for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
The Commodores already had the stronger case and did nothing to diminish that standing. The Rebels — on the other hand — looked totally outclassed and now have a date against No. 1 Kentucky on Saturday.
Read more in Friday’s NEMS Daily Journal newspaper.