Act one: Ole Miss narrowly edges Southern Miss 81-79 overcoming a six point deficit in the last 1:19 of regulation snagging victory from the jaws of defeat.
Act two: McNeese State, bound and determined to upset a newly ranked Rebel squad, holds a 15 point lead with only 11 minutes remaining in regulation. The Rebels tenacious defense and poise results in a 31-point swing in a 16 point (83-67) victory.
Act three: The UTEP Miners fans back in El Paso might have been jangling keys at the three minute mark boasting a 70-58 lead over the 20th best team in the land. Eight minutes later, Ole Miss caps off a 33-11 run winning in overtime 91-81.
Seriously, Rebels, have some compassion on your fans. Three come from behind victories in a row? Mississippi is the most obese state in the union, fans will drop left and right at this kind of trend.
PG Chris Warren dropped a career-high 32 on the Miners though he was nearly non-existant in the second half. Warren had 17 in the first half in 18 minutes of play, then cashed in 11 more in a five minute overtime period. Get the ball in his hands, and watch the magic happen. The speed is still there even after a season ending knee injury last year could have hampered his ability to get up and down the court.
SG Terrico White (the Robin to Warren's Batman thus far) added 19 for Ole Miss and really got the Rebel rally going in the final three minutes by draining two key three pointers. White and Warren are continually leading the team in scoring, but one player with a massive wingspan showed up Wednesday as well.
C Reginald "The" Buckner "Stops here" (Chris Berman has apparently invaded our blog) had mostly shown flashes on defense this season with his propensity for blocking shots. Buckner scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in this game, while also blocking three shots. He was hot early on and has played well enough in my opinion to warrant more playing time. His free throw shooting was suspect to say the least (1 of 5 from the charity stripe), but that could be a conditioning issue, the result of being a true freshman.
At times, SF Zach Graham was a huge spark-plug for the Ole Miss offense throwing down 14 points and shooting three of five from behind the arc. He's making a case for being the go-to sixth man for the Rebels.
UTEP had the upper hand going into the last three minutes of play. C Derrick Caracter was a huge addition, literally and figuratively for the Miners. Caracter recently cleared eligibility issues from his transfer from Louisville and had a double-double with 15 points and 15 rebounds in the game. His fouling out in overtime was the final nail in the coffin in this contest. He'll be a big factor for this team moving forward into Conference-USA play.
The Miners were led in points by Randy Culpepper who couldn't seem to find his shot, going 2-12 in three point range. UTEP dropped to 5-2 on the year, but brighter days are ahead for this team that won more than 20 games last season.
The Rebels will play Centenary on Saturday, and I'm fairly certain most fans will chalk it up to be a lopsided victory. However, sources have disclosed to the Cup that the Rebels plan to spot Centenary 50, just to see if they can continue their escape artistry, another Houdini-like effort, in their quest for the Big Dance.