Ole Miss wins a thriller against UCF; Alcorn loses to VCU

Published 10:03 pm Sunday, December 10, 2023

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Allen Flanigan scored 18 points and blocked a layup with a second remaining to help Ole Miss’ men’s basketball team survive a wild final minute and even wilder final two seconds to defeat Central Florida 70-68 on Sunday.

Ole Miss held a six-point lead with 52 seconds left before UCF’s Marchellus Avery hit a 3-pointer to cut the lead in half. After a turnover, Shemarri Allen made two from the line to get the Knights within 68-67. The Rebels committed another turnover, but Moussa Cisse blocked back-to-back layup attempts and Flanigan grabbed the rebound. He made two free throws for a 70-67 lead with four seconds left.

With their three-point lead, the Rebels fouled Darius Johnson, who made only one of two free throws. Flanigan’s inbound pass was stolen but he blocked a layup by Sellers. Avery got the rebound but his short bankshot that would have tied the game was ruled to be after time expired.

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TJ Caldwell had 14 points off the bench for Ole Miss (9-0). Matthew Murrell had 12 points and Jaylen Murray scored 10. Flanigan had seven rebounds and five steals but committed five turnovers.

Cisse, who was playing his third game with the Rebels after getting a waiver from the NCAA for his transfer from Oklahoma State, had eight points and four blocks.

Johnson scored 25 points, Allen 14 and Sellers 11 for the Knights (6-3). Johnson had five steals and Sellers had four.

The Rebels’ consistent ability to get to the free throw line aided them in staving off the Knights’ late surge. Ole Miss was 20-of-28 from the free throw line in the second half, while UCF converted just 12 of its 17 attempts.

“We have to defend without fouling,” UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said. “We can’t have that. We have to be more disciplined in our defense, and we have to understand when we’re getting close to the bonus, we cannot put people on the line and give them those opportunities.”

VCU 86, Alcorn State 58
Zeb Jackson scored 18 points, seven assists and three steals as Virginia Commonwealth (5-5) beat Alcorn State (1-8) on Sunday. Kuany Kuany scored 15 points, and Jason Nelson had 14 points and six assists for VCU. Toibu Lawal also had a double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Jeremiah Kendall led the way for the Braves (1-8) with 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Byron Joshua added 13 points, four assists and two steals.

VCU only led by six points at halftime, 35-29, but Alcorn State shot just 26.9 percent (7-for-26) from the field in the second half. VCU also made nine 3-pointers in the second half, and was 17-for-39 from distance for the game.

Alcorn will stay in the Mid-Atlantic region to play Maryland Tuesday at 6 p.m. The Braves won’t play a home game until their Southwestern Athletic Conference opener vs. Jackson State on Jan. 6.