St. Thomas, VI – A pair of unbeatens will clash this evening in the US Virgin Islands, as Ole Miss meets No. 21 Marquette in the Paradise Jam semifinals.
Ole Miss edged Drake 63-59 in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Friday, as Ole Miss rallied in the second half. Dundrecous Nelson led the Rebels with 16 points in the win, 15 of which came in the final 20 minutes. Jarvis Summers came off the bench to score 14 in the win.
Marquette is still unbeaten after handling Winthrop 95-73 in the first round of the tournament. Vander Blue led Marquette with a career-high 26 points, and Darius Johnson-Odom added 20 points in the win.
Marquette and Ole Miss are meeting for the first time tonight.
Ole Miss didn't shoot particularly well against Drake, going just 20-of-54 from the field, including 10-of-28 in the first half. The Rebels played well defensively against the Bulldogs, however, forcing Drake to shoot just 34.8 percent from the field in the second half. Drake had 23 turnovers, and Ole Miss registered 11 steals and six blocks. Ole Miss scored 23 points off turnovers, an controlled the paint, outscoring Drake 26-16 in the key area. Offensively, Nelson was key in the second half, and he finished 5-of-16 from the field (2-of-8 from three-point range). Summers hit 3-of-6 shots and 7- of-11 from the charity stripe to earn his 14 points. Terrance Henry anchored the frontcourt, scoring eight points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Blue's career-high against Winthrop was keyed by 7-of-9 shooting from the field, alongside 10-of-13 shooting from the charity stripe. Blue also connected on both of his three-point attempts, and Marquette shot 9-of-19 from downtown in the win. Johnson-Odom hit 5-of-10 from the field and 8-of-12 from the foul line, and Jae Crowder, Todd Mayo and Chris Otule each added 11 points and combined for 14 rebounds. On the year, Johnson-Odom is averaging 20.0 ppg, while Blue and Crowder are posting 16.7 ppg apiece.