Thursday, January 11, 2007

Miss St 77 Ole Miss 67

Ole Miss forward Trey Hampton caught the ball on the right block, stepped toward the basket and missed an open layup Wednesday.
A bucket would've given the Rebels a second-half lead against their in-state rival. But the miss? That was a little more fitting for Ole Miss' night.
The Rebels' undersized and outmatched frontcourt left Ole Miss with only one logical strategy in its 77-67 loss in front of an announced crowd of 10,053 in Humphrey Coliseum: Let the 3-pointers fly and see what happens.
Ole Miss, which had been attempting 18.3 shots a game behind the arc, took 32 against MSU. It made 7 of 20 in the first half, hoping to make up for its troubles in the paint against the Bulldogs' big and athletic frontcourt.
It helped the Rebels stay close in the first half. But it couldn't mask their troubles the entire night.
"We're grasping for straws," coach Andy Kennedy said. "We're trying to find a way to manufacture enough points to win games and we're having a hard time with it on that end."
Ole Miss guard Clarence Sanders - who scored 17 points on 6 of 25 from the field - was 4 of 16 from 3-point range. Senior Todd Abernethy scored 20 and made 4 of 9. Leading scorer Bam Doyne added 12 and was 2 of 6.
Abernethy said it wasn't the Rebels' strategy before the game, but MSU's size inside made it a necessity.
"The big boys down low blocked some shots," Abernethy said. "It was easier to shoot 3s than take it down low and get a shot blocked."
When the Rebels did get open looks, they usually missed.
Like Hampton's blown attempt with Ole Miss trailing 53-52. The Rebels were scoreless over the next four minutes, while MSU used a 10-0 run to open a double digit lead.
He wasn't alone. Ole Miss' frontcourt was 6 of 18. The Rebels were 11 of 32 (34.4 percent) behind the 3-point line and 14 of 44 (31.8 percent) inside.
MSU coach Rick Stansbury said Ole Miss "shot the cover off the ball," but only made four 3-pointers in the second half. When the long range buckets trailed off, so did the Rebels' hopes.
"When you make them that's good," Stansbury said. "It shoots you in. When you don't. It shoots you out."

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