Hogs Lose 'Must Win' To Ole Miss

OXFORD, Miss. -- So how did Ole Miss upset Arkansas 73-70 before just 4,019 fans in Tad Smith Coliseum on Wednesday night?

Let us count the ways.

• Rebels guard Bam Doyne, scoreless until nine seconds remained, made two free throws for a 73-70 lead, then rebounded Hogs guard Jonathon Modica's turnaround 3-point try at the finish.

• Ole Miss center Dwayne Curtis manhandled Arkansas with 19 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out in the final seconds, and Rebs senior forward Londrick Nolen scored 20 points off the bench.

• In the first half, the Rebels (14-10, 4-7 in the Southeastern Conference) made 14 field goals to Arkansas' 9.

• Ole Miss outscored Arkansas 38-26 in the paint.

• After taking an early 6-0 lead, Arkansas (16-8, 5-6 SEC) watched Ole Miss get started with a 3-point shot by point guard Todd Abernethy with 3:40 gone.

• The Razorbacks squandered a 28-22 lead in the first half and a 38-33 halftime lead.

• Twice, Arkansas gave up the ever-popular three-point play in reverse as Ole Miss rebounded its own missed free throw and got a putback.

• Hogs forward Darian Townes double-dribbled once when he apparently forgot he had picked up his dribble.

• UA forward Charles Thomas, gifted with a second free throw chance after an Ole Miss lane violation with Arkansas trailing 66-58, missed the second shot again.

• With 1:11 left and Ole Miss up 69-65, Hogs guard Eric Ferguson (15 points) was called for fouling Abernethy in backcourt, although Ferguson never made contact with Abernethy. The Rebels guard made one free throw. "He stumbled, and I guess the referee thought I fouled him," Ferguson said.

• With 33.9 ticks left and Abernethy having just missed two free throws with a 70-67 Rebs lead, Dontell Jefferson rebounded for Arkansas, raced down court and lost the ball to Nolen.

• Ole Miss, clearly the more aggressive team all night, outrebounded Arkansas 43-37.

• The Rebels played hard-nosed defense and had a livelier-looking bench than Arkansas.

"We should have come out with more fire than we did," Ferguson said. "We came out with no fire."

Finally, in the final two minutes-plus, Arkansas tried to rally from a 66-57 deficit.

"Definitely, we thought we were going to win," said Arkansas' Ronnie Brewer, who matched Modica for team scoring honors with 16 points. "We had made some plays, made some steals. It's not like we go on the road thinking we're going to lose."

Rebels coach Rod Barnes, who saw his team end a seven-game losing streak, said, "We've been trying to change things and work things and I'm thankful to God that our kids hung in there, didn't give up and believed in ourselves."

In the next breath, Barnes said, "You have to give Arkansas credit. They refused to go down and kept fighting to the end."

But Hogs coach Stan Heath was less charitable in his assessment of Arkansas' play.

"I thought the Mississippi State game early and this game tonight were two of our performances that really ranked at the bottom," Heath said. "We gave up too many offensive rebounds (22), didn't share the ball, didn't go inside enough, didn't defend. We really can't afford to give any games away at this point of the season. I think Ole Miss playd the way we should."

Heath pointed to the opening moments of the second half, in which Arkansas missed some chances to score, as a big key.

"Ole Miss went on a 14-7 run and that was a turning point," Heath said. "They got some momentum going and we could never get the lead."

Thomas said the Hogs would still hold their heads high, but he acknowledged, "This constant losing on the road weighs on you mentally. Every game is a must-win for us -- you've gotta have it. Tonight we just didn't get it. We have to take a positive from every loss and go for the gold."

The next opportunity for Arkansas comes at home Saturday against Florida.

"They're good," Heath said simply. "We need a win. There's more pressure on us to get it."

Heath's job is secure for next season, as Barnes' should be.

"I told my wife before the game I had a feeling this might be one of our better games," Barnes said. "I felt we were loose and having fun. I told Londrick that we couldn't continue to allow this (losing) to continue to happen. I've always thought that any time Ole Miss scores 72 points or more, we should win."

Brewer was asked if he could put his finger on any one thing Arkansas should have done better Wednesday night.

"Not really," he said. "Our rebounding. But that's just my opinion."

Brewer had just one rebound himself, while Modica led the Hogs with six.

Barnes said he breathed a sigh of relief when Doyne made those two late free throws.

"He gave me a look before he shot them that didn't make me feel too comfortable," Barnes said. "He frowned."

But Doyne soon made Barnes smile, as Ole Miss improved to 12-5 against Arkansas in Oxford.

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