Square to Skyline

They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. Here's hoping. Tad Smith Coliseum, its gray roof and all, can cast an awfully dark shadow.

Ole Miss needed every bit of two overtimes Tuesday to advance to the NIT Final Four in Madison Square Garden.

But shortly after Murphy Holloway's deciding layup was good, the Rebels booked their trip to New York with a 90-87 win over Texas Tech.

It wasn't Ole Miss' best game of a three-game postseason homestand. Not by a long shot, especially considering those impressive wins over Troy and Memphis.

However, they did enough when it mattered most, and can finally give lone senior DeAundre Cranston his proper sendoff, even if it means spending some time crammed into a packed showing of Jersey Boys.

Emotions were high and the party was only beginning as players made their rounds to shake hands with fans postgame. All the while, Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," blared loudly from the loud speakers.

Yes, New York, from the Bronx Bombers, to Carnegie Deli on 7th Avenue or the Comedy Cellar down MacDougal Street, it's all well within sight. Win or lose, Ole Miss has made a once disappointing season memorable again.

And it never hurts to win 24 games, tied for the second-most in Ole Miss history, along the way.

"I don't want this to be the goal," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "The next step is to win the next two games and the championship. We'll have time to rest up a little bit, get refocused and go up there and win."

Some could argue Ole Miss snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. They'd have a point, too.

The Rebels did what they had all season: missed free throws, poor shot selection in crucial points of the game. Terrico White finished 0-of-6 in his 3-point attempts and had just six points with 3:57 to go in regulation and his team down, 61-57.

But as the energy in the building began to climb, this team responded. White went to the rack with a little over a minute showing in the second half for a conventional 3-point play. Hey, when those long distance shots aren't falling, do it the hard way.

Each time the Rebels fell behind, especially after a D'walyn Roberts dunk for a 76-75 Texas Tech lead at the 1:23 mark in the first overtime, fans erupted in support.

Holloway, with plenty of help from Chris Warren, may have been the hero, but all involved had something to do with the magic on display Tuesday.

"I thought the crowd had a lot of energy," Kennedy said. "We had guys cramping up, but you feed off the energy. It helped us."

Players were diving to the floor to save possessions. Every Texas Tech shot was contested in those final minutes. Zach Graham forced a turnover midway through the second overtime, White raced to pick it up, and created a Sportscenter highlight moment.

There was no denying who wanted this win more.

"We always play hard," Warren said. "We never stop playing hard. People think we're down, but we're resilient. We're not going nowhere."

"We just keep going hard," Holloway added. "We've been down 12, 9, but we always come back. We're going to keep playing hard until it's over."

Well, it's not over yet, Murphy. Save me a seat on the Staten Island Ferry.

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