OXFORD, Mississippi (Ticker) -- Tubby Smith refocused his team at halftime and Kentucky roared back to win.
Rajon Rondo scored 13 points and Kelenna Azubuike added 11 as No. 8 Kentucky rallied from a 13-point deficit to defeat Mississippi, 53-50, in a Southeastern Conference game.
But Kentucky did not secure the victory until a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Londrick Nolen bounced off.
"I'm not disappointed in our kids' effort," Ole Miss coach Rod Barnes said. "I'm disappointed we came up short. We had a great look at the end. It just didn't go down."
The Wildcats (13-2, 4-0 SEC East) got off to a terrible start and tied a season low with 16 first-half points.
Kentucky was scoreless for the first 6:20 and did not make a bucket in the final 6:56 of the first half. The Wildcats shot 21 percent (5-of-24) and missed all 10 3-pointers in the opening 20 minutes.
"I thought their intensity level was great," Smith said. "I told our team that if we didn't match their intensity, it was going to be a long night. And it was."
Nolen scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and helped the Rebels to a 14-2 run on their way to a 29-16 lead at intermission.
But Ole Miss (11-7, 2-3 West) went ice cold to start the second half, going scoreless in the first 5:43, while Kentucky clawed its way back.
One factor in the second half comeback was Kentucky's pressure defense, which was lacking in the first half.
"It works if you can make shots," Smith said. "But you can't pressure if you don't make shots. And we struggled to make shots."
Rondo converted a three-point play with three minutes left to give the Wildcats their first lead, 49-48. Moments later, he scored inside off an offensive rebound to cap an 11-2 run.
"You have to give Kentucky credit," Barnes said. "They came out in the second half after being down 13 and made the plays they had to make."
Tommie Eddie had 14 points for the Rebels, who have lost three out of their last five.
Chuck Hayes had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Kentucky, which is 91-11 all-time against Mississippi.