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Ole Miss vs. South Carolina basketball 2014 recap: Rebels avoid meltdown in Columbia

The Rebel roundballers flirted with disaster, allowing what appeared to be a sure win with 16 seconds left come dangerously close to another classic Andy Kennedy collapse.

Maddie Meyer

Well that was sketchy.

A last-second desperation shot by South Carolina fell short as Ole Miss narrowly avoided an epic WAOM collapse and escaped Columbia with a 75-74 win.

With 16 seconds remaining and the Rebels leading the SEC's worst team by four points, Jarvis Summers stepped to the free throw line. Game's in the bag right?

Summers, an 80 percent free-throw shooter this season, missed both. The Gamecocks hustled the ball downcourt, where Brenton Williams was promptly fouled by Demarco Cox* while attempting a 3-pointer (replay showed Cox getting all ball, of course). Williams then knocked down the three free throws to pull South Carolina to within one.

On the ensuing inbounds play, Marshall Henderson's errant pass sailed into the backcourt, where South Carolina recovered it. The Rebels actually caught a break when the refs failed to see the Gamecocks player signaling for a timeout with about five seconds to play. The ball eventually went out of bounds off Anthony Perez, setting South Carolina up with one final chance with 1.8 seconds on the clock.

Sindarius Thornwell's last-second 3 was never even close.

Cox's late foul was his fifth of the game, making him the third big man to foul out for the Rebels. Aaron Jones also left in the final minute and Sebastian Saiz -- a game removed from a career-high 20 points against LSU -- scored just two points before exiting.

With the rest of the front court in foul trouble, Perez stepped up to drop a team-high 22 points, adding four rebounds and three steals. He drained a huge corner 3 with just over two minutes left to push the Rebel lead to five.

Henderson had an awful 5-of-17 shooting game, but still managed to post 19 points. Summers was a much more efficient 5-of-9 to match him at 19.

Ole Miss improves to 12-5 and is now 3-1 in league play. While the hot start is promising, the three SEC wins are against teams with a combined 1-10 conference record, so temper that excitement for now.

*I'm writing this quickly so I can, ya know, not spend my Saturday night blogging, and therefore don't have time to execute the limitless Cox vs. the Cocks jokes available. I'm leaving that to you, dear commenters.