TUPELO – The hype in Dayveun Anderson’s head was real.
The sophomore’s pregame energy carried over to tipoff, and his 26 points helped No. 7-ranked Tupelo knock off Oxford, 78-69, in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Thursday night.
As the teams were warming up, Anderson was practically vibrating with energy.
“He’s been hyped all day,” coach Jeff Norwood said. “I was like, ‘Man, calm down before you hurt somebody or hurt yourself.’ But it carried right over into the game.”
And it was infectious. Oxford (13-13), which never led after the first quarter, made a push in the fourth quarter. The Golden Wave (14-6) thwarted the rally with a full team effort, as six different players scored over the game’s final three minutes.
It was 64-60 when Braxton Bishop made two free throws for Tupelo. Lamarus Miller stole the ensuing inbounds pass and laid it in for a 68-60 lead with 2:40 left.
A putback by Logan Fuller and a runner by Hayes Halbert pushed it to 72-62 with 1:40 to go.
Halbert finished with 15 points and was 3 of 7 from 3-point range. Bishop added 10.
“Norwood’s really got his team cutting to the goal hard, and we got caught behind Tupelo guys,” Oxford coach Drew Tyler said. “I thought they stayed on offense a lot during the second half and on the free-throw line.”
The game was up and down, and it was close most of the way. Tupelo went up 42-32 early in the third quarter, but the Chargers got within 44-40 on a Chase Rose 3-pointer.
It was 54-49 entering the fourth quarter.
Rose finished with 24 points, making 8 of 16 from the floor, including 4 of 10 from behind the arc. He also had seven rebounds.
The Golden Wave will host Clinton on Saturday in the quarterfinals.
“We get a chance to play Saturday against the best team in the state,” Norwood said. “I can’t think of a better scenario.”
Turning Point: After Oxford cut it to 61-59 with 4:38 left, Halbert buried a 3-pointer to spark an 11-3 run.
Point Maker: Anderson shot 10 of 17 from the field and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line. He also had seven rebounds and three assists.
Talking Point: “I was ready to play. It helped me and my teammates come out with a win and on to the next.” – Anderson, on his pregame energy