Ole Miss Too Much For K-State, 86-74

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The backcourt trio of Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice and Terrico White combined for 65 points, as Ole Miss advanced to the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off Championship game with an 86-74 win over Kansas State on Friday night at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico.

With the win, Ole Miss improves to 4-0 on the season and will meet No. 5 Villanova (3-0) in the title game of the tournament on Sunday at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN2.  K-State suffers its first loss of its young season and will face No. 18 Dayton (3-1) in the third-place game on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. CT on ESPNU.  The Wildcats are now winless in three all-time meetings with the Rebels.

Ole Miss connected on 56 percent from the field in the win, including 63 percent in the second half.  It marked the highest field goal percentage by an opponent since Kentucky shot 68.8 percent against K-State at the Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 28, 2008.  The Rebels were also lethal from the free throw line, hitting on 81.5 percent (22-of-27), including 94.1 percent (16-of-17) in the second half.   The Wildcats did hit on 50 percent from the field in the second half, but managed just 43.1 percent for the game.  The team also struggled from the free throw line, missing 13, to finish at 51.9 percent.

Warren led all scorers with 27 points on 9-of-15 field goals in 35 minutes of action, while White added 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds.  Polynice chipped in 13 points and Murphy Holloway had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

Junior transfer Curtis Kelly collected his first career double-double as a Wildcat with a team-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 10 rebounds.  The backcourt duo of Denis Clemente and Jacob Pullen combined for 34 points on the night, marking the 22nd time the two have totaled 30 or more points in a game.  Freshman Wally Judge was also in double figures with season-tying 11 points on 5-of-7 field goals to go with five rebounds. 

The two teams battled back and forth with Ole Miss holding no more than a six-point lead in the opening half.  K-State earned just its second lead at 17-16 on a dunk by Kelly with 9:12 remaining before White grabbed it back with his first 3-pointer just seconds later.  The Wildcats would close the gap to one possession several more times, including right before the half at 32-30.  The team was plagued by poor shooting in the half, hitting on just 37.1 percent from the field, including 12.5 percent from 3-point line.  K-State also missed seven free throws in the opening half. 

Moments after Kelly dunked to tie the score at 32-all to start the second half, Ole Miss caught fire, using  a 19-5 run to take a 51-37 lead with 13:26 to play.  Warren had six points in the run, while White hit a big three off of an assist by Warren.  The Wildcats tried to chip away at the lead, but the Rebels answered each time, holding a double-digit lead for most of the second half.   

K-State concludes action at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-off on Sunday with the game against No. 18 Dayton (3-1) on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. CT.  It will mark the first time the two teams have met on the hardwood and the first time the Wildcats have played an Atlantic 10 team since Xavier in 2007.