Reed made several one-on-one moves against Hayes on the perimeter to make jump shots and had 15 points, but he was just 6-for-20 from the field. Hayes also blocked a season-high five shots and pulled off nine rebounds. Reed had two blocked shots and three rebounds. Both players played 37 minutes and mainly were matched against each other.
"Chuck is a warrior. Both Justin and Chuck are guys that get the most out of their ability," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said. "He took Chuck a couple of times one-on-one and shot over him, but Chuck held his own."
Mississippi coach Rod Barnes thought Hayes did more than hold his own with his aggressive, physical play against Reed, who had 28 points in his previous game.
"Chuck Hayes is an all-conference kind of player," Barnes said. "He's physical, he defends in the post and he does all the dirty work. Watching him on tape he is, to me, the heart and soul of their team.
"We tried to take him away on the offensive end, but he didn't force anything. On the defensive end he did a great job defending Justin and taking some of our easy baskets away. He's been one of my favorite players for a long time."
Hayes' teammate, Erik Daniels, is becoming one, too. Daniels had a career-high 24 points, including seven in the final two minutes of the first half that wiped out a five-point Mississippi lead.
"The guy has been in the league for a long time and he's a talented player. He did a great job when they needed someone to step up. He's a very difficult guy to guard," Barnes said. "We had hoped we might have an advantage inside, but it didn't turn out that way."
Quotable: "They look for your weakness and then strike. I mean, down the stretch, they made big plays," said Mississippi's Aaron Harper when asked why UK won.
"The atmosphere wasn't a factor tonight. Whether we're playing in Rupp Arena or Africa, we just want to play," said Mississippi's Justin Reed about playing in Rupp Arena.
Numbers: Kentucky is now 358-42 in Rupp Arena, including 205-25 in regular-season SEC games. The Cats are 44-6 in SEC play at Rupp under Smith. ... Wednesday's win was UK's 800th in SEC play against 213 losses. ... Kentucky shot 51.5 percent from the field, including 62.3 percent (12-for-19 in the second half). It was UK's sixth time to hit over 50 percent this season. ... Antwain Barbour was just 1-for-13 from 3-point range this year before going 4-for-5 against Ole Miss. ... Cliff Hawkins' eight assists were his most since he had 11 against Tennessee Tech earlier this season. ... Gerald Fitch moved into 35th place on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,182 points and needs 28 more to pass Rodrick Rhodes for 34th place. ... Ole Miss had nine 3-pointers, the most by a UK opponent since Marshall had 10 in the third game on Dec. 1.
Honored: Kentucky inducted 34 athletes at halftime of Wednesday's game into the Fran G. Ham Society of Character.
Among the nine football players honored was senior Daniel Hopewell, a former Harrodsburg High School player.
The Society was founded in 1998 to recognize athletes who epitomize the term "student-athlete" and each candidate is nominated by a counselor or coach and then evaluated on various criteria.