Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Seniors Lead Ole Miss Over Miss State

OXFORD, Miss. (AP) – Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy admitted his team’s 85-73 win Tuesday over Mississippi State was satisfying, but had to be taken with a proper perspective.
“It’s a win over an in-state rival and our fans will be happy, but one game can’t be the measuring stick,” Kennedy said. “This league is so good, you don’t have the luxury of being up for one game. You’ve got to grind every game and we did that.”
Bam Doyne and Clarence Sanders scored 23 and 22 points, respectively while Todd Abernethy had 19 points and 10 assists. The backcourt trio was decisive, while Dwayne Curtis added 14 points and eight rebounds inside.
“When they shoot like that, I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that will beat them in here,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said. “They hit shots. That was difference in beating them at our place. In here, they hit shots.”
Ole Miss (14-8, 3-5), 11-1 in home games, had lost 10 of the last 11 games with the Bulldogs. The win moved the Rebels out of the SEC Western Division basement and went a long way in enhancing postseason hopes.
“We needed this game to get off the bottom of the West,” Doyne said. “We’d like to play in the NCAA Tournament or the NIT, but do that we had to get out of last place in the West. That why this game was important.”
Mississippi State (11-9, 2-5), mired in an 11-game losing streak in SEC road games, has dropped six of the last eight contests and fell to the bottom of the Western Division standings.
Charles Rhodes led the Bulldogs with 24 points and seven rebounds. Jamont Gordon had 20 points while Deitric Slater had 11, as the Bulldogs rallied from a 51-36 deficit to pull within 68-64 with 6:36 left.
“We battled to get it back to four points,” Stansbury said. “Then Abernethy and Curtis came up with three or four plays apiece that ended it.”
Curtis opened a game-clinching 13-0 run with a layup off an Abernethy assist. When Doyne closed it with four consecutive free throws, Ole Miss held a comfortable 81-64 cushion with 2:24 left.
“We hit some big shots and made big plays,” Doyne said. “We haven’t had an SEC game where we had an early lead and finished. It was something new, but it was great. Maybe we can do it more often.”
The Rebels were 29-of-57 from the field, 51 percent, including 9-of-19 from three-point range. Sanders was a team-high 4-of-6 from three-point range, with three of the shots coming off Abernethy assists.
Ole Miss outrebounded Mississippi State 34-28, a statistic that Kennedy called, “the decisive statisitic. We were down by four rebounds in the first half and ended up turning that around by 10 rebounds.”
Mississippi State was 25-of-55 from the field, 46 percent, but strugged from three-point range at 5-of-18. Both teams turned the ball over 14 times.
“It’s important and we’re happy about it, but it still counts as one win,” Kennedy said. “There’s still a lot of basketball to be played and we can’t be satisfied.”

No comments: