Warren's Way

Ole Miss needed one shot. Every person in Tad Smith Coliseum knew who would take it.

The ball went to Chris Warren. His downtrodden team trailed, 69-68, with 10 seconds remaining. Two Kentucky defenders shadowed his every move. So Warren dribbled. And dribbled. And dribbled. A screen was set on DeAndre Liggins. Warren was left alone, one-on-one with Terrance Jones.

He pulled up. Jones hesitated. Warren faded back, precious seconds ticking away. All 8,243 fans, mostly draped in Ole Miss garb, stood in anticipation, like shaken soda cans ready to erupt. Not one eye was turned away from the smallest player on the court.

Warren released.

"It felt good. From my angle, it looked good," Warren said.

It was good. Chaos ensued. The ground trembled. Kentucky called timeout, allowing time for head coach John Calipari to design a play. The Wildcats found Doron Lamb, who had a good look from beyond the 3-point line, with two seconds left. But his shot missed wide left.

Rebel bench explodes

Ole Miss, of a 1-5 Southeastern Conference record, had beaten No. 10 Kentucky (16-5, 4-3).

The win, which moved the Rebels to 14-8 (2-5) overall, was their first win over a top-10 opponent since beating No. 6 Alabama in 2002.

"A lot of guys take big shots. Great players make big shots," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said.

"Since I've been playing with Chris, I think every shot he takes is going to be good," junior forward Terrance Henry said. "I felt like he was well overdue for that one, anyway. That was a good shot for him. That's what he does."

Ole Miss is now 5-15 against ranked opponents under Kennedy. The other four wins -- Alabama, Clemson, Vanderbilt and Kentucky -- came over teams ranked no higher than 15th in the standings.

"He makes a tough shot," Calipari said. "I wanted to make sure it was a contested shot. If he makes it, we'll have time to run our play. The kid made a tough shot. You've got to give him credit."

Warren led four Rebels in double figures with 22 points on 9 of 15 shooting. He made four of his seven 3s. Zach Graham followed with 16 points. Reginald Buckner and Henry had 12 points apiece, with Buckner adding five rebounds.

But the story was Warren, whose heroic 3-pointer was the 300th of his career. He's now fifth in SEC history in career 3-pointers. The Orlando, Fla., native, often overlooked nationally, was trending on Twitter after the game. His shot quickly made YouTube.

Warren, though, has never been the selfish type. Here he stood, in the bowels of a coliseum where he's made himself one of the program's all-time greats, acknowledging only a win his team desperately needed.

"It was a big shot. Hopefully, there are many more to come," Warren said. "But as long as we won, I'm good."

Ole Miss shot 43 percent (27-63) from the floor for the game, and was 47 percent from 3. Kentucky shot 49 percent (25-51). The Wildcats won the rebounding battle, 36-27. Ole Miss caused 18 Kentucky turnovers -- a season high for the Wildcats -- and had 11 steals.

Jones had 22 points to lead Kentucky. The decorated freshman also had 12 rebounds. Lamb had 20 points and Brandon Knight had 15.

The Rebels return to action Saturday at Arkansas at 5 p.m.

"A fire, it starts with a spark," Henry said. "All we needed was a spark to jumpstart this fire. That win for us, that's our spark. We're going to go on a roll now."

"No question it was a high-level basketball game," Kennedy said. "I think we've shown before we can compete. It was nice to show we can win these type games against a top-10 team. Now it means nothing if you don't put it together."


OM Spirit Top Stories