Ole Miss Cracks Vandy 81-68

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Mississippi saved coach Rod Barnes a very long walk home. ``I told the guys before the game I wasn't riding home with a loss,'' Barnes said after the 22nd-ranked Rebels beat Vanderbilt 81-68 Saturday night. ``I don't know how I would have got home.'' Instead of walking the 275 miles back to Oxford, Barnes got to ride home with the Rebels, who opened the season 13-1 for the first time in 75 years. The Rebels also won their first Southeastern Conference road game in nearly two years, breaking a string of 11 straight league road losses. ``These kids don't know any better,'' Barnes said. ``They came in here expecting to win.'' Justin Reed scored 19 points to lead the Rebels. The freshman did not start for the first time this season because he had been ill all week. ``He did a lot of damage when we tried to guard him with smaller players,'' said Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings. Mississippi also got 14 points from Jason Harrison and Jason Flanigan. Russell Lakey scored 18 points and Greg LaPointe had 17 for Vanderbilt (10-3). Chuck Moore added 10 points and Anthony Williams had 14 rebounds. The Commodores lost their second straight and took their first loss in an SEC home opener in nine years. ``I thought it would be hard for us right now, and it was,'' Stallings said. Reed's illness kept him on the bench in favor of Richard Kirklin at the start. Reed played 18 minutes and hit 7-for-10 from the field, and finished with seven rebounds. ``I don't have a problem coming off the bench if it'll help the team; I'll do whatever,'' Reed said. ``This was by far my best performance of the year.'' Rahim Lockhart, the Rebels' leading scorer, did not get a basket until early in the second half. He finished with four points and seven rebounds. ``We're not a one-dimensional team,'' Lockhart said. ``It doesn't matter if I score 100 or if I score zero.'' The Rebels led 58-53, with 9½ minutes left and broke the game open with an 11-3 run. Flanigan and Harrison capped the run with back-to-back 3s as the Rebels took their largest lead of the game, 69-56. Vanderbilt countered with nine straight points and pulled within four, 69-65. Mississippi squelched the comeback by hitting 10 of 14 free throws down the stretch and Vanderbilt failed to score on three consecutive possessions. Mississippi, helped by seven 3-pointers, led 41-31 at the break.