By LARRY VAUGHT
Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said UK’s length not only led to a 44-24 advantage in points in the paint for UK, but also contributed to his two best players — Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers — going a combined 10-for-31 from the field in UK’s 80-64 win.
“Their length was problematic. They were switching ball screens. We are never very proficient at the rim, but in the first half our big guys were at least cleaning up and that’s what kept us in the game,” Kennedy said.
“But their length bothered us. We couldn’t stop them. They only missed 10 field goals in the second half and part of that was at the end. An Ole Miss Rebel did not grab a defensive rebound until two minutes were left in the half. I have never seen that.”
That’s because UK’s inside players finally went to work dominating the boards led by Willie Cauley-Stein, who had 18 points (7-for-8), 11 rebounds, six blocked shots, two assists and one steal. That’s better production than he’s almost had in the past five games combined.
“He was outstanding tonight,” Kennedy said. “He has shown himself to be a complete player and his length was very bothersome. He finished everything at the basket. Even when we got a stop, he was there to clean up and finish through contact.”