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Friday, March 11, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Kentucky 75, Ole Miss 66

By Mark Schlabach

ATLANTA -- Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight didn’t make many of his shots in his first SEC tournament game on Friday.

But Knight made the shots that mattered most in the Wildcats’ 75-66 victory over Ole Miss in the SEC tourney quarterfinals at the Georgia Dome.

Knight scored the Wildcats’ final seven points, after the Rebels pulled to within 68-66 on Chris Warren's 3-pointer with 1:46 to play. On UK’s next trip, Knight drilled a jumper over Warren to make it 70-66, and then Knight made five of six foul shots in the final 41.2 seconds to seal the victory.

Turning point: Knight, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., made two huge baskets down the stretch. Before hitting the jumper over Warren that all but sealed the win, Knight made a jumper to give UK a five-point lead with 4:18 to go.

Key player: UK freshman Doron Lamb, who has started the past seven games after mostly playing off the bench, scored 19 points on 7-for-10 shooting. The guard from Queens, N.Y., shot 3-for-4 on 3-pointers and had four rebounds and three assists.

Key stat: 1,998. Warren, a senior from Orlando, Fla., finished his four-year career with 1,998 points. He scored 20 against UK and might get a chance to break the 2,000-point barrier in the NIT.

Miscellaneous: UK’s highly regarded freshmen, Knight and forward Terrence Jones, shot a combined 8-for-26, including 0-for-8 on 3-pointers.

What’s next: Kentucky will play Alabama in Saturday’s semifinals. The Crimson Tide upset the ‘Cats 68-66 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Jan. 18. The Rebels finished the season with a 20-13 record and will probably have a chance to play in the NIT.