Ole Miss Falls to Buckeyes in Championship Game

December 23, 1998

Box Score

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - Ohio State can't be considered a surprise team any more.

The Buckeyes (11-2) beat Mississippi 67-62 Wednesday night in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic behind the 20 points of Scoonie Penn and the 19 of Michael Redd.

It was the first victory in an eight-team tournament for the Buckeyes since 1961 when its great team featured Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek and a reserve named Bobby Knight.

This time the wins were over Alabama-Birmingham, North Carolina State and the Rebels (9-3).

"We beat three pretty good teams, and our guys played with a lot of heart and a lot of determination," said Buckeyes coach Jim O'Brien who had an 8-22 record last season, his first at Ohio State. "Tonight was just a matter of two tired teams that were going to battle it out, and it was going to be a case of who was going to be left standing. It just was going to come down to who made plays at the end."

Ohio State made the big plays at the end of each half.

Mississippi took a 34-33 lead on a 3-pointer by Michael White with 1:44 left in the first half. The Buckeyes scored eight points over the final 22 seconds of the half to take a 41-34 lead.

Redd, the tournament MVP, started the run with two free throws. With five seconds remaining he made a short jumper and was fouled by Keith Carter. Redd's free throw put the Buckeyes up 38-34.

The ensuing inbounds pass was deflected into the hands of Penn who launched a 3-pointer from the corner which dropped in at the buzzer.

The score was tied 60-60 with 2:06 and the Buckeyes closed the game with a 7-2 run.

Jason Smith led the Rebels with 15 points, while Rahim Lockhart added 14 points and nine rebounds.

 

 

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