Williams settles down in time for Ole Miss
Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 7:01 pm
By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Nick Williams blamed nerves for a couple badly missed shots in the opening minutes of Mississippi’s Southeastern Conference tournament opener against Auburn.
Fortunately for the Rebels, Williams calmed down in plenty of time to turn in a career performance.
Williams scored 22 points on a devastating mix of 3-pointers, midrange jumpers and driving floaters, and Mississippi defeated Auburn 68-54 in the first round of the SEC tournament on Thursday night.
“I was real nervous. You could tell by my first shot when I shot it over the rim,” said Williams, who hit 9-of-14 shots, including four 3s, in surpassing his previous career-best of 21 points. “I can’t get down on missed shots, and I had some easy ones early and I missed them. I got some in the second half and I knocked them down.”
Murphy Holloway added 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Rebels (19-12), who have won four straight and might be able to make a case for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they upset Tennessee in their second-round game tonight.
Frankie Sullivan scored 15 points for Auburn (15-16), which lost for the fourth time in five games on the same day the NCAA acknowledged that federal investigators are looking into point-shaving allegations against suspended Tigers guard Varez Ward.
Auburn coach Tony Barbee declined to address the allegations against Ward beyond saying that he did not believe it had any bearing on his team’s play.
Mississippi shot 43.8 percent (21 of 48) and outrebounded Auburn 45-31. The Rebels had 19 offensive rebounds.
“Nick really got going for us in the second half and knocked down some big jump shots but ,early on, the reason that we were in the lead was that we were pursuing the ball off the offensive glass,” Rebel coach Andy Kennedy said.
Published in The Messenger 3.9.12