NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Ole Miss' SEC Tournament run ended in the semifinals with a 65-53 loss to Vanderbilt here Saturday at the New Orleans Arena.
John Jenkins scored 23 points and Brad Tinsley added 12 for Vanderbilt. It's the first trip to the SEC championship game for Vanderbilt (23-10) since 1951, when the Commodores beat Kentucky 61-57. They've finally got another chance at a title thanks to timely outside shooting from Jenkins and Tinsley, who combined to hit five 3-pointers in the second half.
After a cold first half, Vanderbilt hit 50 percent (6 of 12) from 3-point range in the second half.
Vanderbilt outrebounded Ole Miss 36-29. Lance Goulbourne added 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Commodores, who will play top-ranked Kentucky on Sunday.
Ole Miss (20-13) briefly took a 32-31 lead early in the second half, but Vanderbilt eventually buried the Rebels with well-timed 3-pointers and relentless defense.
Ole Miss had the pace it wanted from the opening tip--a deliberate, half-court game that kept it close.
The Rebels have been a difficult matchup for teams all season despite having serious deficiencies on the offensive end, making up for it with defense, rebounding and sheer hustle. It allowed them to get past Auburn and Tennessee in the first two rounds of the tournament, but even coach Andy Kennedy has admitted the energy expended on a nightly basis makes it a very difficult way to win consistently.
Neither team shot well in the first half, but Jenkins hit a pair of late baskets, including a 3-pointer, to push Vanderbilt ahead 25-23.
Ole Miss took a brief 32-31 lead on Holloway's free throw with 16:12 remaining, but it appeared the Rebels simply ran out of their usual boundless energy. They failed to close on shooters like Jenkins, who hit a pair of crucial shots from beyond that arc, including one that put Vanderbilt in front 49-40 with less than nine minutes remaining.
Ole Miss made one last run, pulling within 49-44 with 7:24 remaining, but then it was Tinsley's turn to hit a few big 3-pointers, and Vanderbilt went on an 8-0 run to put the game away.
The Rebels do have some hope for an NCAA tournament at-large bid, though they appear to be a longshot. Kennedy has not been to the tournament in any of his first five seasons and the program hasn't qualified since 2002, which is the longest drought in the SEC.
Kennedy has led the program to five 20-win seasons in six years, though. He has racked up the sixth-most wins (125) by any SEC coach in his first six years in the league.
Ole Miss has been held under 100 yards rushing in each of its last meetings with Alabama, a 33-14 loss in 2012 and a 25-0 loss in 2013. Running the ball effectively and finding a balance is one area, the... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewSept. 22-28, 2014Football- No. 10 Ole Miss used a dominant defensive effort to put away Memphis 24-3 on Saturday, setting up one of the biggest games in recent history this coming Saturday against the Alabama... read more
Tuesday 9/23 at 4PM
@CoachHughFreeze reveals the helmets to the @olemissfb team at team meeting. pic.twitter.com/8jpVCvny4p— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September 29, 2014 2.
Wed 9/24 at 4PM
@OleMissFB practice hidden indoors so that team practice in helmets for safety reasons. pic.twitter.com/vA0Oo6Ps7S— OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) September... read more
It's Sunday, so that means it's time for this week's Observations from the Best Seat in the House. I'll handle the bulk of the notes this week, but we also have some insight from Austin Miller here as well. Let's... read more
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Memphis is 2-1 heading into Saturday's matchup with wins over Austin Peay (63-0) and Middle Tennessee (36-17) and a 42-35 loss at No. 11 UCLA. The Tigers scored two early fourth-quarter touchdowns to tie the Bruins at 35-35 with 13:44... read more
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