Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rebs Continue Strong Play

Andy Kennedy's Ole Miss basketball team is started to draw some attention. With a 75-69 victory on Saturday over Alabama, the Rebels are now tied for first place in the SEC Western Division. The first time they have been at this mark in a decade. This win also guaranteed the Rebels a winning record for the first time since the 2003 season. The Rebels are now 16-8, 5-5 in the SEC.

The Rebels came out of the dressing room fired up and ready to play. They led for quite a time in the first half, before they went on one of their typical droughts. The Rebels got a little cold in the first half and the Tide stepped up their defense. I have to give it to Alabama, they played some of the best defense I have seen this year in the first half. They were able to stop the Rebels with a well executed zone. Top that with some cold shooting on behalf of the Rebels and the Tide took a 38-35 halftime lead.

The second half was up and down for both teams with the Tide going up seven before Todd Abernathy drained a three that started an 11-5 run to bring the game close. At that point the Rebels steppe up the defense and made a couple of steals to make the game alive and exciting again. Ole Miss took the lead for good around the three minute mark and never looked back.

Bam Doyne led the Rebels with a quiet 17 point followed by 15 from Clarence Sanders and 14 from Dwayne Curtis. It was not three pointers that made the difference from Clarence Sanders, it was key free throws down the stretch that helped secure the Rebels lead for good. If it was not for Sanders making the free throws the Rebs lead would have been a lot harder to keep.

This win was big for the program. This win over a ranked team turned alot of heads for those outside of Mississippi who have not been paying attention to the Rebels. This win means alot for the fanbase. The announced crowd of over 9400 was the largest in school history. As one Ole Miss basketball fan put it after the game, "Ole Miss basketball is back."

The Rebels take on LSU on Wednesday. The Tigers are very talented and are coming off a final four appearance just last year. However, they have struggled in some games this year. The Tigers held off a late rally by the Rebels earlier this year in Baton Rouge to claim a victory over Ole Miss.

Kennedy has vowed for his team not to loose at home. If he can keep this promise his team is going to turn alot more heads than it already has. The Tigers and Rebels tip off at 7:00 from the Tad Pad. The game will be televised on Lincoln Financial.