OXFORD — Kenny Gaines scored 22 points and Marcus Thornton added 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Georgia to a 76-72 victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday night.
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy was not pleased with his team’s intensity in their third Southeastern Conference loss at home this season.
“I’m so sick and tired of being the most energetic guy in the building,” Kennedy said. “It’s wearing on me. I know our guys care, but they certainly show it in a different manner.”
Georgia (18-9, 9-6 SEC) shot 37 percent from the field (23-of-62) and hit 11-of-23 3-pointers.
“Ole Miss is a good team,” Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. “We really felt like after losing two home games already this season that we were going to have to come in here and play catch up.”
Gaines was 8-of-15 from the floor and 4-of-7 from beyond the arc.
“He shot the ball well,” Fox said. “And he played some good defense. He’s been ill, but he’s getting better. We knew he was going to need to have a bigger game tonight.”
Nemanja Djurisic scored 17 points on 5-of-13 shooting and also hit 4 3-pointers.
Ole Miss (19-9, 10-5 SEC) struggled from the field, particularly beyond the arc. The Rebels were 0-for-7 on 3-point attempts in the first half, 6-of-29 for the game.
“They were really locked in, and we can’t ever seem to manufacture offense out of the gate,” Kennedy said. “It was back forth, and then we let Gaines get loose.”
Georgia led for all but 29 seconds of the game. They led 34-23 at the half. The Bulldogs were able to split the Ole Miss defense consistently, winning the assist battle 17-10. And scoring 15 second-chance points.
“They hurt on second shots,” Kennedy said. “They did a really good job of making the extra pass.”
But the contest was far from one-sided. Ole Miss kept pace throughout, and with 4:33 to play a Stefan Moody 3-pointer trimmed the Georgia lead to 2 points before the Rebel rally ran out of steam.
“When it’s your time to make a play, you have to step up,” Kennedy said. “Georgia made plays down stretch, and they deserved to win.”
Moody led the Rebels with 19 points on 5-of-16 shooting, but was only 2-of-11 from beyond the arc. Jarvis Summers added 13 points. Sebastian Saiz had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Terence Smith chipped in 11 points.
“I talk to them, I try to motivate them,” Saiz said.
Georgia has now won four straight over Ole Miss. This is Fox’s team’s second road win in as many tries after winning an overtime game at Alabama on Saturday.