February 2014 Archives
Finishing this week, we are staying in 1995 for moment No. 25. This year produced a lot of firsts for the Ole Miss tennis program, including this remarkable achievement from an incredible doubles duo.
Mahesh Bhupathi and Ali Hamadeh became the first ever NCAA Champions in program history by winning the NCAA Doubles Championship. The tandem defeated Texas' Chad Clark and Trey Phillips 7-6, 6-2 in the televised championship match.
Bhupathi and Hamadeh took down three nationally ranked teams, including No. 2 seed Paul Goldstein and Scott Humphries of Stanford to reach the final. For winning the doubles championship, Bhupathi and Hamadeh were rewarded with a wildcard into the 1995 U.S. Open Championships. They made their presence known as they took down veteran pros Mark Kyle and Peter Nyborg to advance to the second round, before falling to the No. 6 ranked doubles team in the world.
Subsequent to the Rebels winning the doubles championship, Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick said, "This is a great way to cap off a tremendous NCAA Tournament and truly makes this one of the outstanding accomplishments in Ole Miss sports. I am extremely proud of the team and their commitment all year. These players worked hard from day one."
Monday we will finish off 1995 and proceed chronologically to the following year. There are plenty more "firsts" and exciting moments in store as the years progress for coach Chadwick. Stay tuned.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and Facebook at OleMissMTennis
Special assistance from Media Relations student Wesley Boock.
The Ole Miss men's tennis team kicks off Southeastern Conference play, as they host No. 31 Auburn and No. 37 Alabama this weekend at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The Rebels enter the weekend with a 2-3 record, and they see the start of league play as the beginning of a new season.
"It's very exciting," said senior Johan Backstrom. "It's going to be like a new start for us. This feels like the beginning of the season. We feel like if we play up to our potential with the team that we have now, we can cause some damage in the SEC this year."
The Southeastern Conference race appears wide open, with six teams ranked in the top 25 but no teams ranked in the top 10 in this week's ITA National Team rankings.
The defending champion and preseason favorite, Georgia, is 3-5 overall and ranked No. 35, with losses to No. 22 Florida and No. 16 Mississippi State at the ITA National Team Indoor. The highest ranked team, No. 11 Tennessee, is 10-3 overall, with a loss to No. 13 Texas A&M. Ole Miss was picked sixth in the coaches' preseason poll.
"The SEC is wide open," head coach Billy Chadwick said. "It's already been proven that any team can beat any other team in the SEC, so it's going to be a tough weekend because Alabama and Auburn both have quality programs."
"It's hard to predict, and there are going to be a lot of close matches," Backstrom added. "With Ricardo (Jorge) being eligible, we have a deep team. If we play to our potential, we should have a really good chance of winning championships this year."
Jorge, a freshman from Tavira, Portugal, made his debut last weekend in Waco, Texas, where the Rebels went 1-1 with a 4-0 win over SMU and a 4-0 loss to No. 7 Baylor. Jorge won at No. 5 singles to clinch the win against SMU and then paired with junior Nik Scholtz at No. 2 doubles for a win against Baylor.
"He has good returns," Chadwick said. "He's a good natural doubles player because he's good at the net. In singles, he relies on his forehand. He likes to dictate the play with it. He's very fast with his feet. He has a really good overall game. From a coaching standpoint, he is an easy young man to work with and listens well. He is an extremely hard worker. He's going to be a good one."
A year ago, Ole Miss defeated Auburn and Alabama in the regular season, both by a score of 4-3, but in the SEC Tournament, 12-seed Alabama upset 5-seed Ole Miss, 4-3.
"We need to get off to a good start, and these are two teams that we match up well with, and we're playing at home, so we need to take advantage of that," Chadwick said. "They're very similar to last year's teams. It's a lot of the same faces. When you look at the results this fall, both of them have improved since last year."
Ole Miss begins play this weekend against Auburn Friday at 2 p.m., and then concludes against Alabama Sunday at 1 p.m.
Aspiring #NFLRebels get their chance to show out in front of the scouts on Monday at Ole Miss' annual Pro Day. A total of 19 recently-departed Rebels will participate in the skills circuit, including a few that are more than a year removed from their time in the Red and Blue. Donte Moncrief, who put on a show at the NFL Combine
last week, headlines the tentative list below, although he will not compete in every drill. While Moncrief is the most likely to get drafted, there are several others with a great opportunity to play at the next level and can improve their stock on Monday. Pro Day is closed to the public, but OleMissSports.com's Austin Miller
will be on hand to describe the action.2013 Seniors participating:
A.J. HawkinsFollow me on twitter @CampbellKyle.
The Season: Ole Miss Women's Basketball: Episode 2 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
In case you missed it, here's Episode 1 of The Season: Ole Miss Women's Basketball.
Lt. Col. Christopher Davis surprises his family with an early return home from overseas at the Ole Miss-Alabama basketball game Wednesday night.
It took just 1:54 of game time before Marshall Henderson hit his first 3-pointer of the game, his 61st-straight game with a 3-pointer, to break the SEC record previously held by Pat Bradley of Arkansas.
Henderson was one of four Rebels in double figures, as Ole Miss snapped a four-game losing streak with a 79-67 win over Alabama Wednesday in Oxford. He finished with 13 points, all in the first half, on 4-of-13 shooting, including 2-of-8 from the 3-point line.
