Ole Miss Powers Past Murray State 77-61

Nov. 17, 2010

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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Murray State's plan to stop Ole Miss' Chris Warren worked nearly perfectly.

The only problem for the Racers is it left Zach Graham and Nick Williams open all night.

Graham scored 22 points and Williams added 21 as Ole Miss cruised to a 77-61 victory over Murray State on Wednesday night. Both totals were career highs as the Rebels overcame a slow start to finish an impressive victory over a program that's considered one of the best mid-majors in the country.

"We were patient," Williams said. "We ran our offense, found some open shots and then knocked them down."

Graham, a 6-foot-6 senior, made 6 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range. He was also 7 of 7 from the free-throw line.

Williams, a transfer from Indiana playing just his second game with the Rebels, made 7 of 10 from the field. The 6-foot-4 sophomore added six rebounds and two assists.

Ole Miss (2-0) made 22 of 23 free throws (95.7 percent) and led by as many as 23 late in the second half.

"I thought we really took a step forward today," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "We showed a lot of toughness."

The Rebels dominated in the paint, outscoring the Racers 34-17 and outrebounding them 39-30. Sophomore Reggie Buckner blocked three shots.

Warren's school-record streak of 46 straight games with a 3-pointer ended. The Ole Miss senior finished with just 10 points after scoring 26 in a season-opening win against Arkansas State. He missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc - including one in the final seconds as the crowd groaned.

"I hate that (the streak is) broken," Andy Kennedy said. "But I give Murray State credit. They were really pressing up on him and forcing him to drive ... That was their gameplan and it was a smart one."

Murray State (1-1), which returned three starters from a team that made the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season, shot just 30.2 percent from the field (16 of 53) and trailed 34-23 at halftime. Isaiah Canaan led the Racers with 15 points. Donte Poole added 12 and Jeffrey McClain scored 11.

Murray State's strength is its quick guard play, but a taller and stronger Ole Miss defense kept them off balance all night.

"We missed a lot of layups around the basket," Murray State coach Billy Kennedy said. "Their size was a factor."

The Racers jumped out to an early six-point lead, but fought foul trouble throughout the game. Ole Miss went on a 11-0 run midway through the first half to take a 21-14 lead and the Rebels never trailed again. Graham and Williams scored a combined seven points during that crucial run.

Andy Kennedy credited Warren and Graham for keeping the team composed during the early dry stretch.

"If seniors can't be composed, you've got issues," Andy Kennedy said. "They've got to steady the ship."

Ole Miss is now 39-1 at home in non-conference games under fifth-year coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels are 19-5 all-time against teams from the Ohio Valley Conference.


 

 

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