Courtesy of olemisssports.com
OXFORD, Miss. — As part of the weekend’s Homecoming activities, the Ole Miss men’s and women’s basketball teams participated in the third annual Square Jam Friday night.
“What a great time it is to be an Ole Miss Rebel,” said head men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy, speaking to the crowd before the start of the event. “I hope we can continue the momentum that Hugh (Freeze) and his team have created around here.”
With six new faces on the men’s side and eight new faces on the women’s side, Square Jam was an introduction of sorts for the new-look teams ahead of their respective season openers next month.
“It’s a great night for Ole Miss and it’s a great night for Ole Miss basketball,” head women’s basketball coach Matt Insell said. “Andy and I love this night, and the kids love this night. This night is huge for us.
“We know we have a really good basketball team, and now our fans got to see the new faces and see what they can do, so hopefully they can have the same excitement our players have right now.”
During the event, the women competed in a skills competition, the men and women paired up to compete in a 3-point contest and the men competed in a slam dunk contest.
Gracie Frizzell, one of the returnees, defeated Kiara Golden, one of six freshmen on the roster, in the final of the skills competion.
The 3-point contest featured four teams of men’s and women’s players, with the teams of Frizzell and LaDarius White andToree Thompson and Terence Smith advancing to the final. In a closely-contested final, the team of Frizzell and White edged Thompson and Smith, 27-25.
Frizzell led the way for her team, knocking down 18 3-pointers in the first round and following it up with 14 3-pointers in the final.
And then slam dunk contest took center stage.
In front of a star-studded panel of judges that included Ole Miss baseball fan favorite Sikes Orvis and SEC Nation personalities Kaylee Hartung and Marcus Spears, the slam dunk participants thrilled the judges and the crowd at Square Jam.
Newcomers Stefan Moody, Roderick Lawrence and John Crnogorac advanced to the final, where Moody and Lawrence stole the show.
“We’re both from Orlando, Florida, and it’s always been a competition between the two of us, so we wanted to give the crowd something to cheer for,” Lawrence said. “Every day in practice, we go at each other. It’s exciting to have this many fans out here for a social event. I have never seen anything like it.”
The pair went dunk for dunk, putting up perfect scores of 30 to force three rounds of finals. In the last of the final rounds, Moody edged Lawrence to take home the slam dunk title, as he rocked the rim on a one-handed dunk.
“It’s not like we didn’t know that was coming between him and me,” Moody said. “Three months ago, when we got here, we knew it was going to be him and me in the slam dunk contest. And It was great to put on a show in front of the fans.”
The men and women’s teams open the 2014-15 regular season on Nov. 14. The women’s team will host Grambling in its annual School Kids Game at 11 a.m. at Tad Smith Coliseum, while the men’s team will kick off its season at 6 p.m. against Charleston Southern.
For ticket information go to OleMissTix.com or call the Ole Miss Ticket Office at 1-888-REB-TKTS (732-8587).