Henderson has hit a 3-pointer in every game of his two-year Ole Miss career and ranks fourth all-time in school history with 248 career 3-pointers, one behind Keith Carter for third place all-time. He has hit multiple 3-pointers in 60 of 61 career games, with last season's game against Georgia, an 84-74 win for Ole Miss, being his only career game without multiple 3-pointers.
"It's an honor to break the record," Henderson said. When you shoot as many threes as I do, records are bound to fall."
Jarvis Summers, logging a team-high 38 minutes, led the Rebels with 20 points, his team-leading 10th 20-point game of the season. Summers was 5-of-15 from the field and 1-of-6 from the 3-point line, but he was 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
The star of the game, however, was Martavious Newby, who returned from a hand injury less than two weeks ago on Feb. 18 against Kentucky, having suffered the injury on Jan. 25 against Mississippi State. He set career highs with 15 points and 10 rebounds, his first career double-double, and provided immeasurable energy in 31 minutes off the bench.
"He was without question the MVP of the game," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "That was the Martavious Newby recruited, the guy that we thought would be energy. That's what he was. He was all over the field. He didn't hesitate. He stepped up and knocked down two big threes, and the timing of those were huge. He kept balls alive. He was without question the energy component that we were looking for to grind out a win."
Led by Newby, Ole Miss outrebounded Alabama, 42-24, including 17-7 on the offensive glass, which led to a 21-8 advantage in second-chance points. The 18-rebound advantage was the largest of the season for the Rebels. Anthony Perez (nine points) was second on the team with eight rebounds, followed by Aaron Jones (12 points) and Demarco Cox (five points) with six rebounds each.
"The stat that jumps out to me, our Achilles' heel all year has been rebounding, and we were plus-18 on the glass. Anthony had a huge one at the end. Newby kept balls alive, and Demarco Cox gave us his best minutes in a long, long time. It was a good team effort."
With the win, Ole Miss remains in fourth place in the SEC standings, tied with LSU and Tennessee at 8-7 in league play, with the fourth-place team earning the fourth and final double bye to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
"We have to do what we're supposed to do and that's prepare for Texas A&M, who is also in that equation, and try to go and break through on the road," Kennedy said.
Eight women's teams and seven men's teams are ranked in the top 25 entering the Southeastern Conference Indoor Championships this weekend in College Station, Texas. Five women's teams are ranked in the top seven in the nation, paced by Florida, which is ranked No. 2. On the men's side, Arkansas, Florida and Texas A&M, in that order, are the top three teams in the nation.
Ole Miss is among the seven SEC teams on the men's side, entering the SEC Indoor Championships as the No. 20-ranked team in the nation.
"If you ask any of the coaches in this league, they would tell you that this is by far the best conference in the United States," head coach Brian O'Neal said. "Our young men and women are just looking forward to competing against the best."
The Ole Miss men have eight athletes ranked, highlighted by junior Sam Kendricks, who jumped 18-8.25 this past weekend at the Albuquerque Convention Center, which ranks him No. 1 in the NCAA, No. 1 among Americans and No. 13 in the world this year. The Ole Miss women have three athletes ranked, led by senior Fabia McDonald who is ranked No. 14 and No. 22 in the pentathlon and long jump, respectively.
The three-day SEC Indoor Championships from Thursday to Saturday in College Station, Texas will be the Rebels' last meet before the NCAA Indoor Championships (March 14-15) and then the start of the outdoor season.
"We're young in a lot of position areas," O'Neal said. "Our young men and women are excited to come in here and compete and see where we stack up against the best and get our feet wet as we compete against the best. The SEC Championship is the pinnacle for us, in terms of the regular season. We're trying to go out there, line up, represent the Red and Blue and compete to the best of our abilities."
SEC In The National Rankings:
3. Texas A&M
20. Ole Miss
3. Texas A&M
23. Mississippi State
Coming in at No. 26 is the second of four moments to occur in the historic year of 1995. Arguably the greatest moment on the list, the Rebels ended a record-setting season in the granddaddy of them all as it relates to college tennis.
Coach Billy Chadwick led his team to the NCAA Team Championship Final as the Rebels defeated No. 2 ranked Georgia in front of 5,000 screaming Bulldog fans watching at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
Johan Hede delivered the knockout blow and silenced the crowd with a thrilling come-from-behind victory against Georgia's Eddie Jacques. After losing the first set 6-4, Hede rallied to win the final two sets 6-4, 7-5 to clinch the 4-3 victory for the Rebels. Hede, then just a sophomore, faced several break points in the last set, but each time he held. Jacques visibly cramping, could barely move in the last game, and Hede took advantage, painting a forehand winner on match point as his Rebel teammates mobbed him on the court.
"This victory is a tribute to the hard work of this team, said Chadwick, moments after one of the biggest wins in his career. "It took a great effort to defeat Georgia on their home court. I am proud of our players for their outstanding performance."
Before Hede could be the hero, the Rebels had to rally after dropping the doubles point for the second day in a row. Mahesh Bhupathi, the SEC Player of the Year, won in straight sets at No. 1 singles and then Ali Hamadeh won his match at No. 3 singles to make it 2-1 Rebels. After Georgia claimed consecutive matches at four and five singles, senior Van vanLingen finished off a comeback win at No. 6 singles, winning 6-4 in the third to even the match at 3-3.
During this prolific run, the Rebels knocked out No. 11 and two-time defending champion Southern California 4-3, and perennial power No. 3 Pepperdine 4-2. The Rebels would fall to No. 1 Stanford in the Championship match, giving the Cardinals a perfect 27-0 record.
