March 19, 2008
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) - Dwayne Curtis had 17 points and 16 rebounds as Mississippi beat UC Santa Barbara 83-68 Wednesday to advance to the second round of the NIT for the second straight year.
Chris Warren had all 16 points of his points in the second half for the Rebels (22-10), who will host the Nebraska-Charlotte winner Monday in the quarterfinals. David Huertas had 15 points for Ole Miss and Kenny Williams added 13.
The Rebels (22-10) fell behind the Gauchos (23-9) 17-6 as James Powell fueled a 15-2 run with three 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes.
Ole Miss rallied for a 37-36 halftime lead despite 11 turnovers and seven missed free throws. UC Santa Barbara took its final lead, 40-39, on a pair of free throws by Chris Devine with 18:17 left.
The Rebels answered with a decisive 11-0 run, including a pair of three-point plays by Warren, to take a 50-40 lead with 14:17 left. The Gauchos never got closer than seven points again as Ole Miss held them to four field goals in the final 11 minutes.
Big West Conference co-player of the year Alex Harris led UCSB with 20 points. Harris opened the game with three consecutive baskets, but went more than 21 minutes without a field goal.
Powell scored all 18 of his points on 3s and Devine scored 14.
Curtis led the Rebels to a 44-27 rebound advantage and they iced the game by hitting 7 of 9 free throws and 7 of 12 3-pointers in the second half.