Date story was published: Friday, January 30, 1987
OXFORD, Miss. -- Kentucky's season of dubious distinctions continued last night when Mississippi snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Wildcats by winning 76-65.
Kentucky hadn't lost to Ole Miss since 1982 (67-65 here). UK had lost only five times in 74 previous meetings with the Rebs.
All that was rendered meaningless last night, as was UK's invincibility at Rupp Arena earlier this season.
Ole Miss, 10-7 overall and 3-5 in the Southeastern Conference, took charge in the second half.
The Rebels outscored the cold-shooting Cats 25-8 over an 11-minute span. The run erased UK's 42-37 lead and gave Ole Miss a 62-50 lead to protect in the final five minutes.
UK got no closer than eight. The loss dropped the Wildcats to 11-6 overall and 4-5 in the SEC, the latter good for a tie for fifth with Vanderbilt.
Kentucky and Ole Miss took a respite from this season of surprises during the first half. The teams played according to form in the first 20 minutes, meaning a lot of defense and baskets that were hard to come by.
UK trailed 33-31 at intermission with the margin coming in a predicatable way. With 46 seconds remaining and the scored tied at 31, Rob Lock missed the front end of an one-and-one. It was Kentucky's fourth missed free throw in eight first-half attempts.
Ole Miss worked the clock and took the lead when Eric Smith spun and hit a 15-footer on the baseline despite Irv Thomas' defensive pressure. The shot gave the Rebels their first lead since the opening five minutes.
If there was a surprise, it was Mississippi's shooting early. The Rebels entered the game hitting only 44.9 percent of their shots. Against UK, the Rebels hit five of their first six, scored the game's first six points and led 10-4 with 16:07 remaining.
Thereafter, Ole Miss returned to form, hitting just six of its next 21 shots.
Rob Lock, Ed Davender and Rex Chapman led UK's comeback.
Davender sliced into the lane and was fouled while hitting a 10-footer. His three-point play began a 10-0 run that vaulted Kentucky to a 14-10 lead.
Lock followed with a flying dunk on the fas tbreak.
UK could have stalled when Lock banged his knee on the floor diving for a loose ball at the 15:02 mark. It was the same knee Lock had bruised twice earlier this season.
But Davender hit two shots, the second a three-pointer to give UK its 14-10 lead with 14:08 remaining.
The two teams traded baskets over the next six minutes. Ole Miss worked inside for seven straight points.
Chapman, feeling better after a case of the flu, scored eight straight points for UK. He sandwiched two three-pointers around a spinning shot in the lane.
With Ole Miss misfiring (40.6 percent in the half), UK inched ahead.
Paul Andrews hit a baseline jumper to give UK its largest lead, 27-22, with 6:43 left.
Free throws brought Ole Miss back. The Rebels made five of six in a 90- second stretch whiile UK made just two of four.
The free throws allowed Ole Miss to tie it at 29-29.
Davender's penetration gave UK a 31-29 lead.
But a turnover and missed free throw allowed Ole Miss to come back.
Davender threw a feed too high for Thomas. Then Lock missed a front end of a one-and-one with 46 seconds left after blocking a layup attempt.
Smith's shot with two seconds left gave Ole Miss its two-point margin at halftime.
UK took charge early in the second half. The Cats made their first five shots, while Ole Miss missed nine of its first 10. That left Kentucky ahead 42-37 with a television timeout was called with 15:58 remaining.
UK took the lead 34-33 on a three-pointer by Chapman from the right corner.
The rest of UK's baskets in the run came closer to the basket.
Lock took a pass from a penetrating Davender and slammed. James Blackmon and Chapman each cut to the hoop for baskets.
When Richard Madison took a touch-pass from Blackmon on the fast break, his layup put the Cats ahead 42-37 with 16:17 left.
Prosperity didn't last long. In less than three minutes, Ole Miss scored eight straight points to lead 45-42 at the 13:54 mark.
Over the next 7 1/2 minutes, Ole Miss outscored UK 14-3 to assume a 51-45 lead.
In that span, UK made just one of eight shots. Four of the misses came on shots within two feet of the basket. Each went in and out.
UK's frustration reached a peak when Derrick Miller's three-point attempt from the corner hit the side of the backboard.
Meanwhile, Ole Miss ran its offense and got good shots.
Joe Ayers, who had eight points in the run, hit an 18-footer to give the Rebels the lead at 43-42 with 14:37 remaining.
Another perimeter shot by Ayers at 11:35 extended the lead to 49-45.
Roderick Barnes took a pass from Ayers for a short jumper and the lead was 51-45.
Only Chapman could score for Kentucky after Davender hit a 15-footer at 12:21 and until Davender made two free throws with 5:02 remaining.
Chapman banked a 15-footer from just right of the foul line to cut the Ole Miss lead to 51-47.
But Charles Prater hit a free throw. He missed the second, but beat Davender to the rebound.
Prater fed Keith Kessinger who hit a three-pointer to push the lead to 55-47.
Chapman's three-pointer cut it to 55-50, but Ole Miss scored the next seven points to assume a commanding 62-50 lead,
Center Ronnie Sims' banker from the foul line was like a knife in the back.
Yet another Chapman three-pointer cut the deficit to 64-55 with 4:17 remaining.
But Prater answered with a three-pointer from the top of the key to make it 67-55.
The countdown to a rare Ole Miss victory over Kentucky was on.