As we are only halfway through our moments from the exciting year of 1995, stay tuned for our next history-making moment. Here's a clue: it involves the 1995 SEC Player of the Year.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis
.Special assistance by Ole Miss Media Relations student Wesley Boock.
Five Southeastern Conference teams enter Wednesday action with 7-7 league records, creating a five-way tie for fourth place in the standings, which takes on added importance because of the fourth and final double-eye to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
Ole Miss is among those five teams, as it enters the final four games of the regular season starting with Alabama Wednesday night at Tad Smith Coliseum (7 p.m., ESPN3). The Rebels enter Wednesday's matchup, having lost four straight games since a 91-88 win over Missouri on Feb. 8.
"We need to try to find a way to stop the bleeding," said head coach Andy Kennedy on Monday's SEC teleconference."
The four-game skid started with a 67-64 loss at Alabama on a last-second 3-pointer by the Crimson Tide's Trevor Releford. It continued with a 61-60 loss at Georgia and then back-to-back home losses to top-20 teams in No. 18 Kentucky (84-70) and No. 2 Florida (75-71).
"It's easy to look back and live in the world of would have, could have, should have," Kennedy said. "You can see the finish line. You have two weeks left in the regular season leading to Atlanta. We know we have five more games. How we play in those five games will determine what happens next.
"My hope is that we're just anxious to play again because it's been two weeks since we have won a game. It's not a good feeling. I want our guys to share that sentiment and look forward to having the next opportunity."
In the first meeting, Releford scored 16 of his team's final 20 points and finished with a game-high 26 points. Releford leads the team and ranks fifth in the league averaging 19.0 points per game. He also leads the team and ranks among the six players in the league in field goal percentage (50.8%), free throw percentage (88.6%) and 3-point field goal percentage (40.4%).
"He's a first team all-league player," Kennedy said. "They have their ups and downs, as we have all had. If a few games had gone the other way in Alabama's favor, he would be in the conversation for most valuable player in the league simply because of what he means to their team.
"He's had a terrific career. He's been very steady and very consistent, and he's really improved, which is a credit to Anthony (Grant) and his staff. He was a guy who's always been very good with the ball, fast in the open floor, but his ability to develop perimeter shooting and his ability to make perimeter shots has really made him a difficult cover."
Alabama is 11-16 on the season and 5-9 in the SEC, having played the nation's third-toughest schedule (ESPN.com). Away from home, the Crimson Tide is 0-12, including 0-7 in the SEC. After a 63-48 loss at Texas A&M Thursday night, Alabama rebounded with an 80-73 over Missouri at home Saturday.
"It's been a rough year for us, in terms of some of the tough losses that we have had, in nonconference and conference play," Alabama head coach Anthony Grant said. Our guys have had to battle. Some games we have performed well and come up short, one or two possessions. Other games we have not performed well and not been as close."
When asked about the win over Missouri starting a wave of momentum, Grant said that each game has a life of its own, and Wednesday's rematch with Ole Miss is no different.
"That one game, certainly, was a great character win," he said. "Now, we have to be able to learn the lessons from that, good and bad, and move forward and understand that we're going to get a completely different look when we go on the road here for Ole Miss."
Down 4-3 to Louisiana-Monroe entering the top of the fifth inning, head coach Mike Bianco turned to his bullpen, and the trio of Matt Denny, Preston Tarkington and Wyatt Short answered the call and combined to put up five zeroes on the scoreboard to give Ole Miss a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
Ole Miss took advantage and plated two runs in the ninth to rally to defeat Louisiana-Monroe by a score of 5-4 Tuesday afternoon at Swayze Field. The Rebels tied the game at 4-4 on an RBI groundout from freshman second baseman Dalton Dulin and then completed the rally with a two-out, walk-off RBI single from junior outfielder Braxton Lee on a chopper hit at the shortstop.
"To have these kind of wins and have the comebacks, you always talk about the offense, which is the obvious thing," head coach Mike Bianco said. "The less obvious and one of the most important ingredients is on the mound. You have to put up some zeroes. We put up a bunch of zeroes, and it started with Denny out of the bullpen. He looked terrific. Preston was really, really sharp. Wyatt Short, for his third outing of the year, looked super dominant."
"In the last inning, we came in and had a lot of energy, especially with Tarky. He threw great, and so did Wyatt Short," Denny said. "It really brought a lot of energy."
Denny came on in the fifth and allowed just one hit with no walks and two strikeouts in three innings of work, which tied his career high. Tarkington followed in the eighth and did not allow a hit with a strikeout in 1.1 innings of work. Short inherited a runner at second with one out in the ninth, but he got a pop-up to short and a swinging strikeout to get out of the inning.
"We have to pound the zone every time we get in there, no matter if we're up seven or down seven," Denny said. "It's one of the things that's our job to come in, especially out of the bullpen, to keep it close."
Redshirt sophomore Kaitlin Voll, will
be serving as the Ole Miss women's golf blogger this weekend. She will be
sharing some behind-the-scenes moments as the team opens the spring season at
the AllState Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.
The definition of a frittata is an egg-based
Italian dish that is similar to an omelet. The vegetable frittata was the main
dish for breakfast the morning of the first round that ended up getting
canceled due to storms. That morning we all learned that Taelor has a phobia of
frittatas. We call it frittataphobia!
On our day of our canceled round we went to
the famous Cafe Du Monde and ate our body weight in beignets and powder sugar!
