LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Antwain Barbour's patience during a
season-long shooting slump paid off.
Barbour, a senior backup, made four 3-point shots while Erik
Daniels had a career-best 24 points inside to lead No. 5 Kentucky
past Mississippi 71-61 Wednesday night.
It was the 800th Southeastern Conference victory for Kentucky,
college basketball's winningest program.
Barbour had made just 1-of-13 shots beyond the arc in Kentucky's
first 15 games. But he said he never gave up on himself.
"I've always been patient, and patience is a key," he said.
"I've never lost confidence. You have to stay confident, and coach
continued to show confidence in me."
Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said Barbour gave a needed spark as
the Wildcats held off a series of second-half Mississippi rallies.
"I'm glad to see Antwain make the open shot," Smith said.
"That will be good for us and him."
"Antwain was big," Barnes said. "We didn't want to lose the
game to Fitch or Hayes. We just picked the wrong man tonight."
Barbour finished with 12 points, one short of his career high.
His final 3-pointer put Kentucky ahead 64-56 with 2:10 left and
stymied Mississippi's final rally.
Fitch added 14 for Kentucky (14-2, 4-1 SEC). Hayes had nine
rebounds for Kentucky and a career-high five blocked shots.
"Chuck Hayes is an all-conference player," Barnes said. "He's
physical, tough and does all the dirty work. People think about
dunks and 3s, but he's the heart and soul of the team."
Daniels, a senior, was 9-of-12 from the field and 6-of-8 from
the free throw line for Kentucky.
"The guys got me the ball in great position, and the shots were
falling," he said. "You have nights like that sometimes."
Daniels said his career-best performance was secondary to
Kentucky keeping pace in the conference.
"The most important thing is we got a win," he said. "Getting
a career high wouldn't have meant anything if we'd lost the game."
Reed hit six straight points to pull the Rebels to 53-50 with
"We thought with four or five minutes to go, you couldn't get
in a better position than that," Barnes said.
But the Rebels got no closer than three points. The Wildcats
pulled ahead 61-53 on Hayes' layin and free throw with 2:56 left.
Barbour followed with his last 3-pointer and Daniels slammed a dunk
to make it 66-58 with 1:21 left.
The teams traded leads for much of an error-plagued first half.
The Wildcats took an early 10-4 lead after a Daniels made a
layup and free throw. Mississippi countered with an 11-3 spurt,
capped when Fox made a pair of 3-pointers to give the Rebels their
first lead at 15-13.
Mississippi twice opened five-point leads -- its biggest of the
game -- on baskets by Reed, the last putting the Rebels ahead 27-22.
Daniels scored Kentucky's last nine points of the half to tie
the game at 29.
Fitch hit a 3-pointer after the break to make it 32-29, and the
Wildcats never trailed after that.
Kentucky was 23-of-45 (51.1 percent) from the floor and 8-of-19
from beyond the arc. Mississippi finished 22-of-50 (44 percent) and
was 9-of-17 from 3-point range.
The Wildcats made 17-of-22 free throws, while Mississippi hit
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