Ole Miss outlasts Mississippi State

Published: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 2:07 a.m.
OXFORD, Miss. - Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy admitted his team's 85-73 win Tuesday night 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.''
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. 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 the difference in beating them at our place. In here, they hit shots.''
Ole Miss (14-8, 3-5 SEC), 11-1 in home games, had lost 10 of the last 11 games in the series. 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 to do that we had to get out of last place in the West. That's why this game was important.''
Mississippi State (11-9, 2-5), mired in an 11-game SEC road losing streak, 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.
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-sealing 13-0 run with a layup off an Abernethy assist. When Doyne closed the surge 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 made 51 percent of their shots, including going 9-of-19 from 3-point range. Sanders was a team-high 4-of-6 from long range.
''It's important and were 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.''
Ole Miss outrebounded Mississippi State 34-28, something Kennedy called the decisive statistic.
''We were down by four rebounds in the first half and ended up turning that around by 10 rebounds,'' he said.
  • FLORIDA ST. 96, MARYLAND 79: Al Thornton scored 27 points and Jason Rich added a career-high 24 points as host FSU won big.
    Florida State (16-6, 4-4 ACC) made 30 of its first 43 shots to maintain a double-digit lead for most of the second half as it evened its ACC record halfway through the conference schedule after an 0-3 start. Thornton, the ACC's top scorer in league games, made 12 of 17 shots and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds while Rich was 10 of 12 from the field for Florida State, which shot 61.7 percent for the game and enjoyed a 33-19 rebound advantage.
  • NO. 21 NOTRE DAME 103, SYRACUSE 91: Luke Harangody had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and visiting Notre Dame beat Syracuse behind an impressive display of 3-point shooting.
    Notre Dame (18-4, 6-3 Big East) won for the first time in four conference road games and halted a three-game losing streak against the reeling Orange (15-7, 4-4), who lost their third straight game.
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