ATLANTA — After Kentucky beat Ole Miss 75-66 Friday, a teammate had to restrain forward Reginald Buckner from going after UK's DeAndre Liggins.
A television videographer taped the incident under the stands in the tunnel that both teams used to get from the court to their locker rooms.
Liggins said tempers began to rise when more than once he tried to snatch the ball from an Ole Miss player after the referees called a violation on the Rebels. Once Ole Miss star Chris Warrren glared at Liggins when the UK player tried to take the ball from his grasp.
"I was talking (and) he was talking," Liggins said of himself and Buckner. "The refs told us to stop. I stopped talking. But he was still talking, so I told the refs."
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As the teams went to the locker rooms after the game, Buckner walked slowly. Liggins came by clapping his hands. Suddenly, Buckner moved in a threatening manner toward Liggins while trying to get free of a teammate's hug.
"He was frustrated," Liggins said. "I don't know why. I guess it was because they lost."
Liggins, whose emotional style has led to two technical fouls this season, said he did not move toward Buckner. "I know people are watching," he said. "Everybody. The crowd. You all (the media). I can't do anything stupid."
Ole Miss forward Terrance Henry described what happened in the tunnel as "just some people bumping their gums." When asked about Liggins, Henry said, "I don't even know who he is."
When advised of Henry's comment, Liggins said, "Well, I don't know who he is either."
UK spokesman DeWayne Peevy said he was unaware of any repercussions resulting from the incident.
Miller keeps rolling
Darius Miller stayed hot, making six of 11 shots and scoring 15 points. That marked his seventh straight game in double figures. In that span, he's made 41 of 77 shots (53.2 percent) and 16 of 32 three-point attempts.
Teammate Terrence Jones noted the difference from the regular-season game at Ole Miss, when Miller famously declined to take an open shot.
"Ever since the Ole Miss game, I feel he's had confidence, not passing on any shots," Jones said. "He knows he'll make shots."
When asked if the players were surprised that UK fans made up the vast majority of the 21,875 in the Georgia Dome, Knight said, "We know we have adamant fans. We heard stories from past players."
When asked about the semifinal game against Alabama, UK players spoke of a tough, physical test.
"We were down 20," Liggins said of that Jan. 18 game in Tuscaloosa. "We made our run back. If we start from the beginning playing well, we'll be fine."
Brandon Knight credited the Tide with seizing the initiative that game.
"Just us really outworked, outhustled, letting them get 50/50 balls and letting them be tougher than us," he said. "It's definitely a challenge (to play Alabama again).
"We had something to prove tonight against Ole Miss. I think we'll have something to prove against Alabama, showing we can be a tough team."
ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi apparently inspires Alabama by continuing to keep the Tide on the metaphorical bubble or not receiving a NCAA Tournament bid.
"We're not going to stop," Alabama forward Chris Hines said. "We want to thank Joe Lunardi for not having our back. It seems like every time we win, he just pushes us further out. I watch ESPN. I listen to the things they say. So now they can listen to what I have to say. We're not going to stop until we are the automatic qualifier."
Hines called the first meeting, which Alabama won 68-66, a physical test.
"I remember us going up 20 and them coming back and my legs giving out on me because it was such a tough game," he said. "It will be like that again, probably."
Alabama big man JaMychal Green remembered UK's comeback as at least partly a self-inflicted wound.
"We started celebrating," he said of the 20-point lead early in the second half. "We let the emotion get the best of us. The emotion got us tired. That's why they came back."
When asked if he thought Kentucky wanted a rematch with Alabama, Hines said. "I'm pretty sure they think they want to play us again." ... Jones grabbed seven rebounds to move past Sam Bowie (276) and Chris Mills (277) on UK's freshman list. He increased his total to 282, which is second to DeMarcus Cousins' 374. ... Knight's six assists increased his total to 126, which ties Dirk Minniefield for second among UK freshmen. First is John Wall with 241.