Big win for Ole Miss hoops last night. Kansas State has been projected as high as fourth in the Big 12. That win should carry some RPI benefits come tournament time. Interesting to see the post play against a quality post opponent. Holloway is doing well, Buckner is coming. The Rebels need to get more consistency from Cranston and more development from Riley. There were only 5,000 people at this game, most of them K-State fans, but a lot of basketball people saw this. Good exposure for the Rebels.
Here’s what we had in the print edition.
Daily Journal reports
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – In its first matchup against a team projected by some analysts to play in the NCAA tournament, the backcourt carried the day for Ole Miss.
The Rebels got huge games from their biggest stars, guards Chris Warren and Terrico White, to turn back Kansas State 86-74 Friday in the second round of the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off.
Ole Miss will play No. 6 Villanova in the championship game at 7 p.m. Sunday on ESPN2.
Warren scored 27 points and White 25. The preseason All-SEC guards were a combined 6-for-12 from 3-point range with White hitting 3-of-5 and Warren hitting 3-of-7.
The Rebels survived early foul trouble from center DeAundre Cranston, who eventually fouled out, to out-rebound the bigger Wildcats 36-32. Murphy Holloway led Ole Miss with 10 boards, eight of them on the defensive end.
UConn transfer Curtis Kelly, a 6-8, 250-pound presence in the paint, led Kansas State with 18 points and 10 rebounds, but the Wildcats’ guards couldn’t keep pace.
Kelly hit 7-of-10 field goals, but the Wildcats found scoring in the paint tough as the Rebels collected seven blocked shots, three by freshman Reggie Buckner.
Kansas State shot 43.1 percent from the field but couldn’t take advantage of trips to the free throw line, hitting just 51.9 percent.
Warren and White took 30 of the Rebels’ 50 field goal attempts and connected on 17 of them.
Eniel Polynice added 13 points and Holloway 10 points for Ole Miss.
Ole Miss shot 63 percent from the field in the second half, quickly building on a 32-30 halftime lead. White’s jumper with 8:58 remaining made it 63-53, and the Wildcats (3-1) never managed to get the lead back under 10.
Here’s what Kennedy had to say postgame:
<span style=”font-size: x-small;”>Opening comments…
“This was a great win for us against a very good opponent in Kansas State. It’s a big step for our team. We shot the ball very well in the second half. I was proud to see some guys step up. It was the first time Chris Warren has shot the ball that well in a long, long time. He missed most of last season, and he’s been struggling a little early, but it was great to see the old Chris Warren back.”
On the guard play…
“We’ve got a deep and talented backcourt. We’ve got six guys in our backcourt that have started an SEC game and all scored 16 or more points in an SEC game. One of them is now our 12th guy and the other two played limited minutes today. We’ve got some depth. When Terrico and Chris are playing that well, obviously we are going to ride them. They kept making big play after big play for us.”
On the frontcourt…
“I was pleased up front, even though you won’t see it from a point production standpoint. I thought we defended well. I was really concerned with their size and length at the basket. I think they’re very long and athletic
On adjustments at halftime…
“Honestly, we shot 63 percent in the second half. Wedidn’t turn it over as much. In the first half, we were fairly efficient at about 48 percent, but we had nine of our 15 turnovers. We hadn’t shot the ball well from the foul line (in the previous games), but tonight we did. As a result, we were able to get 54 against a pretty good defensive team in the second half.”
On the Villanova matchup…
“We’re excited. I’ve got so much respect for Jay (Wright) and their program. They’re a top-10 team. We came over with the hope of having an opportunity to play in the
championship game. We’re going to regroup, take a day to enjoy the island, then get our focus back on the task at hand.”
Sophomore Guard Terrico White:
“We were making our shots, especially me and Chris in the second half. I thought it was a good team win. We’re excited to get a chance to play Villanova and compete for the tournament championship.”