BLOG — Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy shook his head as he looked at the stat sheet given to him immediately after Saturday’s Southeastern Conference road game at Auburn.While Kennedy had obviously taken part in the Rebels’ 63-61 win over Auburn at a sold-out Auburn Arena, he still couldn’t believe his Rebels actually won shooting a horrendous 4-for-17 from the free-throw line.
“Last game we got the yips (at the free-throw line) and it becomes contagious. As I look at the stats, and numbers don’t tell everything, but what won us the game was our ability to defend down the stretch,” Kennedy said. “We held them to 28 percent (shooting) in the second half in their own building. We outrebound them. We didn’t turn it over which means we got possessions. Now we weren’t very efficient possessions simply because we go 4-for-17 from the foul line. We were up by four or five and had the chance to stretch but our inability to hit foul shots kept them in the game.”
Marshall Henderson was Ole Miss’ hero in Thursday night’s win over Tennessee. LaDarius “Snoop” White was the MVP of Saturday’s game as he led the way with 17 points in 31 minutes of action.
“He was the MVP, no question. I thought he did a great job on Frankie Sullivan. Frankie is a very good player and I thought he did a great job of making him work for his baskets,” Kennedy said. “He also hit his shots for us. I wish he hadn’t shot that 3 (pointer) there at the end but he was 7-for-9 from the field and did a great job for us.”
White, who helped seal the victory by corralling a rebound with seven seconds left and pushing it ahead to Reginald Buckner, said he understood his role on the team and what he had to do to help garner the victory.
“I just wanted to attack. Last game, I was kind of down,” said White, who only took one shot against the Volunteers. “I knew I could do better. I know that for a fact and I just wanted to come out tonight, attack and show my game.”
Henderson finished the game with 15 points, while Jarvis Summers had 14. Murphy Holloway had a tough night on offense as he finished with just five points thanks in large part to his 1-for-6 showing at the line.
Auburn was led by Chris Denson’s 18-point effort. Sullivan, meanwhile, scored 12 points but was just 3-for-11 from the line. He missed a game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer.
Tigers coach Tony Barbee said the game didn’t come down to Sullivan’s miss and credited the team’s effort in a fourth straight SEC loss.
“I am disappointed in the loss, but I am proud of the way they fought in this game. It is like I told the guys, we all wanted to win. They were fighting their tails off to win, but it is a key indication that when we don’t care who gets the glory and we are doing this together and doing it for each other, we are a pretty good team,” Barbee said. “I am disappointed in the loss. We had our opportunities. The game wasn’t lost on that last play. The game was lost because we had some guys that had wide open looks all night long that didn’t convert. All night long. We shot 36 percent.”
Ole Miss’ win improves them to 17-2 overall and 6-0 in the SEC for the first time in school history. Ole Miss is also off to its best start in school history after the first 19 games.
Up next for the Rebels is a home matchup with Kentucky Tuesday night on ESPN. That game will begin at 8 p.m.
Below is Kennedy’s brief remarks in the tunnel before his radio interview with Keith Kessinger.
(January 27, 2013)