NASHVILLE, Tenn. – John Jenkins led five Commodores in double figures with 20 points, and Vanderbilt beat Mississippi 84-74 Wednesday night to send the Rebels to their worst start in Southeastern Conference play since 2000.
The Commodores (13-4, 2-2) needed this win on their home court after dropping their first two road games in the SEC and falling to the bottom of the Eastern Division.
Mississippi (12-7, 0-4) now is off to its worst league start since dropping its first five SEC games in 2000.
Festus Ezeli had 16 points after going 10 of 12 at the free-throw line for Vanderbilt. Jeff Taylor had 15 points, and Lance Goulbourne had 14 and tied the team record with 16 rebounds for Vanderbilt. Dawid Przybyszewski last had 16 rebounds Nov. 19, 2004. Brad Tinsley added 14 points.
Chris Warren and Dundrecous Nelson had 17 apiece for Ole Miss, Zach Graham 14 and Terrance Henry 11.
In this matchup of two of the SEC's top three scoring offenses, the Rebels can blame some cold shooting at the worst times for this latest loss. As Vanderbilt opened the second half with a 12-3 run, the Rebels missed their first five shots before Warren hit a 3 to end the drought.
Ole Miss last led 66-65 thanks to a 14-3 run capped by eight straight points from Nelson. He hit a pair of free throws, then back-to-back 3s to give the Rebels their last lead with 6:43 left. Then the Rebels went cold again. Graham hit a bucket with 4:16 left, and that was their only points until Nelson's layup with 2:50 to go.
Jenkins put the Commodores back up for good with his 3-pointer with 5:35 remaining. Taylor scored on a layup that was Vanderbilt's last field goal of the game with 5:03 left. He also hit the free throw after being fouled as Vanderbilt polished off the win by going 14-of-17 at the free-throw line down the stretch.
The Commodores outshot Ole Miss all over the court, hitting 8-of-16 from beyond the arc and had a big edge at the foul line (28-of-34 compared to 14-of-16). Vandy also outrebounded Ole Miss 41-25.
Ole Miss led 42-39 at halftime after surviving a cold shooting start when the Rebels hit just three of their first 11 shots, and Warren was just 2-of-8 from the floor in the first half. Vanderbilt led by as much as nine early, before the Rebels finally warmed up.
The Rebels also scored 17 points off Vanderbilt's turnovers in the first half but managed just five more such points in the second half.