OXFORD, Miss. – Dee Bost scored 25 points and Renardo Sidney added 24 as Mississippi State came from behind to beat Mississippi 69-64 on Thursday night.
Sidney and Bost — who had played in a combined four games coming into the contest because of various suspensions — were spectacular. Both scored season-highs and hit crucial shots every time Ole Miss threatened to pull away, combining to shoot 18 of 28 from the field.
It was a galvanizing win for Mississippi State, whose season had been defined by an embarrassing brawl between Sidney and teammate Elgin Bailey in the stands of the Diamondhead Classic in Honolulu on Dec. 23.
But the Bulldogs played their best basketball in the in-state rivalry game. Mississippi State shot 24 of 49 from the field (49 percent) and outrebounded the Rebels 38-33.
Sidney, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, showed why he's considered an NBA prospect despite missing more than a year's worth of games because of NCAA eligibility issues. Using his 275-pound frame to score in a variety of ways, he made 9 of 12 shots from the field, including 2 of 2 from 3-point range.
Bost, a 6-foot-2 junior who missed the season's first 14 games because of academic issues and an NCAA suspension for failing to pull out of the NBA Draft by the deadline, was 9 of 16 from the field and added eight assists.
Mississippi State (9-7, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak. Kodi Augustus added nine points — including four crucial free throws in the final minute — and 14 rebounds.
Ole Miss (12-5, 0-2) has lost 19 of the last 25 in the rivalry. Chris Warren led the Rebels with 25 points, climbing to No. 6 on the school's career scoring list. Zach Graham added 13 while Steadman Short scored eight points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
But it wasn't enough, as the Rebels couldn't hold a seven-point second-half lead. Ole Miss shot a school record 35 3-points, making 12 (34.3 percent).
Graham scored all 13 of his points in the first half and Warren added nine as Ole Miss led by as many as seven. But with Reggie Buckner, the team's best inside presence, stuck on the bench for the last 16 minutes of the first half, the Bulldogs were able to hang close.
Bost nailed a deep 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, cutting the Rebels' halftime lead to 34-32.