By The Associated Press
OXFORD — With Mississippi fighting to get in the Southeastern Conference Western Division race, the Rebels’ two seniors kept their win streak going against LSU.
Chris Warren tied a season-high with 26 points and Zach Graham broke a tie with 2:02 remaining as Ole Miss defeated LSU 66-60 on Wednesday night.
“I’m going to continue to challenge them,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said of Warren and Graham. “That’s who we’re going to run the offense for. We try everything, trust me. We run out of options at times. We went with our seniors and they stepped up.”
Warren, who has 1,821 career points, moved into fourth place on the school’s all-time scoring list, passing Elston Turner, who had 1,805 points from 1978-81. Warren is one point from tying Carlos Clark’s point total from 1980-83.
Warren’s other 26-point outing this season came in a season-opening victory over Arkansas State.
LSU coach Trent Johnson said Warren was the difference.
“They have a guy who is a hell of a player,” Johnson said. “He’s as good as anyone in the country, let alone this league. He shoots 94 percent from the free-throw line and can play.”
Graham finished with 17 points, including the jumper to provide the final lead change.
“We didn’t play great. We were kind of tentative,” Graham said. “But we stayed in the game and grinded out a win. No matter who the opponent is, a win is a win. We’re happy we won the game. There’s no easy games.
Ole Miss (16-8, 4-5) won its third straight conference game and fourth out of five after starting 0-4.
The win sets up an crucial game on Saturday, when Ole Miss plays at Western Division-leading Alabama (15-7, 7-1). The Crimson Tide plays at Vanderbilt on Thursday.
“Record-wise, (Alabama is) the best team in the SEC,” Kennedy said. “That’s indisputable right now. They’re 3-0 versus the (SEC) East. They’ve handled their business. They’ve been playing excellent. They’re playing with a lot of momentum, a lot of confidence.”
LSU (10-14, 2-7) had an eight-point, second-half lead, but Graham’s jumper tied it at 51 with 6:29 left, and the Rebels ended the game on a 9-3 run.
Down 57-55, Warren scored seven of Ole Miss’ final 11 points.
He tied it with a layup, hit a 3-pointer for a 60-57 lead and pushed the advantage to two possessions with two free throws with 25 seconds remaining.
Freshman Matt Derenbecker scored a career-high 19 points, Ralston Turner scored 16 and Storm Warren added 10 for LSU. Derenbecker’s previous high was 17 points.
Derenbecker hit three 3-pointers in a 150-second span in the second half to give LSU its largest lead at the 11:29 mark.
Turner was inactive for the teams’ first meeting this season, a 27-point Ole Miss victory.
Reginald Buckner led Ole Miss with seven rebounds and the Rebels outrebounded the Tigers 39-30.
Malcolm White, in his first visit to Tad Smith Coliseum since transferring to LSU prior to the 2009 season, scored the Tigers’ first four points and finished with eight and a team-high 11 rebounds.