Nov. 16, 2007
OXFORD, Miss. - It wasn't the homecoming the four Lamar University players from the Magnolia state were looking for as Mississippi ran past the Cardinals, 108-70, Friday night at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Lamar dropped to 1-1 on the season while Ole Miss improved to 3-0. The Cardinals return home Monday to host Wyoming in a 7 p.m. game at the Montagne Center. The Cowboys won last year's meeting, 69-64, on Dec. 16, 2006 in Laramie, Wyo., and own a 3-0 all-time series advantage.
The Cardinals hung tough early, scoring the game's first three points on a free throw by Lamar Sanders and a dunk by Justin Nabors. A Kenny Williams jumper game the Rebels a 6-5 lead heading into the first media timeout at 15:43.
Darren Hopkins made one of two free throws to tie the game at 6-6. Eniel Polynice and Chris Warren hit consecutive jumpers to ignite a 12-0 run. Trevor Gaskins capped the spree with a layup at 11:20 that made the score 18-6. The Rebels would lead the rest of the way.
"We were coming here to win. That was our goal," said second-year Lamar coach Steve Roccaforte. "We brought these four (Mississippi) players here and we have an assistant coach that's from around here. I thought it was the right thing to do. I've known Andy (Kennedy) for a long time and it's not easy for us to schedule games. I thought this was a good early game for us to play.
"Ole Miss has a good team. They won the SEC West last year and they have some talented, young players. They're very athletic, they play hard and they do what Andy asks them to do."
Hopkins' layup at 8:35 pulled the Cardinals within 10, 22-12, but that's as close as Lamar would get the rest of the game. Zach Graham nailed a three-pointer and David Huertas scored seven straight points that fueled a 12-2 run that put Ole Miss up 34-14 at 6:57.
Leading 53-31 at halftime, the Rebels opened the second half with a 7-2 run to extend their lead to 27 points, 60-33. A Sanders three-pointer at 16:00 made the score 62-40. The Rebels responded with an 11-0 run to push the lead to 33 points, 73-40, with 12:13 remaining in the game.
Ole Miss built its lead to a game-high 44 points, 102-58, on Brian Smith's three-pointer that put the Rebels over the century mark for the game.
Sanders, a senior from Hickory Flat, Miss., led the Cardinals with 14 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the field. He also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, had four steals, two blocked shots and one steal.
Nabors, a junior from Holly Springs, Miss., added 13 points on 6 of 10 shooting and grabbed four rebounds. Currye Todd, a senior from Byhalia, Miss., added 11 points. Kenny Dawkins, a junior from Holly Springs, Miss., had a tough-luck night shooting the basketball, hitting just 3 of 10 attempts in scoring seven points.
As a team, Lamar shot 40.3 percent (27-of-67) from the field, 22.2 percent (4-of-18) from 3-point range and 63.2 percent (12-of-19) from the free throw line. The Cardinals committed a season-low 17 turnovers.
Dwayne Curtis and Kenny Williams both recorded double-doubles to lead Ole Miss. Curtis scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Williams added 14 points and 15 rebounds. Chris Warren chipped in 16 points and dished out eight assists. Huertas added 13 points and Polynice 12.
As a team, Ole Miss shot 56 percent (42-of-75) from the field, 31.6% (6-of-19) from 3-point range and 78.3 percent (18-of-23) from the free throw line. The Rebels outrebounded the Cardinals 53 to 30. Ole Miss outscored Lamar 50 to 36 in points in the paint.