CATEGORY: Basketball



By Gene Phelps

Daily Journal

MEMPHIS Kentucky guard Wayne Turner hasn't forgotten the Wildcats' Jan. 11 game against Ole Miss in Oxford, the one UK lost 73-69.

"I remember they came out fired up," said Turner, who scored 19 points to help lead No. 3 Kentucky to its 92-50 win over Auburn Friday in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals at the Pyramid. "I hope we come out (today) as fired up as they were."

Ole Miss (20-7) and Kentucky (28-4) meet in a rematch at noon today in the tournament's semifinals.

The Rebels, the conference's Western Division champions, earned their spot in the semifinals with a 64-62 victory Friday over Vanderbilt.

"I'm excited about getting to play Ole Miss again," Kentucky coach Rick Pitino said. "It (Ole Miss-Vandy) was a great game. I'm happy in a way because both teams will now get into the (NCAA) tournament. Ole Miss' RPI rating wasn't as good."

The Wildcats, who finished second in the Eastern Division to overall league champion South Carolina, could avenge their three league losses with wins over the Rebels and Gamecocks.

"I don't believe in revenge as a motive," Pitino said. "Ole Miss and South Carolina excecuted better than we did and won."

Ole Miss coach Rob Evans says his troops are up for the Kentucky challenge.

"Kentucky has an inside presence, real fine guards and the player of the year in the SEC (Ron Mercer)," he said. "We've got to attack Kentucky's press. We've got to take care of the basketball. We've got to defend. It's a difficult assignment for everybody."

But Auburn coach Cliff Ellis said beating Kentucky is going to be tough for anybody.

"This team wants an SEC championship. This team wants a No. 1 (NCAA) seed," he said. "They are the best team I've seen in person or on TV."

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