ATLANTA — Freshman standout Brandon Knight provided enough answers late for Kentucky to edge Ole Miss 75-66 in a quarterfinal on Friday.
In front of a sea of blue that accounted for a majority of the 21,875 at the Georgia Dome, UK's Brandon Knight scored seven straight points and grabbed four rebounds in the last 1:22. That was the difference as 15th-ranked Kentucky (23-8) avenged an earlier loss to Ole Miss.
“I told Brandon at the end that those rebounds down the stretch were critical and he chased them down to help us win,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.
The Rebels (20-13), however, didn’t go quietly.
The West’s third seed trailed by as many as 12 points in the second half but rallied to pull within two points twice. The last time came with 1:47 left when Chris Warren sunk his fourth 3-pointer, cutting the deficit to 68-66.
Knight immediately responded with a jumper, then grabbed the rebound on Warren’s missed 3-pointer. From there he made five of six free throws to finish with 17 points and six rebounds.
“To beat Kentucky, you have to make plays,” Ole Miss coach Andy Kennedy said. “We had opportunities, guys continued to battle. I’m really proud of the effort… execution failed us.”
Doron Lamb had 19 points, Darius Miller added 15 and Josh Harrellson scored 13 as Kentucky outscored Ole Miss 42-20 in the paint.
For the Rebels, Warren had a game-high 20 points. He now has 1,998 career points and should have at least one more shot to become the third Rebel to reach 2,000 if Ole Miss gets an NIT bid.
Terrance Henry added 17 points and 12 rebounds. Dundrecous Nelson scored all 14 of his points after halftime.
Kentucky advances to play Alabama in a semifinal at noon on Saturday. The Wildcats dropped a 68-66 decision in Tuscaloosa, Ala., in January.