Date story published: Sunday, January 29, 1989
OXFORD, Miss. -- Gerald Glass is as thick as he is tall, though it is doubtful he truly stands the listed 6-foot-6. Tim Jumper looks immobile. A blue wrap, skintight were it not for pads and a brace underneath, runs the length of his left leg. You wonder how he can even walk.
But he does. Both do. Quickly. Swiftly. And yesterday, as a duo, they were deadly. Glass, a junior forward, scored 24 points. Jumper, a sophomore guard, added 17. And together they led Mississippi to a 70-65 Southeastern Conference victory over visiting Kentucky at Tad Smith Coliseum.
It was UK's third conference loss against five victories. The Cats are 10-10 overall. It was Ole Miss' fourth straight league victory. Ed Murphy's team is 11-6 overall, 5-3 in league play as well. The last time the Rebels' won five straight conference games was 1937-38.
Yesterday, the Rebels did it with offense. Glass, a transfer from Delta State averaging 26 points per game, hit 10 of 18 shots. Jumper, who missed the Rebels' first eight games this season because of a knee injury, made seven of 14. Each had six rebounds. Glass had three assists.
"Glass," UK forward Reggie Hanson said, "is the best player in the league."
"Jumper," Cat guard Derrick Miller said, "is the hardest player I've had to guard. He's so big he can post you up inside and he can hit the shot outside."
But the Rebels also did it with defense. And to the thinking of Ed Murphy, the Ole Miss coach, they did it with defense first. That was the key.
"We watched Kentucky on film and when they did a real good job, it was when teams we're overplaying them defensively," said the Ole Miss coach afterward. "When the other team denied the ball on them, they got back-doors. We wanted to get back in the gaps and pressure them. We were determined to try and make them beat us with the jump shot."
UK could not. As Glass and Jumper together sparked the Ole Miss offense, UK's came apart in front of this crowd of 7,375. Unable to get the ball inside, they would either force a drive (often resulting in a charge) inside or miss the jumper outside.
"They did do a good job cutting off the lanes," said Miller, who led UK with 21 points. "I wish I could have taken more advantage of that. But Coach Sutton wants you to work the ball around a little before you shoot."
And once the work was done, the shot would not drop. The Cats shot 38.7 percent for the game, 33.3 the first half. It was UK's worst shooting performance since the loss to Indiana on Dec. 20. The Cats shot 35 percent that night.
LeRon Ellis, averaging 17.4 points per game, scored all of four yesterday, all in the second half. Matched up against 6-11 Sean Murphy (seven points, 11 rebounds), son of the Rebel coach, Ellis missed eight of 10 shots.
"We were very concerned about Ellis," said Ed Murphy. "But Sean was able to bother his shot enough to make him miss."
"I guess I just wasn't concentrating enough," said Ellis. "Sean contested my shot a couple of times and that caused me to miss and maybe I tried to change it when I shouldn't have."
The result of which was a fast Ole Miss start. "And in our previous games on the road," said Eddie Sutton, the Kentucky coach, "we've been fortunate enough to get off to a good start and take the crowd out of the game. Today, we didn't do that."
Ole Miss did. Especially Glass and Jumper. The Rebels jumped to a 13-5 lead. Glass scored eight of the first 13, the final two a jam off a lob pass from Jumper.
Kentucky cut it to 17-14. But Jumper sank a three-pointer. Then Glass threw one in while being knocked to the floor by Miller. The free shot made it 23-14. "I've seen Gerald enough now," said Murphy, "where he only blows my mind once or twice a game."
It was 32-22 Ole Miss at the half. Glass had 14. Jumper had nine. Their 23 was a point more than UK's halftime total.
"I thought our shot selection was not very good because we were trying to play catch-up," said Sutton. "I thought we just looked out of sync."
"We didn't play with the intensity we needed to in the first half," said Miller. "The second half we picked it up."
"But every time it looked like we might make a run," said Sutton, ''they'd make a big play."
Five times Kentucky cut the Ole Miss lead to six points. Five times the Rebels responded. Cut to 36-30, Glass scored inside. Cut to 40-34, freshman guard David Midlick hit a clutch three-pointer. Cut to 48-42, Jumper came up with a loose ball inside and banked it in off the glass. Cut to 50-44, Glass hit from the right baseline while being fouled. He made the free shot.
"You're always afraid of losing a game," said Murphy, "but not to sound arrogant, but I always thought our defense was in pretty good control."
Finally, when a Miller three-pointer cut it to 66-60 with 1:53 remaining, Midlick made two foul shots. With 47 seconds left, he followed with two more, making it 70-60. Richie Farmer's three-pointer with four ticks left, cutting the margin to five, was as close as UK got. Miller had 11 the first half, 10 the second. But he hit only seven of 19 shots. Chris Mills, the freshman forward, scored 12 points the second half to finish with 16.
Glass's 24 points marked the 15th time in 17 Rebel outings he has scored 20 or more. He also made four steals and blocked three shots.
"I've been in a little slump lately," he said afterward, "but I was pretty confident about it today."
"He's just an all-around great player," said UK's Hanson, who tried in vain to contain the junior. He can shoot outside or take it inside."
"I had seen him on film but not in person," said Sutton. "He truly is an outstanding college basketball player. He puts a lot of pressure on your defense and at the same time he's an excellent defensive player. He made a couple of big steals that really helped them."
The question now is could Ole Miss steal the SEC? The Rebels have won seven of their last nine, including their last four.
"We're not on a roll or any of that baloney," said Murphy. "We're just a pretty good team. We're healthy now and our center's playing better. We're just playing good right now."