Ole Miss Keeps Surging Toward March

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ Rahim Lockhart scored all eight of his points in the second half, including a basket with 2:09 left that put the Rebels ahead for good, as No. 16 Mississippi won its sixth straight with a 67-61 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night. Lockhart, the team's top scorer with 12.7 points a game, was held to no first-half points after two early fouls. But his inside basket down the stretch put the Rebels (21-4, 9-3 Southeastern Conference) up 60-59. Lockhart followed that with a second inside shot, and David Sanders hit an off-balance 3-pointer with 34.3 seconds left that sealed it for Mississippi. South Carolina (13-10, 5-7), which led 46-34 with 16 minutes left, could not recover. The Rebels have based their rise on Lockhart and their defense. But neither was there until the second half. The Gamecocks led 39-32 _ shooting 60.9 percent (14-of-23) _ in the first half, and seemed ready to pull off the upset after Jamel Bradley's three-point play gave them a 12-point lead. But Mississippi forced turnovers on South Carolina's next five possessions and Justin Reed, who led the Rebels with 18 points _ including 12 in the second half _ dominated inside. Jason Harrison's 3-pointer with 8:23 left gave Mississippi its first lead since the first half, 56-53. The Gamecocks battled back and led for the last time, 59-58, on Aaron Lucas' two foul shots. Ole Miss, which averages less than seven 3-pointers a game, made their first five from long range and led 19-8 less than seven minutes in. But the Rebels went cold from the field and their SEC-leading defense let them down during the next 10 minutes as the Gamecocks took off on a 27-7 run. Lucas, the team's leading scorer, had 10 points during the spurt, including the go-ahead 3-pointer. Tony Kitchings, who led the Gamecocks with 17 points, and Jamel Bradley scored inside baskets in the final minute as South Carolina led 39-32 at the break. South Carolina, last in the league in field-goal percentage, shot 14-for-23 in the opening half.