Successful Senior Salute

On Senior Night in Oxford, the Ole Miss Rebels got their 20th win of the season with an 81-72 victory over Arkansas and moved one step closer to their postseason goals. But there's still work to be done.

The Rebels, 20-9 overall and 6-9 in Southeastern Conference action, play a key road game at Georgia Saturday afternoon. That game would have been less important had they lost to the Razorbacks.

But they didn't, and they still have life. Now they try to find "new" life on the SEC road, which they haven't been able to do for seven games so far this season.

"We have to break through on the road," Andy Kennedy said, his team with one last shot to get an SEC victory outside of Tad Smith Coliseum. "We would love to play all our games here at home, but that's not how it works. If only we can just carry a little of this magic on the road."

The magic in this one came in the form of finishing – at least in the second half. In the first half the Rebels led by 12 points (35-23) with 4:29 to go on a David Huertas 3-pointer but only by four (39-35) by the time the halftime buzzer sounded.

In the second half Ole Miss again moved out to a big lead, this time by 15 points, the last time at 68-53 after a couple of free throws by senior Jermey Parnell.

And while Arkansas made yet another run, the Rebels didn't fold.

The Razorbacks went on an 11-2 run to cut the UM advantage to 70-64 with 3:47 to go. Huertas missed a 3-pointer, followed at the other end by an Arkansas 3-pointer miss. After Eniel Polynice got the rebound, the Rebels moved downcourt and Huertas nailed a trey for a 73-64 UM lead with 2:11 left.

Arkansas cut the lead to 73-68, and after a steal by Patrick Beverly had a chance to do even more damage. But Beverly missed a 3-pointer with 1:24 to go and Polynice again claimed the rebound. He was fouled and headed to the line.

Ole Miss made eight of 12 free throws in the final 1:19 to seal the win.

"Give Mississippi credit," said Arkansas head coach John Pelphrey, whose team fell to 19-10 and 8-7. "They played hard and they played well. We had a chance but didn't make plays in the second half when we needed them."

Ole Miss was paced by Dwayne Curtis with 23 points and 11 rebounds. Time after time, the 6-foot-8 center got layups and baskets in the paint to lead the Rebel cause.

Kennedy said it was nothing new from Curtis.

"Dwayne's been our most consistent player," he said.

Huertas had 19 points, Polynice 12 (along with eight rebounds), and Chris Warren 10.

Beverly led the Hogs with 19, while Darian Townes had 18 and Gary Ervin 14.

The Rebels' four seniors – Curtis, Parnell, Brian Smith, and Kenny Williams - were honored before the game.

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