Rebs struggle past Alcorn State

In their final game in 2005, the Ole Miss Rebels won their third-consecutive contest in an 82-69 victory over the winless Alcorn State Braves at Tad Smith Coliseum. The Rebels now have only Western Carolina (7-7) standing between them and the SEC conference schedule. Game time against the WCU Catamounts is set for 7 p.m. CST on Tuesday, January 3.

In a game that featured Mississippi's two oldest universities, sophomore center Dwayne Curtis' 25 points and 9 rebounds led Ole Miss to an 82-69 victory over the Alcorn State Braves in front of 1,717 fans at Tad Smith Coliseum.

"We did not play like we've been practicing," said eighth year Ole Miss head basketball coach Rod Barnes. "We're pleased to be 9-3, but we didn't play well. I was kind of surprised by our play tonight. We can't have any more nights like tonight."

"Give Alcorn a lot of credit," Barnes added. "Their kids played hard and with a lot of determination. After watching how they had played against Arizona State, Sam Houston, and others, I'm sure they felt they had a chance to come in here and get their first win."

With Curtis' 25 points, the Auburn-transfer has now scored 48 points and pulled down 18 rebounds over his last two games after his 23-point, 9-rebound outburst against Southeastern Louisiana.

Juniors Bam Doyne and Todd Abernethy and sophomore Jermey Parnell joined Curtis in double figures against Alcorn State with 12, 12, and 11 points respectively.

As a team, the Rebels shot 47 percent from the field on 27 of 58 shooting and 40 percent from the three-point line. Ole Miss also made its free throws, draining 24 of their 32 attempts for a 75 percent clip. The Rebel bench outscored its counterpart 22-11.

The winless Braves (0-9) grabbed an early 10-7 lead on Clif Douglass' two free throws. Ole Miss answered with a 17-2 run, anchored by Bam Doyne's three-pointer, to take a 24-12 lead.

But Alcorn State responded. The Braves, trailing 34-19 with just over seven minutes left in the first half, went on a 10-0 run to close the gap to 34-29. The Rebels led 43-37 at the half.

Ole Miss quickly grew the lead to double digits when Mike Smith hit a layup to give the Rebels a 51-39 advantage.

But the pesky Braves continued to hang around, and the Rebels were unable to deliver a knockout blow.

With Alcorn State trailing 62-55 with just under ten minutes left in the game, the Braves went to the line to cut the lead even further after James Kendrick was fouled by Jermey Parnell. Alcorn State, however, put Delvin Thompson at the free throw line and garnered a technical foul.

Sophomore Rebel Brian Smith went to the line and drained both technical free throws, sparking a key 8-1 run that put the Rebels up by double figures 70-56.

Alcorn State pulled within 70-63 in the waning minutes of the game and had several opportunities to pull closer. Trailing 70-60, Clif Douglass had a breakaway steal and was intentionally fouled by Ole Miss' Doyne. But Douglass could only make one free throw, and the Braves could do nothing on their ensuing possession.

The Rebels pushed the lead back out to double digits and won by the final score 82-69.

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