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Warren's second-half push lifts Ole Miss over Vanderbilt

Jan 31, 2008 - 7:01 AM OXFORD, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Freshman Chris Warren got Mississippi back on track at the expense of a slumping Vanderbilt.

Warren scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half as the 22nd-ranked Rebels used a second-half push to record a 74-58 victory over the 18th-ranked Commodores in a Southeastern Conference clash on Wednesday.

Eniel Polynice scored 18 points and Kenny Williams added 10 and 10 rebounds for Mississippi (16-3, 3-3 SEC West), which snapped a two-game losing streak while also beating Vanderbilt for the first time in seven meetings.

"We're still a work in progress," Mississippi coach Andy Kennedy said. "The young guys are starting to understand that if you relax in this league, you're going to get taken advantage of. We're going to continue to work, grind and try to get better."

It was a bad time for the Commodores' success over the Rebels to end, as Vanderbilt (17-4, 2-4 East) lost for the fourth time in its last five league games - all on the road.

The leading scorer for Mississippi, Warren was just 1-of-4 from the field in the first half. However, his squad held a 29-26 lead at the break after limiting Vanderbilt to 32 percent (10-of-31) shooting.

"Defensively we were really locked in," Kennedy said. "(Vanderbilt) is a team that averages 85 points a game and we held them to 58. It was a team effort inside and out. It was a quality win and we got some quality contributions from a variety of players."

Warren found his touch after intermission, combining with fellow first-year player Zach Graham for 10 points in the opening four minutes to stretch the advantage to 41-31.

"We got off to a bad start in the second half, and that was the difference in the game," Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. "We talked at the half about continuing to do the things that kept us in the game in the first half. Obviously, my message didn't get through."

Although they attempted to close the gap, the Commodores were turned away on each instance until Warren helped the Rebels rip open the contest with a big run. Behind seven points from the freshman, Mississippi went on a 15-2 run over a five-minute span to build a 67-51 cushion with 2:53 left.

Warren finished 6-of-10 from the field with three 3-pointers en route to his third 20-point effort in his last six games.

Polynice had 12 points in the first half en route to finishing 8-of-13 from the field. He also handed out five assists and grabbed four rebounds.

"Polynice was the difference for Ole Miss in the first half," Stallings said. "He had six layups and was better off the dribble. Warren was the difference in the second half. We couldn't keep their perimeter players in front of us. We've had a hard time guarding the perimeter all year long."

Shan Foster scored 14 points and freshman A.J. Ogilvy added 10 for Vanderbilt, which finished 35 percent (22-of-63) from the field and only attempted four free throws.

Coming into the contest second in the SEC in scoring at 19.5 points, Foster missed eight of 13 shots en route to failing to score at least 15 points for the third time in his last four games.

A native of Australia, Ogilvy has also been slumping lately. After averaging 19.6 points through his first 16 collegiate games, he has managed just 29 in his last three.

"We did a good job pressuring him," Kennedy said. "Ogilvy, because of his production and him being so good, we forget the fact that he's a kid. We're in the grind of the season and it wears on these young kids."