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Ole Miss 68, Arkansas 66 or How the West Was "Won"

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Within the past week, two players (Eniel Polynice and DeAngelo Riley) have been suspeded indefinitely, and the Rebels have tacked two important wins onto their NCAA tournament resume. We're inching closer and closer to being off the bubble and in. Of course, the next task is to beat Tennessee - they won't lose to LSU in the opening round, they just won't - which is a team that is 6-0 against the West and still managed to be a three-seed in the SEC tournament.

Yes. The SEC West is that bad.

But onward, to discussion about the game we played on Saturday in the friendly confines of Spud Owlstone Arena (of Weebel and Bullfraud fame).

Just like they did in wins against Southern Miss, McNeese State, UTEP, Georgia, Auburn twice, and Alabama twice, the Rebels got behind early, looked apathetic for most of the game, then pulled out a victory late in the second half.
This time though, they did it against a team that's at least decent.

For those of you who missed the last four minutes or so, we were down by eleven late in the game only to be down one with fifty seconds left. Murphy Holloway missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Terrance Henry went to the basket and grabbed the rebound. He dished it out to Chris Warren who drained a three. We took the lead at that point and wouldn't relinquish it.

 Clicky the linky for analysisy.

Obviously, Chris Warren felt like winning on Saturday. Warren scored 31 points, his career high in conference play. His game against Arkansas is the first time all season that I've seen him regularly effectively drive to the basket without failing due to hie height. Warren played like a man possessed, and it's a good thing.He scored 31 points. The rest of the team combined for 37, including a paltry five points from Terrico White.

Thanks Terrico. 2-8 with four fouls and without drawing a single shooting foul from the opposition. The funny thing is that there are still fans who are worried Terrico White will declare for the draft. Sorry, but scoring fourteen points  a game in the SEC West doesn't get an average defender drafted. Especially not when that player plays on a team that lets its offensive players loose when scoring. Terrico has had a tremendously disappointing season, but I'm excited that he'll be back next year. Nick Williams should help soften the loss of Polynice, and the two incoming Dandy Dozen freshmen will really help the team.

Murphy Holloway gets the hustle award again. Six points, eleven boards, three blocks, six steals. That's a good stat line for a player with Murphy's abilities. Another thing I'd like to point out is that when the game was over, Murphy Holloway ran around excited. The rest of our team strolled off the court. If only some of the rest of our players would learn a few things from Murphy Holloway, we would be a much more fun team to watch.

All of a sudden, Trevor Gaskins is reminding people why it is that many fans were upset when he went down last season. Gaskins scored 13 points on Saturday and played tough defense. He did foul too much, fouling out, but all-in-all his game was good.

Everyone else played a role. Reginald Buckner blocked four shots, setting the freshman block record at Ole Miss in the process (I think but I don't wanna look it up because I'm a bum). Terrance Henry scored six points, including one great dunk off a steal. Watch the highlights in the video widget to the right. This dunk comes around the 1:10 mark. Zach Graham didn't do much offensively, scoring only three points, be he played strong defense and only registered one foul in 27 minutes.

More importantly than anything else, we kept our hopes alive. No Arkansas player scored more than thirteen points, which points to our ability defensively, and we forced nineteen turnovers. We still gave up far too many open three looks, but a lot of those shots didn't go in, and when the game was over, we had more points than Arakansas.

Check back soon for information on our tournament resume.