JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Xavier’s inside-out duo was too much for worn-down Mississippi to handle.
Matt Stainbrook scored 20 points, Dee Davis added 17 and the sixth-seeded Musketeers beat the 11th-seeded Rebels 76-57 in the NCAA Tournament’s West Regional on Thursday.
The 6-foot-10 Stainbrook took advantage of his size in the post, making 8 of 10 shots in the paint and adding nine rebounds and five assists.
Davis was nearly as good from the outside, hitting 4 of 9 shots from 3-point range. Coach Chris Mack pulled them to a rousing ovation with 1:51 remaining and the game in hand.
Xavier (22-13) advanced to face 14th-seeded Georgia State on Saturday.
Xavier’s duo was considerably better than Mississippi’s two-man guard tandem. Stefan Moody and Jarvis Summers finished a combined 5 of 26 from the field. Moody led the Rebels (21-13) with 14 points.
Maybe they had dead legs. After all, the Rebels exerted significant energy in overcoming a 17-point deficit to beat BYU in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, about 43 hours earlier.
Ole Miss scored 62 points in the second half Tuesday night, boarded a flight to Jacksonville, got to bed about 5 a.m. Wednesday and spent the next 30 hours playing catch-up.
The Rebels looked every bit like a tired team against the Musketeers, who notched their first NCAA Tournament victory in two years.
Ole Miss missed 18 of its first 27 shots, with most of those by Moody and Summers.
The Rebels showed signs of life in the second half, even cutting an 18-point deficit to 60-50 with about 7 minutes to play. Xavier — no surprise — responded by going inside to Stainbrook. He backed down Dwight Colby and got an easy basket near the rim. Myles Davis followed with a 3 that made it a 15-point game again.
Mississippi spent much of the game complaining about fouls — what should and shouldn’t have been called.
No doubt, the referees let the teams play. But the Musketeers built a double-digit early thanks to five 3s and a 9-1 advantage at the free throw line.
Mississippi: Former Ole Miss star Marshall Henderson sat in the front row, across the court from the Rebels’ bench and spent much of the game heckling refs — much like he did opposing fans during his college years. He offered his support after the game by high-fiving players as they left the court. … The Rebels ended the season by losing five of their final seven games.
Xavier: The Musketeers are one of 11 teams that have made the NCAA Tournament in nine of the last 10 years. … They improved to 3-1 against teams from the Southeastern Conference. The Musketeers beat Alabama and Missouri in early December. They lost to Auburn in double overtime.
Mississippi: Season ended.
Xavier: Plays 14th-seeded Georgia State on Saturday.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.