Rebels Hold Off Vandy, 75-67
Feb. 26, 2000
By RALPH D. RUSSO
Both moves worked.
Marcus Hicks scored 19 points and Mississippi survived Dan Langhi's 33-point performance to beat the 24th-ranked Commodores 75-67 on Saturday.
Hicks, the Rebels' leading scorer, was benched for the first 3 1/2 minutes of the game because of lethargic performances during Ole Miss' four-game losing streak.
"I sat our seniors down because we took a beating here when we lost to LSU," said Barnes, referring to a 44-point loss to Louisiana State in the Rebels' last home game Feb. 16. "You've got to protect homecourt. I didn't like what happened. Their responsible."
Barnes also sat his other senior starter, forward Lataryl Williams, for the first six minutes.
Both seniors responded, especially Hicks. In his first non-start in Southeastern Conference play this season, Hicks played inspired at both ends of the floor. He made 7-of-13 shots, blocked two shots and said he wasn't upset by the benching.
"I feel like I haven't been playing up to my potential," Hicks said. "I'll do anything to help the team win."
Langhi tied a career-high with 33 points, the most by any player in an SEC game this season. But he was left to carry Vanderbilt (17-8, 7-7 SEC) virtually by himself with Ole Miss (16-11, 4-10) concentrating its defense on the Commodores' supporting cast.
"Dan Langhi is the best player in this league," said Barnes, who touted Langhi as SEC player of the year. "He's going to get his points. We had to do a great job on their other kids. We didn't come in to even try stop Langhi. We tried to slow him down. I don't know how slow we got him."
"I'd rather win games than get player of the year," Langhi said. "It's
frustrating not to come out and win games when you should win them."
Langhi had 20 of the Commodores' 36 second-half points, including five of their nine field goals.
"I'd be hard pressed to find someone in our league who has had a better year than Dan Langhi, especially considering the circumstances," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "You kind of look at our roster and say 'If we stop him,' and he gets 33 points and 10 rebounds when you need to stop him."
Langhi, the SEC's leading scorer, was 9-of-18 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the line.
It was Vanderbilt's fourth loss in five games, making the NCAA tournament bid that seemed to be a lock for the Commodores a bit unsure heading into the final two regular season games.
"I still think that we have a lot of basketball to play," Stallings said. "I think if we win these two this week it's a no-brainer."
The Commodores finish the season with home games against Georgia and South Carolina.
Vanderbilt had a 10:17 stretch in the second half without hitting a basket before Sam Howard made a jumper with 4:04 left to make the score 62-52 Ole Miss. Howard scored 11 points and no other Vandy player reached double digits.
Williams had 12 points for the Rebels and Jason Flanigan scored 14.
Holding a two-point lead, Ole Miss used a 16-6 run to make the score 64-50 with less than four minutes left.
Vanderbilt went on an 8-0 run, highlighted by two 3-pointers by Howard, to cut the lead to 64-60 with 2:03 left, but could get no closer as Ole Miss sealed the win at the line.
Vanderbilt has lost seven straight in Oxford.
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