Totally worth it! I'm pretty sure each one was 520 calories and we averaged
4.5 a person! (You do the math:)
We woke up this morning at 5 a.m. for our second
round knowing we are to play 36 holes and make up Round 1. The girls had the
passion and determination today. I saw it in everyone's eyes! Due to the
driving range being basically underwater, each player only had 12 balls to warm
up with. We did our dynamic warm up and took many practice swings! As a team
there were many birdies to go round! The energy was fantastic and so many great
We ended up at Sun ray Grill for dinner
and after dinner we are headed back to the room to do stats and prep work
for tomorrow! We're looking to finish strong with only 18 holes tomorrow.
Good night Rebel Fans!
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 17-23, 2014
- Ole Miss went 7-0 last week. The Rebels opened the week with a doubleheader sweep on the road at Southern Miss, and closed it out by going 5-0 at the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex.
- Senior center fielder RT Cantillo hit .556 for the week to raise her season batting average to .525, which is second best in the SEC.
- Junior right fielder Jamie Morgan hit a team-best .556 at the Red and Blue Classic with a team-high five RBI. Morgan is now batting .452 on the year.
- Prior to allowing a run in the fourth inning vs. Saint Louis on Sunday, Ole Miss had gone 25 consecutive innings without allowing a run.
- Led by seniors Shelby Jo Fenter and Carly Hummel, the Ole Miss pitching staff combined for a 1.03 ERA at the Red and Blue Classic.
- Ole Miss went 3-1 on the week with a 6-0 home-opening win over Tennessee Martin prior to winning the first two games of a three-game home series against Georgia State.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis threw the first complete game of his career with a shutout of Georgia State last weekend.
- Ole Miss has posted three shutouts through seven games this season.
- Ellis has turned in two shutouts to start the season, while Saturday left-handed starter Christian Trent has allowed only two runs and walked none in two starts and 13.0 innings.
- Junior catcher Will Allen continues to lead the Rebels at the plate, hitting .429 with two home runs and 13 RBI through seven games.
- The Rebels went 2-0 last weekend, shutting out Lipscomb 7-0 and defeating No. 32 Memphis 4-3 to improve to 5-1. They have now won four matches in a row.
- Head coach Mark Beyers picked up his 200th career coaching victory with Sunday's win over Memphis. That total includes a 50-8 record as the head women's coach at his alma mater, Armstrong Atlantic State.
- Senior Caroline Rohde-Moe and Mai El Kamash both remained undefeated in dual matches at 4-0.
- The Rebels have won the doubles point in five of their six matches, and are a combined 13-3 at all three spots.
- The Rebels begin SEC play this weekend at Auburn and Alabama.
- The Rebels went 1-1 last week on the road, downing SMU 4-0 before falling to No. 7 Baylor 4-0. The Baylor match was much closer than the final score indicated, with the doubles point coming down to a tiebreaker at No. 1, and five of the six singles matches going three sets.
- Freshman Ricardo Jorge made his debut and went 2-0 in singles and doubles. He clinched the win over SMU at No. 5 singles, and then teamed with Nik Scholtz for an 8-6 win at No. 2 doubles against Baylor.
- The Rebels return home this weekend to open SEC play. They will host Auburn on Friday at 2 p.m., followed by Alabama on Sunday at 1 p.m. Fans coming to Friday's match will receive free bucket hats, and on Sunday they will get a Spring Break tank top.
- Senior Marshall Henderson tied Pat Bradley's Southeastern Conference record with his 60th consecutive game with a 3-pointer on Saturday.
- Ole Miss dropped a pair of home games to top-20 teams last week as the Rebels fell to No. 16 Kentucky on Tuesday and No. 2 Florida on Saturday. It was the first time since 1998-99 that Ole Miss had hosted two top-20 teams at home in the same week.
- Jarvis Summers scored 20 points, including 14 in the second half, and Marshall Henderson added 22 first-half points, but it was not enough against the Gators.
- Summers scored 22 points and Anthony Perez scored 21, but the Rebels' second-half comeback fell short as the Wildcats defeated Ole Miss 84-70 in Oxford on Tuesday night.
- Junior Tia Faleru averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds last week, and posted back-to-back double-doubles against No. 13/16 Texas A&M and Mississippi State. She now has 15 double-doubles on the year, which leads the SEC and is ranked 18th nationally.
- Faleru is approaching the 1,000-point mark, as she is just 66 points away from the milestone. She will need to average 22 points in each of Ole Miss' next three games to reach the feat this season. She will become Ole Miss' 26th 1,000-point scorer.
- Valencia McFarland set a new career-high with 29 points in Ole Miss' overtime loss at Mississippi State. McFarland has topped the 20-point mark on 11 occasions this season. She also posted a season-best five triples against the Bulldogs.
- Ole Miss will close out the 2013-14 regular season this week. The Rebels will travel to Missouri on Thursday for a televised contest on Fox Sports Midwest/Sport South. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m. CT. Ole Miss will close the season at home against Auburn on Sunday at 2 p.m. Seniors Kenyotta Jenkins, McFarland and Diara Moore will be honored.
- The Rebels competed in the NCAA Qualifier last weekend in Lexington, Ky. They posted a 4612 aggregate score. Senior MaryAnn Banks led the squad in smallbore with a 574 as the Rebels totaled a 2277. Freshman Alison Weisz continues to lead the Rebels in air rifle, posting a 588 on the day as the Rebels finished with a total of 2335.
