ORLANDO, Fla. - Leading by three with 41 seconds left, Ole Miss sent UCF to the free throw line, bringing the home team within one. A pair of makes from the charity stripe by Allen Flanigan put the Rebels back up 70-67, before a last-second block by Flanigan kept the Knights from coming back, as Ole Miss held on their zero in the loss column with a 70-68 victory on Sunday at Addition Financial Arena.
Entering the game ranked 30th in the NCAA in opponent three-point percentage, the Rebels held UCF to just 18.2% from beyond the arc, keeping a Knights team that averages over 79 points per game to 68.
A three by Jaylen Murray and layup by Flanigan put Ole Miss (9-0) on the board quickly, before UCF (6-3) responded and went up 8-5. Four lead changes and seven ties in the first half illustrated a tight game with the Big 12 opponent. Tied at 23 with just under six minutes before the half, a 14-7 run in the final minutes gave the Rebels a lead at the midway break, 37-30.
After a jumper from Matthew Murrell put Ole Miss up by nine to open the second period, the Knights rallied back, eventually stepping out in front on a three to make it 46-45. The final 10 minutes of action turned into a battle, as the two teams drew even at 46, 47, and 49-all.
UCF took a 51-49 lead with 8:21 on the clock, grabbing a steal and transition dunk to go up once more with 4:23 left. A jumper by Murray and free throws from TJ Caldwell made it 62-59 in favor of the Rebels, eventually taking a six-point lead with two minutes of play left.
The teams traded free throws in the hectic final minutes, putting the Knights within one late. As the seconds drained off the clock, Mouss Cisse came up with a clutch block, whlie Flanigan secured the rebound and went to the free theow line. Owning a 70-67 lead, UCF was fouled and missed the first free throw, sinking the second but giving Ole Miss a chance to in-bound and run out the clock.
A turnover on the following play gave UCF a look at the basket, but Flanigan was there with the game-saving block, as time expired on a tip-in attempt from the Knights.
For the fourth time this year, Flanigan paced the Rebels on offense, scoring 18 points while grabbing seven rebounds and securing a career-best five steals. Caldwell came off the bench for Ole Miss and scored 14, making a career-high nine free throws. Murrell (12 points) and Murray (10 points) added double-digit scoring performances as well.
UCF was led by Darius Johnson, scoring 25 points, while Shemarri Allen added 14.
Ole Miss will take the week off before traveling to San Antonio, Texas for the 2023 Hall of Fame Series, where they'll take on California on Saturday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m. on SEC Network.