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Ole Miss holds on to outlast Mississippi State 86-82 in front of record-breaking crowd

It was a record-breaking crowd in the SJB Pavilion on Tuesday night with over 10,000 people in attendance when the Ole Miss Rebels hosted their bitter in-state foe, the Mississippi State Bulldogs — and the fans got what they paid for.

The Rebels (18-3, 5-3 SEC), under the leadership of first-year head coach Chris Beard, used an early second-half surge and a lopsided margin in the turnover battle to hold on and overcome the Bulldogs (14-7, 3-5 SEC) in round one of an epic slugfest between the two gritty programs.

Mississippi State, led by freshman sensation Josh Hubbard, hit the ground running early to take a 5-0 lead in the first minute and a half of action. A triple by Jaylen “Juju” Murray put Ole Miss on the board and kickstarted a dual between the opposing point guards.

Both teams traded blows with multiple lead changes within the first 10 minutes of action. Mississippi State relied on Hubbard, the Madison-Ridgeland Academy alum who once considered Ole Miss out of high school, to man the ship offensively. Meanwhile, Ole Miss found an unexpected boost from its bench with guard T.J. Caldwell stepping up when some of his veteran teammates struggled to score.

Chris Jans’ team found a groove midway through the first half and managed to take a seven-point lead in a game that had remained within one or two possessions on the scoreboard. The Bulldogs led 27-20 with under seven minutes remaining before the break. Ole Miss senior guard Matthew Murrell connected on a triple to give the Rebels a boost, but it was immediately undercut by a three-pointer from Hubbard.

Nonetheless, the Rebels did not hand their heads. A six-point swing down the stretch and a game-tying triple from Juju Murray knotted things up at the intermission and gave Ole Miss the momentum on home court.

The Rebels carried over the final minutes of the first half into the second, opening things up on a 14-3 run to take a 53-42 lead with just under 15 minutes left in the game. However, Ole Miss big man Moussa Cisse, who

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