Super Tuesday Indeed!

Somehow, Malcolm White said afterward, they decided to forget about the score and just play the game. Great idea.

But who can actually do that in real competition like SEC basketball? Or even in a game of horse?

How about a team that's been through so many ups and downs, mostly downs, that it was their last best hope?

And on this night against the hottest team in the SEC, it worked. Perfectly.

Ole Miss beat Kentucky on ESPN's Super Tuesday as basketball junkies nationwide watched an effort of monumental proportions by the Rebels.

Oh yeah. The score. I almost forgot. (Just following Malcolm's lead.)

It was 85-80, but it wasn't that close. The Rebels led by 13 with a minute left and by 11 when Andy Kennedy cleared the bench with 18.6 seconds to go in what has to be one of his biggest wins ever.

"Tonight's win was huge," said Kennedy, for the first time in weeks appearing to be upbeat, even relieved, about things.

Wins over Kentucky will certainly do that. Wins against anybody for this year's Rebels will do that.

"Our kids refused to lose. They made the plays we needed to make. We came out of the gate in the second half with the right approach for the first time in a couple of games," Kennedy said.

Down 39-37 at the break, it was David Huertas who got the Rebs rolling. His 3-pointer seven seconds into the second half put Ole Miss up 40-39.

The Wildcats retook the lead 41-40 on a couple of Patrick Patterson free throws. When DeAundre Cranston scored on a layup to make it 42-41, the Rebels never trailed again. Nor was the game tied again.

Zach Graham's 3-pointer gave Ole Miss a 10-point lead at 53-43 with 15:10 left.

Kentucky cut it to three points at 58-55 on a Jodie Meeks 3-pointer. The stat of the game, at least one of them, was Meeks with no field goals in the first half and only 4-of-15 and 21 total points when it was finally over. This, a guy who has six 30-point games this season and a high of 54 against Tennessee, a UK single-game record.

Wildcat head coach Billy Gillispie didn't want to attribute any particular aspect that led to his team's downfall.

"It's a team game," he said.

By the numbers, his team is now 16-5 overall and 5-1 in SEC play.

The Rebels' numbers now read 11-9 and 2-4.

Ole Miss outrebounded UK 45-40, including 30-26 on the defensive end.

Malcolm White had a lot to do with those numbers, although he probably wasn't keeping up with it during the game. He scored 20 points and had six rebounds. It was his best night as a Rebel.

"I just wanted to come out and play hard and with energy and help my team win," said the sophomore center who had struggled much of the season.

The most inspirational performance of them all had to come from Terrico White. The freshman point guard wasn't supposed to play. But he felt good in shoot-around today and told his coach he could go.

"What he had would have taken some two months to recover, and it took him two hours, it seemed," Kennedy said. "They said it would take 48-72 hours (since the injury against USC Saturday night) before the pain would subside. He had a bone bruise and I wanted to make sure we didn't do anything to risk injuring him further. He felt pretty good today and I asked him if he could run, and he said yes. I asked him if he could jump, and he said yes. I said, ‘You're starting.'"

But Terrico, his knee iced afterward, hurt during the game.

"When I dunked it," he said of a first half jam that brought the crowd to its feet," it hurt."

But it didn't hurt him enough not to play. He and Huertas paced the Rebs with 21 each.

Ole Miss was 10-26 from 3-point range. Kentucky was 7-28.

"Our hope was they'd go 7 for 28, and that's what they did," Kennedy said, probably not writing down precisely those numbers in the pregame, but you get the picture.

Gillispie wasn't impressed with his team's outside shooting. For one thing, he said they took too many of them.

"That's not us," he said of the 28 treys attempted.

So the Rebels may not have worried about the score of this one before the game or during it. But they'll probably remember those final numbers for the rest of their lives.

It was that kind of game, one of those memorable ones they'll talk about in these parts for years.

And rightly so. It was only Ole Miss' 12th win ever against Kentucky in men's basketball. That's against, ahem, (pardon me while I run over this number quickly), 95 losses.

The attendance figure read 6,852, but there weren't that many here. That was tickets sold, I'm sure. But who's into numbers, right? Certainly not the Rebels.

"We just didn't want to let our guard down," said Graham, who did a number on UK scoring machine Meeks all night long. "We just wanted to stay strong."

And not worry about the score. That's what he meant.

It shouldn't come as a surprise to those who have followed this mostly young and inexperienced team that for some reason it handles things beyond its collective years. It just doesn't seem to worry about much.

It just goes back to work. And plays the games.

Virtually nobody would have predicted this outcome. But it's why the games are played. And sometimes the outcome can be, well, unpredictable.

Graham said Malcolm White's play was a huge key and will be into the future.

"Mac came out from the first quarter, I mean the first half, and played with intensity through the second half," said Graham, a college sophomore two years removed from high school basketball.

Ah yes, the young Rebels. Still learning. Just not worrying as much about the score anymore.


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