No. 19 Mississippi Bitten By Bulldogs, 79-69
Jan. 27, 2001
By RALPH D. RUSSO
STARKVILLE, Miss. - There's no crying in the Mississippi-Mississippi State rivalry. Just ask Derrick Zimmerman.
In a brutally physical game where nearly every drive to the basket was met with forceful resistance, the Bulldogs beat the No. 19 Rebels 79-69 and Zimmerman took the hardest knock of all.
"It's war. You have to come in ready to play with your mouthpiece in and your helmet on," the sophomore guard said. "You have to be tough and we were the tougher team."
Zimmerman took a nasty fall in the second half, when he was undercut going to the basket by a teammate who was pushed underneath him by an Ole Miss player.
"With the hard fouls and everything, you just have to accept it and get back up and play," said Zimmerman, who slowly got up while tempers flared between the teams.
Mississippi State beat Ole Miss (15-4, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) for the fourth straight time and 16th in the last 18 meetings in Starkville.
There were 57 fouls called and Zimmerman was just one of many players knocked to the floor, as the Bulldogs and Rebels showed that their basketball games can be just as physical as their football games.
"It wasn't anything pretty at both ends," Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said.
"It was a pretty aggressive game," Mississippi's Justin Reed said.
"I think because it's Ole Miss, we bring out a different level of intensity," Rebels coach Rod Barnes said. "Every play something was going on. And that's OK with us. That's the rivalry."
It was an especially important win for the Bulldogs (11-7, 2-4), who had lost four straight conference games and play four of their next five on the road.
"Our backs were against the wall," said Antonio Jackson, who scored 11 points.
Tang Hamilton led Mississippi State with 16 points, including 9-for-10
shooting from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs made 32 of 44 free throws and
scored their last 12 points from the line.
Mississippi State reserve Guy Gardner scored 10 points, shooting 3-for-3 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the line.
Jason Harrison scored a season-high 17 to lead Ole Miss and was involved in the post-whistle posturing that broke out after Zimmerman's fall.
Zimmerman broke out ahead of the pack for what looked to be an easy layup. But Mississippi's Emmanuel Wade gave a one-handed shove to the back of Hamilton, who was trailing the play for the Bulldogs, that resulted in Hamilton undercutting his teammate.
Zimmerman hit the floor hard on his side and his teammates converged around the closest Rebel, who was Harrison.
Quickly, the rest of the Rebels moved in, but only words and harsh stares were exchanged. Harrison and Marckell Patterson received technical fouls.
"Thing kind of got out of hand for a minute," said Zimmerman, who scored two points, had five rebounds and five assists.
At that point, Mississippi State was up by 17 with just under eight minutes left and looked in control.
Ole Miss, though, responded with a 19-5 run that cut the Bulldogs' lead to 67-64 with 1:43 left. That was as close as the Rebels would get.
The Rebels shot less than 30 percent from the floor (19-for-64). Reed scored 11 points and Rahim Lockhart had 10 point and 11 rebounds.
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