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January 28, 2012

Ole Miss beats USC


At Oxford, Miss., the only field goal that Ole Miss needed to have in the final nine minutes was the one that sunk South Carolina.

Terrence Henry drilled a wide-open 3-pointer with 16.1 seconds to play for a four-point lead on Saturday, leading the Rebels to a 66-62 win and a return to the loss column for USC. The Gamecocks (9-11, 1-5 SEC) had hoped for their first SEC winning streak of the season but fell down on defense, as they did throughout the evening when it came to handling the ball.

The Rebels had been 0-for-7 from the field before Henry's shot.

USC had 13 turnovers, which led to 16 Rebel points. The Gamecocks had thought they left their slippery hands on the road at Auburn, where they coughed up 23 turnovers; instead, the hands followed them over the border to Mississippi.

The Gamecocks stayed close throughout and trailed 63-62 with just over a minute to play, and senior Malik Cooke on the line for 1-and-1. Cooke, a 79 percent free-throw shooter before the game, clanked the first shot off the rim and Ole Miss rebounded.

The Rebels called timeout with 13 seconds to play, and Henry was left wide open in the right corner. His shot swished through the net, Cooke drove and missed on the other end, and one-time Gamecock Murphy Holloway rebounded and was fouled.

Holloway missed each free throw, but stuck it to his former teammates in other ways - 14 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals.

USC shot 40 percent from the field but missed several chip shots in the first 15 minutes of the game, where rebounds and turnovers helped Ole Miss take the lead. The Gamecocks took the lead out of the halftime locker room, but quick, long-range shots and four turnovers from point guard Bruce Ellington gave Ole Miss the strength to start a 5-0 run, and the Rebels never trailed again.

Ellington had nine points but was 4-of-16 from the field, making him 8-for-30 over his last two games. Cooke led the Gamecocks with 17 points, Anthony Gill had 10 and Brenton Williams stroked three 3-pointers on his way to 15 points.

Ole Miss got 15 from Henry and a career-high 11 points from Jelan Kendrick, who hadn't scored in the last two games and hadn't attempted a shot in his last game. USC fell back into a tie with Georgia in the SEC cellar.

USC tips off at No. 14 Florida at 9 p.m. on Thursday, then faces a short turnaround before hosting No. 1 Kentucky at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Team SEC Overall
Kentucky 7-0 21-1
Florida 5-1 17-4
Vanderbilt 5-1 16-5
Mississippi State 4-3 17-5
Ole Miss 4-3 14-7
Arkansas 3-3 15-6
Alabama 3-4 14-7
Tennessee 2-4 10-11
Auburn 2-5 12-9
LSU 2-5 12-9
Georgia 1-5 10-10
South Carolina 1-5 9-11
Saturday's games
Alabama 72, Arkansas 66
Florida 69, Mississippi State 57
Vanderbilt 84, Middle Tennessee 77
Kentucky 74, LSU 50
Tennessee 64, Auburn 49
Ole Miss 66, South Carolina 62

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