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November 21, 2008

Rebels fall to hot shooting Utes

Chris Warren scored 22 points near his hometown of Orlando, but it was not enough to overcome a powerful Utah team, as Ole Miss (2-1) suffered its first loss of the season, 83-72, to the Utes (2-1) Friday night in the opening round of the Glenn Wilkes Classic at Daytona Beach, Fla.

"The effort was good, we played hard, we just have to do the basics better, " Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We had a lack of patience, guys in the wrong places. I hope it can be a good learning experience. You hate to lose the game, but we've got to learn, and we've got to get better soon. Our guard play has changed a little in the last week. Now you have Terrico White and Zach Graham having to play more minutes. Tonight they were tentative, and you can't be tentative against a team like Utah."

White and Graham have been pressed into action after the Rebels lost sophomore guard Trevor Gaskins about two weeks ago, then learned they had lost the most experienced player on the team - Eniel Polynice - this week. Both players are victim of season-ending knee injuries.

Meanwhile, Shaun Green and Lawrence Borha had 19 points apiece to lead Utah to the victory.

All but two of Green's points came in the first half when the Utes built a 46-36 halftime lead. The 6-foot-8 senior came off the bench and connected on five of his first six 3-point attempts.

"We made some pushes in the second half, but then toward the end we broke down on both ends and made some poor decisions defensively," Kennedy said.

The Utes, who hit only eight 3-pointers in their first two games, went 9-of-16 from beyond the arc in the first 20 minutes against the Rebels (2-1).

Warren, Ole Miss' preseason All-Southeastern Conference point guard, had a game-high 22 points, while the Rebels also got 18 points from David Huertas, who was coming off a 27-point effort Tuesday night against South Alabama.

Luke Nevill, Utah's 7-foot-2 center from Australia, had 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

"We knew we wouldn't have anyone that can match his size, so we wanted to dig in on him," Kennedy said. "We paid a lot of attention to him throughout the game, and I think we did a pretty good job. They just weren't missing those outside shots."

The loss was Ole MIss' first non-conference regular season defeat since the 2006-07 season.

"Utah played a very good game," Kennedy said. "They were doing the basics better. They beat us at our own game."

Ole Miss returns to action Sunday at 4 p.m. (CT) and will face Marshall.

"I hope we can learn from this," Kennedy said. "We are only three games into what I hope is a 30-plus game season. We have to learn, rebound quickly and get ready for a tough Marshall team. They are playing tomorrow, and we're off. I think that gives us an advantage if we take it and learn from tonight's mistakes.

Marshall faces Green Bay at 2 p.m. on Saturday. The Herd lost to Morgan State in a game played just before the Ole Miss - Utah contest.

(An AP news release contributed to this report)

Mississippi State NEWS


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