OXFORD, Miss. — To have a chance at winning its second Southeastern Conference game in a row Wednesday night, the LSU basketball team had to make sure it took care of business on the defensive end of the floor.
Specifically, LSU had to limit the 3-point shooting of Ole Miss, which ranked third in the conference in connecting on 36.8 percent of its long-range attempts for the season.
That meant trying to put the clamps on guards Stefan Moody and LaDarius White, who went into the game hitting 40.7 percent of their 3s, and Jarvis Summers. White was just a shade under 50 percent on his own.
Sticky perimeter defense turned out to be the difference for LSU in a 75-71 win, the Tigers’ 10th victory in their past 11 games. It snapped a four-game losing streak in Tad Smith Coliseum — which included a crushing 88-74 overtime setback a year ago.
While every one of guard Keith Hornsby’s 23 points was huge, LSU needed the energy he and his teammates expended on the defensive end to escape with a victory.
Ole Miss shot just 34.6 percent from the floor — making just 5 of 23 3-point attempts for a scant 21.7 percent. Their trio of guards were 14 of 45 from the field with a 4-of-18 showing from beyond the arc.
“We focused a lot on their guards (particularly Moody and Summers),” Hornsby said. “We scouted them very well and stuck to the scout (report) and really had great energy.
“They didn’t have a lot of wide-open looks,” he added. “That was good. We did well in that area.”
After White missed his first 3-point attempt just 10 seconds into the game, he nailed his next shot from the corner after an offensive rebound by forward M.J. Rhett.
Ole Miss, however, went on to miss its next eight 3-point shots and wound up shooting 30.6 percent in the first half.
Yet, the Rebels trailed just 32-28 after Hornsby, who was held scoreless for the first 19-plus minutes, drained one from the left corner just 13.4 seconds before halftime.
That gave his team a huge lift going to the locker room and set up his 20-point outburst in the second half, a performance that included four more 3-pointers.
Still, LSU coach Johnny Jones said limiting Ole Miss’ ability to score from the perimeter was one of the keys to the victory.
“We tried to do a good job in making sure we hedged, especially up top where they were setting ball screens,” Jones said. “We maybe had to hold their help in situations a little bit longer so they couldn’t turn the corner or get shots there.
“I thought other guys did a good job of trailing and getting there on the catch. That is a great shooter (Moody).”
Moody and Summers, Ole Miss’ top two scorers for the season, had 14 and 13 points, respectively, while White was held to eight for the game following that early 3-point blast.
“To hold them to 30-something percent shooting and only 5-of-23 (on 3-pointers) in their gym was really a good night for us,” Jones said. “Defensively, I was really pleased. The only down area was we did not do a great job on the defensive glass.”
Ole Miss had 23 offensive rebounds, which helped the Rebels to a 47-41 edge over the Tigers. Sixteen of those 23 offensive rebounds came in the second half when Ole Miss desperately tried to stay in the game after LSU bounced out to an 11-point lead in the first three minutes of the period.
But the Tigers had enough to hang on, especially with Jarell Martin, Jordan Mickey and Josh Gray each recording a double-double. Martin had 18 points and 14 rebounds; Mickey had 11 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks; and Gray finished with 14 points and 10 assists.
Martin was 9-of-12 from the field and Hornsby was 6-of-13 and shot 43.3 percent on the road — which was the difference in the game.
“It was the type of game it was going to take to win here tonight,” Jones said. “We’re fortunate to get out of here against a very tough and challenging basketball team in Ole Miss.”
Follow Sheldon Mickles on Twitter @MicklesAdvocate.