Second-Half Burst Propels Rebels To 85-81 Win Over Hornets

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OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Coming off a blowout road loss and an impeding date with No. 9 Louisville in the SEC/Big East Invitational, Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy was concerned about his young club's confidence level.

The Rebels responded with an 85-81 win over Alabama State Monday with a impressive stretch run performance, highlighted by a 25-point performance from David Huertas.

"You know, I'm paid to know how they're going to respond, but outside of David (Huertas) and Chris (Warren), I really don't know," Kennedy said. "I'm still not pleased with everything we did, but we made shots and we made big plays."

Huertas broke open a one-point game with a three-point shot from the corner with 18.1 seconds left, giving Ole Miss and insurmountable 84-79 lead over the Hornets. Huertas added six rebounds and four assists for the Rebels (7-3), who trailed with less than eight minutes remaining.

"We've got No. 9 Louisville next and we just didn't show up at New Mexico (103-70 loss), so this win was a good one," Huertas said. "This helps everybody's confidence and hopefully we can keep this up."

Chris Warren and Murphy Holloway added 16 and 15 points, respectively, for the Rebels. Malcolm White had 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the Rebels, who outrebounded the Hornets 30-29.

Roland Fitch, converting 10 consecutive shots, led Alabama State (1-6) with 22 points while Andrew Hayles added 17. The Hornets, the defending regular season SWAC champions, shot a season best 33-of-58 from the field, 57 percent, to keep it close.

Alabama State led 41-36 at halftime. The Hornets, hitting 12-of-16 shots to open the game, built their biggest lead 29-21 with 7:40 left on a jumper by Fitch.

The Rebels regained the lead 62-60 on a three-point play by Warren with 9:48 left. The clubs swapped small leads or were tied six times over the final seven minutes.

Ole Miss built a 74-69 lead with 3:52 left on a 7-2, highlighted by a dunk from Holloway and never trailed again. The Hornets pulled with 78-77 on a three-point shot by Hayles with 1:12 left, but Ole Miss answered on baskets by White and Huertas to seal it.


 

 

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