February 02, 2011
Reginald Buckner proved on Tuesday night that highlights made above the rim go both ways.
Following a 71-69 Ole Miss upset victory over No. 10 Kentucky, there was just as much buzz surrounding the sophomore forward's incredible block of a Brandon Knight dunk attempt as there was stemming from Chris Warren's 25-foot, game-winning trifecta in the closing seconds.
Buckner, whose three blocks per game this season rank third in the SEC, provided what will likely go down as his signature swat for the season with more than six minutes left to play and the Rebels holding a six-point edge.
"I was just praying to God I wasn't going to get dunked on," Buckner told reporters afterwards. "It happened so fast. I hadn't blocked a shot like that since last season."
Added Knight: "Should have tried to lay it up. It was just a big-time play."
Buckner blocked five shots on the night, marking the seventh time in 21 games played this season that he's rejected at least that many.
This one — for a little while, at least — stopped a Kentucky surge after Ole Miss had used a 13-0 run to grab a 54-43 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining. It also set up a momentum-building transition score on the other end by Zach Graham. The block was not only the result of great timing, but incredible strength, as Buckner stopped the forward momentum of Knight's right arm as if it was nothing.
Credit UK for not going away, as its comeback appeared close to complete when the Wildcats grabbed a 69-68 lead with 81 seconds left. But after each team had an empty possession, the stage was set for Warren's heroics.
The Rebels' leading scorer hit the shot that dropped Kentucky to just 1-3 on the road in SEC play, keeping questions afloat regarding the young group's ability to win consistently in hostile environments.