- The Rebels will find out Thursday when the NCAA team and individual selections are made, if anyone will qualify for the NCAA Championships. Senior Abbey Stanec has made it the past two years.
- This weekend, the Rebels will host the GARC Championships for the 10th consecutive year at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center. Action begins Friday at noon with individual smallbore. Competition continues all day Saturday and concludes Sunday with the finals of air rifle.
To begin this week, we will continue a similar path that we ended on last week. For the No. 27 moment under Billy Chadwick, Ole Miss celebrated another inaugural individual milestone.
As we mentioned last week, Mahesh Bhupathi rose onto the tennis scene during his freshman year (1994) with the Rebels. The following year in 1995, Bhupathi did something that no other tennis player had ever done in Ole Miss tennis history. Following a combined 15-3 record in league play in singles and doubles, Bhupathi was recognized as the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year.
That year, Bhupathi was the SEC Indoor Singles Champion and finished the season as the No. 3 ranked singles and No. 1 doubles player in the country.
"Mahesh's record speaks for itself, but to me, what separates him from the rest is his match play combined with his outstanding sportsmanship," said Ole Miss head coach Billy Chadwick upon the recognition.
The 1995 season will go down as not only one of the best in tennis, but one of the best years in any single sport in Ole Miss history, which is why we decided to break down the year in several moments. We have plenty more exciting, groundbreaking moments from this year on the way. Stay tuned.
Highlights of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Alabama head coach Anthony Grant and Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy. The Rebels host Alabama on Wednesday (7 p.m., ESPN3) and then travel to Texas A&M on Saturday (6 p.m., Fox Sports Net).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
There are two weeks remaining in the regular season. There is a logjam at 7-7 with a number of different teams. It's an important week for us, as we have one at home and one on the road. We need to try to find a way to stop the bleeding.
On seeing a seven-way tie for anything, anywhere:
I have never seen it. Last year, we were in a situation where we able to win our last two regular season games to tie for second and we got the 3-seed and a double bye in the tournament. It all really was dependent on three or four different teams and playing that last day. Florida has separated itself at the top, but everything else is still up for grabs as it relates to how teams play down the stretch.
On the importance of the double bye:
We were a beneficiary of that last year. We got the double bye and we were able go and cut down the nets. It's really big if you have aspirations. We go into the tournament needing probably to get to the finals to give ourselves a chance for an at-large. Thankfully, we took it one step further. It plays a huge part of day three, when it was our second game, and it was Vanderbilt's third game. We were playing them in the semifinals. It certainly took a toll on Vandy's legs, and it was an advantage to us. Getting the double bye is a huge advantage. A team that's in that position will be going to be going to Atlanta with aspirations of getting into the field. These last two weeks hold a lot of importance.
On the difficulty of taking each game as it presents itself and not look back:
It's easy to look back and live in the world of would have, could have, should have. You can see the finish line. You have two weeks left in the regular season leading to Atlanta. We know we have five more games. How we play in those five games will determine what happens next. My hope is that we're just anxious to play again because it's been two weeks since we have won a game. It's not a good feeling. I want our guys to share that sentiment and look forward to having the next opportunity.
On Trevor Releford:
He's a first team all-league player. They have their ups and downs, as we have all had. If a few games had gone the other way in Alabama's favor, he would be in the conversation for most valuable player in the league simply because of what he means to their team. He's had a terrific career. He's been very steady and very consistent, and he's really improved, which is a credit to Anthony (Grant) and his staff. He was a guy who's always been very good with the ball, fast in the open floor, but his ability to develop perimeter shooting and his ability to make perimeter shots has really made him a difficult cover.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant
We have the second game we have played this year against Ole Miss, this one on the road. They were a very talented team the first time we played them. We're looking forward to the opportunity to try to go to Ole Miss and get a win. And then we come back and play a rivalry game with Auburn here at home. We had a tough loss at their place earlier in the year. It's a big week for us, and I'm looking forward to getting prepare for these two games.
On Levi Randolph:
It was a good win for us against Missouri. Levi was a big part of that. I'm really happy for him that he was able to come out and have that type of performance. I'm happy for our team to be able to get the win. At the end of the day, the most important thing for Levi is for the team to win, and for him to be a big part of that is a very positive thing for him as we move forward in the season.
On Nick Jacobs' status and how Jimmie Taylor has stepped up with the extra minutes:
There is no update with Nick's status. Jimmie, the two games this past week, played 35 minutes at A&M and played 25-26 the other night against Missouri. He's a guy who's developing as a freshman with the experience that he is getting going against some of the elite guy in our league, in terms of frontcourt guys. He's done a really job for us on the defensive end, learning how to rebound the ball in traffic against the size and physicality in the SEC. He's still developing and still continues to need to develop from an offensive standpoint. The more experience he gets, the more comfortable he gets in terms of what he's able to do and understand where he needs to grow. As an 18-year-old freshman in this league he has a very bright future.
On the "character" victory over Missouri:
It's been a rough year for us, in terms of some of the tough losses that we have had, in nonconference and conference play. Our guys have had to battle. Some games we have performed well and come up short, one or two possessions. Other games we have not performed well and not been as close. A lot of times when you see teams going through some of the struggles that we go through, you begin to worry in terms of how they feel in terms of the work that they're putting in and the results they're getting. I called it a character win because our guys have approached practice the right way, in terms of preparing for every game and approach their preparation and putting themselves in position to win. It was a tough loss on the road at Texas A&M on Thursday night. Weather caused us to spend the night in Texas. We came back about 3 o'clock. On the way from the airport to campus, the bus broke down, and the guys had to wait to get another bus to bring them to campus. We had an evening practice in preparation for Missouri the next day. They did a great job of being able to lock in. Coming off a loss like that and to respond the way they did in less than 24 hours, it showed great character by our guys.
