Memphis came to town ranked No. 5 nationally and played like it. The Tigers moved to 8-1 on the year with a 72-49 win against Ole Miss - their lone setback so far this season a 70-67 loss to No. 1 Duke.
With the Rebels trailing only 23-22 with six minutes to go before halftime following a Todd Abernethy 3-pointer, a late run by the visitors pushed the Memphis lead to 39-26 at halftime.
The Rebels got no closer than 11 points the rest of the way. The Tigers' lead ballooned to as much as 24 points when a couple of free throws by Waki Williams made it 65-41 with 5:27 to go.
"They're a team of runs," Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes said of the Tigers' 16-4 spurt to close the half. "We made some mistakes and some turnovers and missed some shots, and they took advantage."
Tigers head coach John Calapari was pleased with his team's effort.
"Especially defensively," said Calapari, who evened his six-year mark against Ole Miss head coach Rod Barnes to 3-3. "We played well on defense. I like it when it's like that."
Calapari said his team was good Saturday, and that Ole Miss isn't as bad as the final 23-point setback it took before an announced crowd of 6,186.
"With the way they play defense, this was good for us," Calapari said. "They're a good team. I saw how they played against Saint Louis (a 77-64 Rebel win five days earlier)."
Barnes said he wasn't disappointed in his team's effort, especially on defense.
"Defensively I did feel good," Barnes said. "They're averaging 89 points a game, so holding them to 72 was good. I thought our kids played pretty hard and were emotional at times."
But it wasn't enough against one of the nation's top teams in 2005-06.
"We'll learn from this," Barnes said. "Now our kids know what it's like to play a Top 5 team. We'll be better after today because of this."
Ole Miss was led in scoring by junior guard Clarence Sanders with 13 points, the lone Rebel in double figures.
Rodney Carney had 19 and Shawne Williams had 13 for the Tigers.
Ole Miss shot a dreadful 30 percent (16-54) from the floor, and getting much done inside was tough against the tall and talented Tiger front line. Memphis shot 44 percent (28-64).
From 3-point range Ole Miss was 5-26 (19 percent), while Memphis was 5-19 (26 percent).
From the free throw line, the Rebels were 12-22 (54 percent), while the Tigers made 11-17 free throws (65 percent).
"We had our chances today, especially early," said Barnes, whose Rebels fell to 6-3 on the season and host Arkansas State Monday at 7 p.m. in C.M. "Tad" Smith Coliseum. "Down the stretch we lost some confidence. It was an uphill battle all day. We'll have to lick our wounds and move on. We don't have time to do anything but that."
Rebels have rough time against Tigers
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