LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Joe Crawford and Patrick Patterson scored
15 points apiece as Kentucky held off Mississippi 58-54 on
Ramel Bradley added 14 points and five rebounds for Kentucky
(16-10, 10-3 Southeastern Conference), which moved to within one
game of No. 1 Tennessee for first place in the SEC's Eastern
Division. The Wildcats play at the Volunteers on Sunday.
Chris Warren led Ole Miss with 25 points and Dwayne Curtis had
12 points and 15 rebounds, but the Rebels (18-9, 4-9) remained
winless on the road in the SEC and continued their precipitous fall
from the Top 25 last month. Ole Miss shot just 31 percent from the
floor and turned the ball over 19 times.
Still, the Rebels had a chance to win it after whittling a
23-point deficit to two in the final seconds. Bradley missed a pair
of free throws with the Wildcats up 56-54, and Warren raced up the
floor. He missed a contested layup, but Curtis grabbed the rebound
and threw it out to a wide-open Trevor Gaskins.
Gaskins' 3-pointer, however, was long. Kentucky's Perry
Stevenson collected the rebound and handed it to Bradley, who sank
two free throws with 7.6 seconds remaining to seal it.
The last-second scare seemed improbable during a sloppy first
half. Kentucky wasted little time taking control, racing to a 22-4
lead as the Wildcats easily disrupted one of the SEC's most potent
Perplexed and harried by Kentucky's halfcourt trap, the Rebels
went through a seven-minute scoreless drought in which the simple
act of getting off a shot proved troublesome.
Even when it was easy, it wasn't easy. Ole Miss' David Huertas
seemed to have an easy layup after swiping the ball from Bradley
but threw up a brick. Jermey Parnell grabbed the rebound but was so
flustered he quickly shoveled the ball back to Huertas, who
desperately dropped in a layup.
It didn't get much prettier from there for Ole Miss, who needed
a late first-half run to end the half with more points (14) than
turnovers (12). By then the Wildcats were in control 31-14 and
appeared on their way to a rare breather.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)