On the Missouri win starting a wave of momentum?
Each game has a life of its own. I have been doing this long enough where you understand as a coach that every game presents different challenges. That one game, certainly, was a great character win. Now, we have to be able to learn the lessons from that, good and bad, and move forward and understand that we're going to get a completely different look when we go on the road here for Ole Miss.
Texas A&M head Billy Kennedy
On the seven-way tie for fourth place in the SEC standings and importance of upcoming games:
That's definitely a lot of times team tied. I'm sure there's not another league in the country with that situation. In general, there is parity in college basketball. You have some heavyweight teams in each league. You look at the ACC, you look at the Big Ten, you look at the Pac-12, you look at the Big 12, and we follow the Big 12, having been in it, and you have teams with losing record that were once top-10 teams. It's college basketball. It's just not our league. Our league gets beat up, but it's not any different from any other league. A lot needs to be said about college basketball in general that there are about four to six heavyweight teams, and then it's the rest of us. It's kind of what college basketball is all over the map.
On the importance of the double bye:
It would be tremendous for all these teams that are 7-7 because there's not a big difference, and most of us have depth problems. We're not very deep. We have most of our teams back. It would be interesting to see how many seniors are on those 7-7 teams and how many teams will have guys back. To have some momentum going into the end of the season and hopefully some type of postseason play, and to have all those guys coming back for next year is something to build on.
Former Ole Miss wide receiver Donte Moncrief measured in Friday and went through workout drills Sunday in Indianapolis at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine. He was rated a top performer in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump and broad jump. He ranked among the top three at his position in each of the three drills. The NFL Draft is May 8-10.
Arm length: 32 3/8 inches
Weight: 221 pounds
Hands: 9 1/8 inches
40-yard dash: 4.40 second (t-3rd among wide receivers, 4th among all players)
Bench press (Reps At 225 Pounds): 13
Vertical jump: 39.5 inches (t-3rd among wide receivers, t-5th among all players)
Broad jump: 132 inches (1st among wide receivers, t-2nd among all players)
3 cone drill: 7.02 seconds
20-yard shuttle run: 4.30 seconds
The Ole Miss softball team won all five games and outscored its opponents 20-5 this weekend at the Red and Blue Classic at the Ole Miss Softball Complex. The Rebels shut out Bowling Green, Buffalo and Northern Colorado in the first three games of the tournament and then closed the tournament with wins over Saint Louis and Tennessee Martin.
"All in all, the pitching staff did a really good job this weekend, pitching into the defense and getting a lot of strikeouts," head coach Windy Thees said. "RT (Cantillo) continues to hit over .500, and Haley Culley made some outstanding defensive plays all weekend."
Ole Miss hit .325 and scored 20 runs on 40 hits for the weekend. The Rebels' two leading hitters, senior outfielder RT Cantillo and junior third baseman Allison Brown, continued to swing the bat well.
Cantillo had a hit in each of the five games, which included a 3-for-4 game against Northern Colorado. Brown went 5-for-16 for the weekend, highlighted by a two-RBI single in a 2-0 win over Northern Colorado. Culley also had a stellar weekend at the plate, going 7-for-16 for the weekend with three multi-hit games.
On the mound, Ole Miss posted more strikeouts (32) than hits allowed (25) for the weekend. The Rebels used five pitchers and allowed just five runs -- four earned -- on 25 hits with 12 walks and 32 strikeouts over 34 innings of work.
Senior right-hander Shelby Jo Fenter won a pair of games, as she allowed just two runs on nine hits with seven walks and 14 strikeouts, which included 6.2 scoreless innings against Bowling Green. Fellow senior right-hander Carly Hummel earned a win and two saves in eight scoreless innings for the weekend, highlighted a complete game shutout against Buffalo.
"It's a lot of fun to pitch with a staff this year," Thees said. "All of our kids are super talented. They do a good job of attacking the strike zone. They have some nasty stuff and are very different. For me, it's kind of fun to go to somebody else who may be different than the person who started on the mound, and we did that a lot this weekend."
With a doubleheader sweep at Southern Miss followed by a five-game sweep at the Red and Blue Classic, the Rebels have won seven in a row and improve to 11-6 on the season. Their current seven-game winning streak is two shy of equaling the longest winning streak in program history, which they tied a season ago.
"We're still growing," Thees said. "We're still trying to figure some things out. There are still some consistency issues at the place. I would like our hitter to be better at swinging at their pitches early in the count. We're getting there. I saw more of that this weekend."
Chris Triplett hit a two-run, go-ahead home run and Matt Rose pitched a complete game to lift Georgia State past Ole Miss, 6-4, on Sunday at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss starter Sam Smith allowed nine runs on nine hits with no walks and four strikeouts and left the game with a 4-3 lead in the sixth. Georgia State rallied in the late innings with a pair of home runs, Triplett's in the seventh and then a solo shot in the eighth, to take the series finale.
"It was tough on all the pitchers today," head coach Mike Bianco. "They're very good offensively, and it was a tough day to pitch. Sam really battled, but they got a lot of good swings off today throughout the game. Sam gave us a chance just like he always does on Sunday. He leaves the game with the lead. With nine outs to go, we're not able to hold it. That's tough. And it's more of their doing."
