Lexington, KY (SportsNetwork.com) - Aaron Harrison scored a season-high 26 points and No. 1 Kentucky needed overtime to take down Ole Miss, 89-86, in the SEC opener.
Kentucky asserted itself as the most dangerous team in the nation during non- conference play, beating perennial powers Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and UCLA by a combined 97 points before edging in-state rival Louisville, 58-50, on Dec. 27.
But the Wildcats (14-0, 1-0 SEC) had a nine-day layoff since that win over the Cardinals and the rust showed as Ole Miss, which lost at home to Charleston Southern earlier this season, took the top-ranked Wildcats to the wire.
Harrison made five 3-pointers and 9-of-10 from the foul line while his brother Andrew posted 12 points and five assists. Willie Cauley-Stein provided his usual stellar defense, racking up four blocks and three steals on top of a game-high 12 rebounds.
Stefan Moody paced Ole Miss (9-5, 0-1) with 25 points, but missed most of overtime with a leg cramp. Jarvis Summers scored 23 points and Ladarius White added 15.
"If Moody doesn't cramp up, we probably lose the game. I mean he was just ridiculous. We couldn't do anything with him," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said.
Trailing by three with time winding down in overtime, Summers missed a pull-up jumper and the ball caromed out of bounds to Kentucky. The inbounds pass went to Trey Lyles with a chance to ice the game, but the freshman missed two free throws, leaving the door open.
With Moody on the bench and Summers facing pressure, the ball swung to Martavious Newby, who adjusted mid-air against a close-out on his 3-point try from the right wing. His shot hit the backboard and spun around the rim before bouncing out and landing in Cauley-Stein's arms. Kentucky passed the ball around, killing the remaining time.
The game's opening segment belonged to the Harrisons, with Andrew assisting on all three of Aaron's 3-pointers before the first media timeout. His first 3 made it 10-0 and forced a timeout less than two minutes in. The second 3 pushed the spread to 15-2.
But the early lead quickly disappeared, as Ole Miss settled down and embarked on a 13-3 run from there. Moody bookended the surge with long 3-pointers, and the Rebels were within three.
Moody hit two more 3s on back-to-back possessions before the 7:00 mark to give Ole Miss a four-point lead.
The spread reached six on Aaron Jones' reverse slam at 3:30, and the Wildcats trailed at halftime for just the second time this season.
They responded with seven straight to open the second half and climb back in front.
White's corner 3 with 1:36 to play tied the game at 75, and Summers made two free throws 30 seconds later to put the visitors back in the lead. After Aaron Harrison missed a jumper and Ole Miss secured the rebound, Kentucky's fullcourt pressure forced a key turnover.
Andrew Harrison came up with the ball and drew a foul on Sebastian Saiz -- his fifth -- and made 1-of-2 to tie it at 77. On the final possession of regulation, Summers isolated on Devin Booker at the top of the key and settled for an NBA-range 3, hitting back rim as the clock expired.
"We got our all-league guy with a shot at the buzzer with a chance to steal this thing, and the ball just didn't go in for us," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said.
Kentucky has won the last five meetings ... Kentucky is 32-2 in its last 34 games as the No. 1 team in the country ... Ole Miss fell to 0-16 all-time against No. 1 teams ... Booker scored 13 points for Kentucky.