WEST CHAMPS: Rebels Rally For Road Win, Title Share

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Chris Warren scored 31 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute, as Ole Miss rallied from 11 down with 5:02 left for a 68-66 road win at Arkansas Saturday.

The victory secured the Rebels (21-9, 9-7 SEC) a first-round bye in next week's SEC Tournament in Nashville, and Mississippi State's loss to Tennessee later Saturday clinched Ole Miss a share of the SEC Western Division crown. It marks the Rebels' fifth West title and second under head coach Andy Kennedy.

The Razorbacks (14-17, 7-9) appeared in control with a 64-53 lead and Ole Miss struggling to score, but the Rebels slowly chipped away and scored seven straight points to cut the deficit to two. Warren, who posted 20 of his 31 points in the second half, then made a 3-pointer with 53.2 seconds left -- after Ole Miss rebounded its own missed free throw -- to give his team its first lead at 66-65.

The Rebels held on when Murphy Holloway blocked Julysses Nobles' shot as the Arkansas guard drove into traffic in the final seconds. It was one of seven blocks by the Rebels -- career-high three by Holloway and four by Reginald Buckner.

Holloway also posted a career-high six steals along with six points and 11 rebounds. Trevor Gaskins added 13 points.

Rotnei Clarke scored 13 points for the Razorbacks, who led by as many as 14 in the first half. They entered halftime with a 43-33 advantage.

Warren scored eight straight points to begin the second, cutting the margin to two. Arkansas answered with seven straight points, including a 3-pointer by Clarke that made it 50-41.

The Rebels still had another push left in them, and this time the Razorbacks couldn't hold on, losing their fifth straight game to end the regular season. Terrico White, who scored only five points for Ole Miss, made a 3-pointer to make it 65-61, and Warren eventually put the Rebels ahead to stay.

After Warren's shot, Clarke missed a 3-pointer and appeared to come up with his own rebound, but he lost the ball. After a frantic pileup on the floor, officials called a jump ball with 28.6 seconds left. The possession arrow favored the Rebels.

After an Ole Miss free throw, Nobles was fouled with 20.2 seconds to play, but he made only 1-of-2 free throws.

Warren restored the two-point margin with a free throw of his own with 11.3 seconds left.

Arkansas called a timeout with 8.2 seconds to go, and Nobles drove to the basket again only to be met by a crowd of Ole Miss defenders.

After the blocked shot bounced away, Mike Washington grabbed the ball and tried one last desperation shot from the baseline, but the Arkansas senior's shot was well off the mark.

The teams combined for 28 turnovers in the first half, giving the ball away seemingly every way possible: offensive fouls, a double dribble, traveling, a 5-second call while closely guarded -- even a couple palming violations.

Arkansas took a 28-16 lead on a dunk by Marshawn Powell after Courtney Fortson alertly dropped the ball off for him on a fast break.

Riding a four-game win streak, Ole Miss will be the West No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament and will play Friday at 2:15 p.m. CT against the winner of the first-round bout between Tennessee and LSU.


 

 

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