OLE MISS

Rebels Avenge Earlier Loss At MSU

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Ole Miss avenged its 76-72 loss to Mississippi State earlier this season, as the Rebels routed the Bulldogs 82-63 Saturday in Oxford. With the win, Ole Miss improves to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play.

"We have to do a good job of protecting home floor," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We let three get away from us, one possession here and one possession there, and those are things that still sting. The challenge was to come in and do what you're supposed to do and that's protect home floor."

The Rebels' two leading scorers, Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers, each finished with 19 points, but it's the contributions from the supporting cast that have lifted the Rebels during the current four-game winning streak dating back to their win over LSU on Jan. 15.

LaDarius White joined Henderson and Summers in double figures with 11 points, his fourth game in doubles figures since the start of SEC play. Sebastian Saiz and Aaron Jones each finished with double-digit rebounds, while Anthony Perez added nine points and seven rebounds.

"We need Marshall and Jarvis to be all-league caliber players, and to this point, they're both playing as such," Kennedy said. "And then we have to get contributions from different people. We knew coming into the year that the biggest void was along our frontline. 

"We're having to do it by committee, and Anthony is getting more comfortable, and as those freshmen get more minutes, we will see more production."

Moving forward, however, Ole Miss will be without Martavious Newby, who suffered a broken hand and will have surgery Monday. Kennedy was unsure if it was a season-ending injury.

"He's a difference-maker," Kennedy said. "We have nobody on our team now that can fill the role that Martavious Newby did. He was starting to emerge and help us in that role. 

"Everybody talked about Anthony and the 22 points he had at South Carolina. Martavious Newby came in and changed the entire flow of the game in the second half by having three steals and keeping two balls alive, which led to baskets that got us back in it. That's the energy and toughness on the ball that he brings."

The Rebels return to action next Wednesday, as they travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Tennessee Volunteers. Ole Miss is currently No. 61 in the RPI, while Tennessee is No. 50, according to ESPN. It marks the first of four games against an opponent with an RPI in the top 50, with Missouri just outside at No 53.


QUOTABLE: "This is not a popular answer, because when people think Mississippi State-Ole Miss, they think Egg Bowl and it's the season-ender. And regardless of what happens in that game, both teams have an opportunity to exhale and then prepare for whatever is next. 

"For us, you can't put that much emphasis on it. It's important to me. A lot of people get a little more excited about this game than they do for the others. For us, it has to be a workman-like approach because we play every three days, and at the end of the day, this is one of 31. I'm certainly glad for Rebel Nation that we gave them something to be excited about." -- Andy Kennedy, on the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry

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    Rhonda said:

    Coach Freeze is a genuine coach and our players and fans adore him!!

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    Gary Vaughn said:

    It's great to be a Rebel fan. Coach Freeze
    Has brought back the excitement
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    Paying attention. Even the whole country
    Sport tLk shows ect. Are taking notice.
    After we upset Alabama this weekend
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    in post Vote Freeze For Coach Of The Year

    Tom said:

    I am not and never have been an Ole Miss fan. I am however a Coach Freeze fan. I like what he represents in today's world of big time sports and what he stands for in leading young men of today into a more responsible role. He is everything that Ole Miss has never had. I am on his band wagon winning or losing.

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    How can I get my hands on one of these?

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    Dave Darnell
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    ddarn@aol.com

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