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Updated: Thursday, January 29, 2004 12:50 AM EST
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(5) Kentucky 71, Mississippi 61

LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Erik Daniels scored 24 points and Antwain Barbour added a season-high 12 off the bench as No. 5 Kentucky posted a 71-61 triumph over Mississippi in a Southeastern Conference matchup.

Daniels netted 12 points in the opening half, keeping Kentucky (14-2, 4-1 SEC East) in the game, which was deadlocked 29-29 through 20 minutes.

Gerald Fitch added 14 for the Wildcats, who posted their 800th win in SEC play. Alabama is second with 657 victories.

The contest also marked Kentucky's 400th game at Rupp Arena, where it is 358-42.

"They have a solid ballclub but I thought our guys did some good things," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said.

Aaron Harper had 19 and reserve Kendrick Fox had 16 for Mississippi (10-7, 2-4 West). The Rebels have lost seven of their last eight games with the Wildcats.

"I thought we did a great job of executing our game plan," Mississippi coach Rod Barnes said. "I have to give Kentucky credit, they continued to stay solid in everything they were doing."

Mississippi was within 44-42 with 10:45 left in the contest and missed a couple of attempts to tie or take the lead. But Daniels had a basket with 9:22 remaining, Kelenna Azubuike hit two free throws and Gerald Fitch drained a 3-pointer for a 51-42 lead.

The Rebels again battled back, getting within 53-50 with 5:27 to go, but Azubuike had a dunk 32 seconds later. Ole Miss never got closer than four points the rest of the way.

Kentucky shot 63 percent (12-of-19) and made all but three of its 17 free throws in the second half.

Barbour had averaged just eight minutes per contest over his last six games. He made 4-of-5 3-point attempts in 18 minutes and clearly caught the attention of his teammates.

"It's great," Daniels said. "We need him to do that every game. He's capable of that; he's a great shooter."

"We see it every day in practice," Wildcats forward Chuck Hayes said. "Tonight was the a great time for the fans to see what he can do."

Barbour had made just 1-of-13 3-point attempts this season.

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