Carolina Calling

Following a disappointing loss to Alabama Wednesday, Ole Miss travels to South Carolina in search of their first road win of the season. Read about it inside.

Oh, the one that got away.

Maybe symbolic of the Rebels season thus far, but Wednesday's loss to Alabama was the closet Ole Miss has come to an SEC road win in quite some time.

The Rebels were narrowly defeated in Tuscaloosa, falling 76-73 in the game's final stages. Zach Graham, Terrico White and Murphy Holloway all had shots in the final 30 seconds to give the Rebels the lead, but they did not fall.

Rather, the Rebs now find themselves still in search of their first conference road win since defeating Georgia in the final regular season game of 2008.

"We had some good looks there at the end," said Andy Kennedy after his team fell to 10-8 overall and 1-3 in SEC play. "Terrico had a good look and Murphy had a good shot at the tip-in. We just left too many points on the table."

Ole Miss has been ever-so-close far too often this year. May it be West Virginia, Louisville or Florida, the Rebels have yet to find the winning formula in close games.

But with a road trip to Columbia in front of them, Ole Miss now has an opportunity to quiet their out-of-Oxford woes and put the demons of Alabama in the rearview mirror.

"Our guys have to continue to understand the consistency you need to have a chance," Kennedy said. "(After the Alabama loss) you hope you can grow from it.

"We have to continue to grow up quickly."

However, growing up is hard to do with a turnaround that offers a Gamecock team that continues to build confidence. Most recently, South Carolina edged Florida with a buzzer-beating layup by Zam Fredrick on Wednesday.

Carolina has won both of their league games at home against Auburn and Florida this season, but the Rebels have won eight of the last 13 meetings against the Gamecocks.

"We have a quick turnaround to go on the road again, so it's more mental than physical right now when you're dealing with a young group," Kennedy said.

USC enters the weekend with a 13-4 overall record and 2-2 mark in conference play under new head coach Darrin Horn.

Horn came to Columbia after five highly-successful seasons as the head coach of his alma mater Western Kentucky, and Kennedy has been impressed with the team he's built this season.

"It's always a challenge when a new coach comes into the league," Kennedy explained. "I was familiar with him when he was at Western Kentucky and he's implemented the same system of tempo and pace. He has an ideal team to do it with. They're obviously led by Devin Downey, who I'm very familiar with."

Kennedy coached Downey as interim head coach at Cincinnati and believes the junior presents significant challenges for the Rebels.

"It's a tremendous challenge to guard him in the open floor, which is where they put him," said Kennedy. "We have to be smart when we guard him, but we do have size on our perimeter with Terrico in the starting lineup. Assuming we continue to do that, it gives us three 6-5 guys on the perimeter. We'll have to use our size to contain him as best as possible."

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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