Posted January 30, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Mississippi wasn't shy about taking the ball to the basket Tuesday night, even with Kentucky's accomplished shot blocker Nerlens Noel roaming the paint.
That confidence was impressive. The results were not.
Noel blocked a school-record 12 shots, dominating on the defensive end as the Wildcats beat No. 16 Mississippi 87-74, snapping the Rebels' nine-game winning streak.
''(Noel) was just unreal to me,'' Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway said. ''He's the best shot blocker to ever play the game. He doesn't even have to score a point. He can change the whole game.''
Saying Noel is the best shot blocker ever might be slight hyperbole. But for one night, it was hard to argue.
Kentucky coach John Calipari - who is always a tough critic - said Noel played well but was still struggling with consistency. Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy was in a more complimentary mood.
''He was the difference in the game,'' Kennedy said. ''I think we can all agree with that. An incredible defensive presence.''
Kentucky (14-6, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) looked like it might run away with the win, taking a 73-56 lead with 10 minutes remaining after trailing by one point at halftime. But the Rebels roared back with 16 straight points, cutting the deficit to 73-72 with 4:22 left.
Ryan Harrow nailed a 3-pointer to stop Ole Miss' run and Kentucky was able to hold on for the road victory. Noel was terrific in the final few minutes - flying all over the court with his distinctive flattop haircut - blocking four shots despite playing with four fouls.
Ole Miss (17-3, 6-1) was led by LaDarius White's 22 points while Marshall Henderson added 21. Henderson made 5 of 19 shots from the field, including just 2 of 11 from 3-point range.
While Noel was patrolling the paint on defense, Kentucky got a career-high 26 points from Kyle Wiltjer. The 6-10 sophomore hit 10 of 19 shots from the field, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range.
''I tried to be aggressive,'' Wiltjer said. ''They were playing my shot pretty tightly, so I was able to drive a little bit and my teammates found me. We did a good job in transition. It was a great team win.''
Archie Goodwin scored 24 points and Alex Poythress added 15 for Kentucky.
Goodwin made 6 of 11 shots from the field and 12 of 14 from the free throw line. He had six rebounds and four assists.
''We're getting better as a team,'' Calipari said. ''That's a good win.''
Ole Miss led 38-37 at halftime despite making just 13 of 44 shots (29.5 percent) from the field. Henderson led the Rebels with 16 points and White had 15.
Kentucky stayed close thanks to Wiltjer's 17 points while Goodwin added 10, but the Wildcats struggled at the free throw line, making just 10 of 20.
Both teams struggled with foul trouble for almost the entire first half and had to dig deep on the bench for bodies.
But once the second half started, the Wildcats were back at full strength and their offense exploded. Wiltjer hit two early 3s to push Kentucky ahead and the lead grew to 73-56 with 10 minutes left.
Kentucky's offense was good during that stretch, but the Ole Miss defense was just as bad. The Wildcats made several easy baskets in transition and off offensive rebounds.
And with Ole Miss needing points, Henderson was mostly silent in the second half. The Rebels came back anyway, with the stunning run that cut the deficit to 73-72 with 4:22 left.
Once again, the Rebels were let down by their defense. Harrow hit the wide open 3-pointer and the Wildcats were able to slowly put the game away. Harrow finished with 13 points.
''We got a little rattled, but we regrouped,'' Wiltjer said. ''I'm proud of the guys for stepping up. That was huge for us in that situation.''
Ole Miss shot just 28 of 85 from the field (32.9 percent). The Rebels did outrebound Kentucky 52-45 and grabbed 26 offensive rebounds, but the poor shooting was tough to overcome.
''Our guards shoot a combined 10 of 38 from the field,'' Kennedy said. ''That's not going to get you much.''
Murphy Holloway became Ole Miss' all-time leading rebounder on Tuesday, passing Walter Actwood's record with his 946th rebound in the second half. The 6-7 senior is the only player in the SEC averaging a double-double, but was mostly quiet against Noel and the Wildcats with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Follow David Brandt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
After his 12-block night vs Ole Miss, Nerlens Noel is now on pace to break Anthony Davis's shot block record at Kentucky. Noel has 94 through 20 games, while Davis had 186 in 40 games. Of course, the odds of Noel playing 40 games is really small, but still - being on pace is impressive enough. Who was the better shot blocker? While the raw numbers are slightly in favor of Noel...
Kentucky's Nerlens Noel is among 12 players announced by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as a mid-season candidate for the Wayman Tisdale Award honoring the nation's top freshman player of the 2012-13 season.
Everyone was invited last night as Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel racked up 12 blocks in a victory over #16 Ole Miss. Kyle Wiltjer scored a career high 26 points, and Archie Goodwin had his best game since November (24 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6-11 FG, 12-14 FT). Not even the presence of Marshall Henderson could overshadow Noel’s dominance on the defensive end. The 12 blocks...
Kentucky center Nerlens Noel has repeated as the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday.
A record-setting block party for a Kentucky Freshman and the Battle for Tennessee goes down to the wire.
Kentucky's Nerlens Noel set a school record with 12 blocked shots while Kyle Wiltjer and Archie Goodwin delivered 26 and 24 points, respectively, in the Wildcats' 87-74 win at Ole Miss.
Kyle Wiltjer scored a career-high 26 points and Nerlens Noel set a school record with 12 blocked shots as Kentucky beat No. 16 Mississippi 87-74 on Tuesday night.
Kentucky (14-6, 5-2 SEC) looked like it might run away with the win, taking a 73-56 lead with 10 minutes remaining. But the Rebels roared back with 16 straight points, cutting the deficit to 73-72 with 4:22 left.
The Midseason watch list for Freshman of the Year has been released by the United States Basketball Writers Association. The Wayman Tisdale Award is given to the best freshman on April 15th in Oklahoma City. Nerlens Noel is named on the watch list for the award, and is the only freshman in the SEC on the list.
Jordan Adams, UCLA
The strength of this Kentucky team will be the frontcourt. Leading the way is the top recruit in the country in Nerlens Noel. Noel is almost the same player that Anthony Davis was minus the offensive skills. He is just a freakish athlete with great length that is a dominant rebounder and shot blocker.For a big man Noel is an excellent passer. He needs to get a little...
The court of Tad Smith Coliseum reads Ole Miss. But on Tuesday night, it was owned by Kentucky forward Nerlens Noel. Just ask Ole Miss forward Murphy Holloway.
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) -- Kyle Wiltjer scored a career-high 26 points and Nerlens Noel set a school record with 12 blocked shots as Kentucky beat No. 16 Mississippi 87-74 on Tuesday night.
Kentucky (14-6, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) looked like it might run away with the win, taking a 73-56 lead with 10 minutes remaining. But the Rebels roared back with 16 straight points, cutting...
With the “Tad Pad” rockin’, the ‘Cats come into Oxford looking for their first signature win of the season. A victory against the SEC co-leader, the SEC’s leading scorer’ and the #16 team in the nation will qualify. The Rebels came into the contest with a perfect conference record and only 2 losses on the year. Oh yeah, and it was a “white-out”. Another special event...