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February 22, 2012

Rebels blow early lead, lose at Tennessee

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Jeronne Maymon scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help Tennessee overcome a slow start and beat Ole Miss, 73-60, on Wednesday night.

The Volunteers (15-13, 7-6 Southeastern Conference) trailed by as many as 13 points in the first half and were behind 31-30 at halftime. Layups by Maymon and Trae Golden and a 3 by Cameron Tatum early in the second half added up to a 7-0 run that gave Tennessee its ultimate lead.

Jordan McRae came off the bench to add 16 points, including a highlight-worthy dunk that gave Tennessee a 47-37 lead with 11:20 to play. Demarco Cox answered with a layup at the other end, but the Rebels wouldn't get any closer.

The Volunteers committed just 10 total fouls and went 17 for 21 from the free-throw line in the second half alone. The Rebels shot 7 for 12 from the line for the whole game.

Ole Miss and Tennessee entered the game first and second respectively in rebounding in SEC play, but the Volunteers outrebounded the Rebels 40-28 and outscored them in the paint 36-28. Trae Golden scored 11 points for the Volunteers and Cameron Tatum and Dwight Miller both added 10.

Terrance Henry led Ole Miss (15-12, 5-8) with 15 points. Murphy Holloway scored 13 before fouling out of the game with 3:28 to play, and Nick Williams added 11 points.

"We've got to dig down and find whatever is left in us and battle and compete," Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. "Stop talking about it and do it. …The young guys are the least of our worries. We need our veterans to lead. Our young guys will fall in line."

The Volunteers struggled early against Ole Miss' zone defense and hit just one of their first eight shots. The Rebels hit seven of their first eight during the stretch to grab a 15-2 lead with 13:51 before halftime before cooling off.

Tennessee started attacking the paint more and answered with a 19-2 run that gave it a 21-17 lead with 6:07 in the first half. Seven of those points came from Miller, who only recently found himself back in the Volunteers' rotation with the indefinite suspension of Kenny Hall on Feb. 15.

Entering the game, Tennessee and Ole Miss were among six teams either tied or separated by one game in the fourth through nine slots in the conference standings. The victory allowed the Volunteers to hang on to at least a share of fourth place in the SEC with three more games left in the regular season.

Ole Miss plays host to LSU Saturday at 12:30 at Tad Smith Coliseum.


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