Dores Close

NEW ORLEANS, La. -- Nick Williams sat at his locker, staring at his feet.

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He was visibly disappointed. Yes, Ole Miss had lost, 65-53, to Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the Southeastern Conference tournament here Saturday. But he was more upset with himself. So he stared at the floor, his hands propping up his face.

"I just couldn't get it going," he said. "I had some looks. The ball just didn't fall, so I was trying to do some other things, rebound and play the best defense I could. You know, it's not all about scoring."

Williams, who two nights ago scored a career-high 22 points, was held scoreless in the loss. He was 0 for 5 from the field and 0 for 2 from 3, and he didn't even attempt a free throw.

"It's tough. Every game is tough," he said.

Williams wasn't alone. Terrance Henry had his struggles, as well. Henry, a senior leader and the team's best scorer by per-game averages, didn't score in the first half. He finished with eight points on 2 of 8 shooting.

"It wasn't really challenging. I was just getting too deep," Henry said. "I wasn't jump-stopping, wasn't sticking to playing my game. Jeffrey Taylor did a great job defending me tonight. We've just got to look ahead."

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said for Ole Miss to win games, certain areas have to fall its way, including Williams and Henry producing points.

Nick Williams

"Ultimately, we try to put our guys in a position to make plays," Kennedy said. "When your two leading scorers are two freshmen, Jarvis (Summers) and Snoop (Ladarius White), that's not going to bode well for you, either."

Summers finished with a team-high 15 points. White had 13 off the bench in 24 minutes. Ole Miss lost the rebounding battle, another key statistic, 36-29. Murphy Holloway had 10 rebounds. Reginald Buckner had two, though he missed time due to an ankle injury and was in foul trouble.

"You've got to have guys step up," Kennedy said. "If it wasn't for Nick in the game that he had round one, we wouldn't have been here very long. Terrance made huge plays last night or we wouldn't be in this position."

Tough going for Buckner:

Near disaster struck Ole Miss 16 seconds into its semifinal loss Saturday.

Buckner, who has dealt with a chronic knee issue all season, hit the floor in pain after he rolled his ankle fighting for a loose ball. He lay flat on the floor for an extended period as he was observed by trainers, before being helped off the floor and through the tunnel to the locker room.

"Ankle sprain," Kennedy said. "I didn't see it. Reg was fighting through it."

Buckner returned to the game with just over 12 minutes to go in the first half. He finished the game with seven points, two rebounds and one block in 19 minutes. He fouled out near the end of the game.

Whether Buckner will be available for the postseason -- be it the NCAA tournament or the NIT -- is unclear. Kennedy wasn't sure of the severity of the injury postgame, though the ankle was significantly swollen as Buckner made his way through the locker room after the game.

"I don't know the severity of it," Kennedy said. "He said that he tweaked his ankle. He came back. We tried to keep him warm as much as possible, but obviously in 19 minutes with him having two rebounds, he wasn't nearly as effective as we would have hoped."

John Jenkins
Associated Press

Jenkins terrorizes Ole Miss, again:

Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins has made a living out of terrorizing Ole Miss.

Jenkins, who scored 26 points in the only other meeting of Vanderbilt and Ole Miss in February, scored 23 points Saturday to send his team to the SEC tournament finals against Kentucky Sunday at 12 p.m.

Jenkins was 7 of 16 from the field and 5 of 13 from 3. Thirteen of his points came in the decisive second half, as did three of his 3s.

"John Jenkins, what a terrific shooter," Kennedy said. "Single-handedly, he put them in the championship game with his shooting. I thought our zone was effective at times, and then we would lose him and he made us pay time and time again."

"He's real good. He's the best shooter in college," Summers said. "He did what he had to do, and he's real experienced."

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