"They were really ready to play today and they came out swinging," senior catcher Will Allen said. "They pitched well. I'm not too sure if we weren't ready, or they were more ready than us. Overall, we have to play better. We have to get some timely hits. If we're not going to be on the bases as much as we usually are, we have to take full advantage when we are on the bases. We have to make pitches. We have to work down in the zone and work ahead. Any advantage, you have to take advantage of it. We had some missed opportunities today."
Triplett, who hit .455 for the weekend, was a double shy of the cycle and drove in three runs to lead the Georgia State offense, which had 14 hits for the game.
On the mound, Rose limited the Rebels to one run after the first two innings, as he went the distance and allowed four runs on eight hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
"He really settled down after we put up three in the first two," freshman designated hitter Colby Bortles said. "He really settled down after that. He started to hit his spots. He wasn't overthrowing like he was in the first couple of innings. He settled down, hit his spots and threw his slider more often and kept us off balance."
"He was busting righties in, away from lefties, mixing it up with a slider and a change-up to both lefties and righties," Allen said. "He has good stuff. He's a really good pitcher. He competed well. Kudos to him for going the whole way. That's very impressive."
Allen and Bortles both had multi-hit games for the second straight game. Allen is hitting a team-leading .429, including .500 for the weekend with a hit in each of the three games. Bortles made his second and third career starts and also hit .500 for the weekend with a pair of 2-for-4 games.
"He's really looked terrific," said Bianco of Bortles. "He had a good fall and I knew he would be in the mix. Since we got back in January and started intrasquad games, he has swung it as well as anybody. He's a guy who can hit it to all fields. He certainly has big-time power. He's not just a big swing-and-miss guy. He will handle some off-speed and will be able to take it the other way. He's going to be a star."
Redshirt sophomore Kaitlin
Voll, will be serving as the Ole Miss women's golf blogger this weekend. She
will be sharing some behind-the-scenes moments as the team opens the spring
season at the AllState Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans
We teed off at 12:10 for our practice round today. Weather was perfect! This
golf course is very fair and set up well for the Rebels! On the course the green
backers made us the best jambalaya ever! We really honed in on our short game
today and did our prep work! You can basically hit a bump and run from anywhere
around the green! Thank goodness because we are real good at those!
At House of Blues for dinner this evening and
then headed back to the hotel for some zzz's! We have a 9 a.m. tee time and a
630 a.m. breakfast! Follow us at Golfstat.com!
There is even an app!
Note: There is a GolfStat app that can be downloaded at the App Store for
iPhone/iPad users and Goggle Play for Android users. Free at both places!)
HOTTY TODDY Y'ALL!
Head coach Mike Bianco gathered his team before the fifth inning, and Ole Miss responded with five runs in the fifth inning and four in the sixth. Home runs from Auston Bousfield and Sikes Orvis highlighted the offensive barrage, as the Rebels pounded out 17 hits in a 9-1 win over Georgia State Saturday at Swayze Field.
"I gave them a little pep talk," Bianco said. I was frustrated. I was frustrated that we haven't played better at home. I was frustrated that we hadn't swung it better. I challenged them a little bit, and it's nice when they respond."
Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, Bousfield tied the game at 1-1 with a leadoff home run to left field. After singles from Will Allen and Preston Overbey, Sikes Orvis gave Ole Miss a 4-1 lead with a three-run homer to right center. The Rebels batted around, and Bousfield drove in another run with an infield single to the shortstop.
Ole Miss added four runs in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-1. Bousfield, Allen and Overbey all finished with three hits, while Orvis, Colby Bortles and Errol Robinson also had multi-hit games for the Rebels.
"Coach B brought us up and got onto us a little bit," said Bousfield of the pep talk. "He told us to have some better at-bats. It was nice, first pitch I saw the next inning, I got a good piece of it. It got the offense clicking there in the middle part of the game."
On the mound, Christian Trent allowed one run on three hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work. After the second inning, he allowed just one hit and did not allow a base runner to get into scoring position. Josh Laxer closed things out, giving up just one hit with a walk and three strikeouts in the eighth and ninth innings.
"He was terrific," Bianco said. "He pitched very similar to the way Chris did last night. He had a great mix of three pitches and really kept them off balance."
"I felt like I wasn't find my pitches right at the beginning of the game," Trent said. "I had a little bit of nerves with the first game at home. We settled in. Offensively, it was not coming early. We were still getting guys on, but then it was a breakthrough when it finally happened."
With the win, the Diamond Rebels improve to 6-0 on the season and will go for their second weekend series sweep Sunday against Georgia State at 1:30 p.m. at Swayze Field.
Marshall Henderson hit five 3-pointers and scored all 22 of his points in the first half, as Ole Miss and No. 2 Florida went into halftime tied 42-42. It was the most points that the Gators, who led the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense (57.8), had allowed in a half this season.
In the second half, Florida held Henderson to 0-of-6 shooting, including 0-for-5 from the 3-point line, as the Gators held the Rebels to 29 second-half points in a 75-71 win Saturday in Oxford.
"In the second half, we had our chances," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We gave a winning effort, but you have to make plays to beat what will be the number one team in the nation in a couple of days. You have to make plays. We had our chances. We were up three or four. We had untimely turnovers, dribbling off our leg, not finishing plays and when Marshall does not score in the second half, it limits our options."
