The Pits

Ole Miss is now 0-3 at New Mexico in men's basketball and has been outscored 273-176 over those three contests. Maybe Saturday's 103-70 loss to the Lobos in the place they call The Pit should be the last trip made to that place.

After the home team jumped out to a 6-0 lead and pushed it out to a 28-18, a struggling Rebel team lost one of its inside players when DeAundre Cranston was ejected for swinging at a Lobo player. That was at the 7:09 mark and UNM moved out to a 49-32 advantage at halftime. Only a rainbow 3-pointer by Will Bogan from 25 feet just before the intermission buzzer made it that close.

New Mexico quickly jumped on Ole Miss in the second half and rolled. In the first five minutes the Lobo lead was 62-41. When Phillip McDonald nailed a trey with 7:31 left, the UNM lead was 30 points at 88-58, and the only mystery left would be the final score.

Andy Kennedy held nothing back in his postgame evaluation of the situation.

"It was a total embarrassment," said the third-year UM head coach.

But that's been the norm at The Pit for Ole Miss. However the most recent setback there continued to expose problems Ole Miss has with its inside game, and in this one basically everything else as well.

"We were not very good at anything defensively," Kennedy said after his team got outrebounded 43-26 in the contest. "They got to the rim for layups, and we tried to press them a little bit which I thought was effective. But at times we have no idea who we're guarding. We're trying to simplify it. We've talked for three days about (Chad) Toppert being a good shooter. He stood up and made plays. Their playmakers made plays and did their jobs."

Toppert had 21 points on 5-of-6 from 3-point land against the Rebels.

Chris Warrten, with just two points in the first half, led UM with 19 for the game. David Huertas had 14 and Zach Graham 12.

In addition to Toppert, Roman Martinez scored 17 points for New Mexico and had a career-high 12 rebounds. Martinez also had five steals and four assists. Daniel Faris scored 18 points and Tony Danridge 17.

Kennedy said his team did not fight, and that was the most disappointing aspect of all.

"They came right out and hit us in the mouth. The thing I'm the most embarrassed about is that we laid down," he said. "We had no fight and no toughness. It's the softest group of guys I've ever been around and that's going to change. That's something we can change. We've got to grow up, and we've got to grow up quickly."

They have two days to do so. The Rebels, who fell to 6-3 overall, host Alabama State in Oxford Monday at 7 p.m.

New Mexico improved to 6-4 and has won four games in a row. UNM head coach Steve Alford said the game was played at the pace his team wanted.

"The press at least slowed Mississippi down," he said. "They didn't get lay-ups or the transition game going. We scored at a high rate in both halves, and that always helps our defense. Our pace was terrific, our intensity was terrific, and hopefully we can build from today's game. Anytime you can beat a BCS team, you have to be pleased."

OM Spirit Top Stories