Sanders, Curtis help UM get past Alabama A&M

Clarence Sanders said it wasn't really anything special that got him going early in Ole Miss' 81-57 win over Alabama A&M in Oxford Friday night.

"They (his teammates) kept giving me the ball and I kept shooting," said Sanders, who scored the first 12 points of the game for the Rebels on four 3-pointers.

But most importantly?

"I kept hitting them," said the senior guard, who had 19 points in the first half and 23 for the game.

The Rebels needed his fast start, too. The four treys only gave Ole Miss a 12-11 lead at that point, but the Rebs never trailed again.

"Alabama A&M has a young team, and in scouting them we thought they would try to press us and create some offense off their defense," Ole Miss Coach Andy Kennedy said. "We knew once we started attacking their pressure, we'd have some shots on the backend of it. (Clarence) was the beneficiary of that."

Ole Miss expanded its first-half lead to as much as 11 points (39-28) before taking a 44-34 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Rebels quickly built on that lead and were up 16 points (50-34) in the first couple of minutes of the second half on a Bam Doyne dunk, a Doyne jumper, and a layup by Dwayne Curtis.

A 26-point advantage at 77-51 on a Curtis layup with 3:38 to go was the Rebs' largest lead.

Kennedy's troops accomplished some things against the outmanned opponent. Most of all, however, they got another victory.

"We got a win and that's what we wanted," he said after an announced crowd of 3,831 had watched the contest. "These can be tough games. Mentally these can be ‘trap' games. Sometimes kids are thinking about going home. Their focus isn't always where it needs to be. We saw some of that tonight."

But not enough to prevent the Rebels from moving to 11-2 on the season with one more non-conference game left – a 1 p.m. contest on Sat., Dec. 30 at Saint Louis.

Curtis led Ole Miss with 25 points in this one. In addition to Sanders' 23, Kenny Williams had 13 and Doyne had 11.

Ole Miss shot 44 percent (34-78) from the floor and 26 percent (6-23) from 3-point range. From the free throw line, the Rebels were at 70 percent (7-10).

Alabama A&M shot 33 percent (20-60) from the field, 35 percent (9-26) from 3-point range, and 62 percent (8-13) from the free throw line.

The Rebels ate the Bulldogs up on the boards, outrebounding the visitors 57-30. Ole Miss had 46 points in the paint to just 12 for A&M.

Alabama A&M, which fell to 5-5 on the season, was led by Cornelius Hester with 19 and Trant Simpson with 17.

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