Monday, January 8, 2007

Rebs come up short against Wildcats

Todd Abernethy (right) in Saturday's SEC opener against KentuckyIt took an 8-of-10 night and 23 points from junior point guard Joe Crawford for the University of Kentucky (12-3, 1-0 SEC) to extend their win streak to eight games and walk out of Oxford with a 68-58 victory over the Ole Miss Rebels.The Rebels (11-4, 0-1 SEC) came out of the gate strong against the visiting Wildcats, playing almost tic-for-tac with Kentucky for the whole first half.Crawford gave UK an early 7-6 lead with a wide open three-pointer after Bam Doyne had gone for a steal at the top of the arc and missed.In the final seconds of the first half Clarence Sanders put the Rebels up 37-33 after draining a fast-break three following a blocked shot by Jeremy Parnell to start the push up court. The shot, as well as the block, incited the fans and electrified the Tad Pad with just seconds left to play.However, Kentucky's Bobby Perry brought the game 'Cats within two as the game clock expired with a lay-up to put Kentucky down 37-35. "I thought in the first half we were very fortunate to be up two because they shot the ball and scored at will," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We couldn't do anything with Randolph Morris, we played right into their hands, and yet we were still up two."At the half Morris and Sanders were tied with the game-high of 12 points.Ole Miss took a 53-51 lead in the second half on a Kenny Williams lay-up on a Todd Abernethy pass below the goal.However, the Rebels were not able to keep the lead. Kentucky responded to Williams' lay-up by going on a 17-5 run down the stretch to go up 68-58, which included back-to-back threes by Ramel Bradley."The second half the game was pretty tight. They make a run and we make a run back to get that lead, and all of a sudden Ramel Bradley scores eight points," Kennedy said. "We had our looks and we don't come through. It's the difference between winning and losing."Bradley's eight points at the end of the game capped off a 13 point night. Bradley also had seven rebounds and five assists.Crawford had a game-high 23 points, while Abernethy led the Rebels scorers with 17 points.Abernethy was 6-of-10 from the field, 2-of-3 from behind the three-point arc, and 3-of-4 from the charity line to lead the Rebels with 17 points. His 17 points were his second highest total this season, and marks just the second time the guard has led Ole Miss in scoring this season.Ole Miss' Dwayne Curtis and Kentucky's Morris were quiet in the second half. Both big men were held to just three and two points in the second half after scoring 11 and 12 points respectively in the first half.Morris finished the game with his eighth straight double-double, tallying 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Curtis earned 13 points and 10 rebounds of his own.Ole Miss will hit the road Wednesday for their next game, traveling to Starkville to take on in-state rival Mississippi State.

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