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December 22, 2013

Hall's 3-pointer lifts Mercer, buries Ole Miss


Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy meets with the media following the Rebels' 79-76 loss to Mercer Sunday.

OXFORD, Miss. -- Langston Hall's 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left gave Mercer a 79-76 win over Ole Miss on Sunday afternoon at Tad Smith Coliseum.

That was not, however, where the game was lost, at least not in the mind of Rebels coach Andy Kennedy.

Instead, Kennedy pointed at a sequence late in the second half when Ole Miss failed to build on a seven-point lead and instead allowed Mercer to go on an 8-0 run to set up Hall's late-game heroics.

"It always comes down to the same thing wherever you go," Kennedy said. "Players make plays. In a competitive game such as tonight, the team that makes plays is typically going to win. Mercer made the most plays. They deserve to win.

"We had three layups. One was point-blank. Derrick (Millinghaus) on some penetration and then Aaron (Jones) on a put-back, but we had three layups and we missed them all. Next thing you know, you look up and we're down again. They were able to withstand it.

"At 67-60, right there is the game. Forget about the last shot. The kid made a great shot, but that's the game. It's 67-60 and you've got three layups. Now are they open-floor, park layups? Of course not. This is college basketball. You've got to be able to score through people and around people and we didn't get it done."

Ole Miss (8-3) did not get it done. The Rebels had chances. After Jarvis Summers' layup cut Mercer's lead to 74-73 with 1:12 left, Ole Miss got a critical stop and drew an off-ball foul on Ike Nwamu to put Henderson on the free throw line with 21 seconds left. Henderson, however, missed both free throws.

Mercer (8-4) got a pair of free throws from Hall to take a 76-73 lead with 17 seconds left. Henderson tied the game at 76-76 with a 3-pointer with 13 seconds left, but Ole Miss couldn't get the game to overtime thanks to Hall's heroics.

"Langston Hall has amazing poise personally and as a team leader,"
Mercer coach Bob Hoffman said. "I felt great about it when he went up to shoot. The way we won it, this may be the best win we've had on the road in the six years that I've been here. We were in control, got
hit with a big blow from a great club and regained control to win it.
That can happen at home sometimes, but rarely on the road."

Nwamu led Mercer with a team-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Hall added 17 and Jakob Gollon finished with 10.

"What an incredible game (Nwamu) had," Kennedy said. "We knew coming in he was a driver and he drove us and drove us and drove us. He put his body on our body and he powered right through and finished play after play after play. They were making that run and we were breathing new life into them."

Ole Miss got 21 points from Summers, 18 from Henderson and 10 from Aaron Jones off the bench.

Mercer led by 12 points at halftime and by as many as 16 before Ole Miss went on a 31-8 run to take that 67-60 lead.

Ole Miss is off until Dec. 30 when the Rebels travel to Western Kentucky.


Ole Miss forward Sebastian Saiz talks to reporters following the Rebels' home loss to Mercer Sunday. Saiz had four points and 11 rebounds in 20 minutes off the Rebels' bench.


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