"He had similar looks," Florida head coach Billy Donovan said. "Maybe we stretched him a little bit in terms of pushing him further out than he was in the first half. I have said this before with him. You're not going to prevent him from shooting the ball. He's just going to shoot it from wherever he gets it, and a lot of times you're at the mercy of whether it goes in or not. In the second half, it did not go in as much as it certainly did in the first half."
Coming out of the under-eight media timeout, Florida scored five straight points to take a 64-59 lead with 4:43 left, and Ole Miss could not cut into the lead the rest of the way, as the Gators made their free throws down the stretch to close out the win.
The shooting numbers and rebounding numbers were comparable, with Florida shooting 44.4 percent from the field, while Ole Miss shot 45 percent. Florida won the rebounding battle, 34-32, but the Gators turned it into a 21-8 advantage in second-chance points.
"You can't keep getting outrebounded," Kennedy said. "We play a possessions game. We shot 45 percent from the floor, and they shot 44 percent from the floor. We have to find someone who can go get hard rebounds. Maybe when those freshmen become sophomores can go get them. Maybe those juniors once they become veterans can go get them. I don't know. It's certainly been an issue for us from day one, and it continues today. We all know what the problem is. We have to keep working on fixing it."
Since a 91-88 win over Missouri two Saturdays ago, Ole Miss has lost four straight entering its last four games of the regular season starting with Alabama at home Wednesday. The rest of the way, Kennedy said, the focus is not on the NCAA Tournament but simply improvement and winning a game.
"I haven't one time said we were an NCAA Tournament team," Kennedy said. "I know that has to be in every sentence and every category. We haven't earned our way into that conversation, so we're not relevant as it relates to that conversation left. This time last year, we weren't relevant either. We still have five basketball games left, and if we can win our share of those five, maybe we earn our way into that conversation."
"We did what we needed to do earlier in conference play. We had a couple of heartbreaking losses on the road. We had two opportunities here at home, and we did not get it done, bottom line. I'm not talking NCAA Tournament with this team. Let's improve. Let's win a game. It's been two weeks since we have a won game, which seems like an eternity. Let's get back focused on Alabama."
Redshirt sophomore Kaitlin Voll, will
be serving as the Ole Miss women's golf blogger this weekend. She will be
sharing some behind-the-scenes moments as the team opens the spring season at
the AllState Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.
Headed to NOLA!
After a delish and nutrish lunch from
1810, several U-turns later and 307 miles the Lady Rebels pull up in NOLA just
in time to put the Ole Miss Sprinter van in the Mardi Gras parade. This morning
the alarm clock in Katie, Taelor and Alison's room goes off an hour before
breakfast so let's just say it no longer will be a problem anymoreJ
This Saturday we are in our outfit of
champions... LOUD MOUTH! Getting prepared for our practice round and harnessing
the big energy of the city. During the drive I had full intentions of
studying and preparing for tests next week, but decide to try and rap. Not
common I know, but this is what I came up with.
NOLA Rap (Ole Miss Women's Golf Style)
game is so fresh and clean,
The team dominates the green.
needs that cocoa bean
she does her preshot routine.
in Tulane we remain
that it doesn't rain.
got swings like, Morgan/
roll up in our "war vessel",
coach didn't forget Ethel.
other girls try to be like tiger,
just wanna hit that driver.
the pin is what she seeks
can see it all over Alison cheeks.
are on top our peak for the week.
the other girl golf because
watched her hit it into the gulf.
is our assistant Coach,
helps us get our landing approach,
covered up to her chin,
don't blame her, I'm like her identical twin.
aims at the bell tower
hitting it 130 miles per hour
the ball is soaring,
is definitely scoring.
wants to wear pink but we all gotta be in sync
uses it as her marking ink.
suited up in Nike fresh to death
to tee it up and take a deep breath.
better respect the Lady Rebels
we are on that next level.
is just a lil taste,
Cuz i don't got time to waste.
Well that's all I got! I'll keep you Rebel fans updated on the course
and conditions after the practice round today!
Last time out, Ole Miss rallied to get within six, down 76-70, with 1:49 left, but fell 84-70 to No. 18 Kentucky in Oxford Tuesday. It was the Rebels' third straight loss, having lost heartbreakers at Alabama and at Georgia the previous week.
Ole Miss looks to snap its current losing streak and notch a marquee win, as it hosts No. 2 Florida, which has won each of its first 13 SEC games and a school-record 18 straight games after a 71-66 home win over Auburn Wednesday.
"I know that we have the No. 2-ranked team in the country coming into our building in a couple of days, and my hope is that they will be excited about having that opportunity," said head coach Andy Kennedy of his team's mindset entering Saturday's game.
Florida, ranked No. 3 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com), is not only an opportunity for Ole Miss to boost its RPI, which has dropped to No. 75, but a win over the Gators would give the program its highest-ever win over a ranked opponent.
"They're a very good basketball team," Kennedy said. "The four seniors, they are better collectively than they are when you start breaking them down individually. That's not a slight on them individually, but they are truly a consummate team. It's Billy (Donovan)'s job since I have been a part of the league for eight years, and one of those was a national championship.
"He's maximized this group, and they have developed guys that were 'role players' in the past into all-league-type players. I have been really, really impressed with them as a team. We're going to have to play an 'A' game to give ourselves a chance from an effort and efficiency standpoint. We have to make sure that we take the right approach to have a chance to beat a team of their caliber."
The Gators lead the Southeastern Conference in scoring defense (57.8 ppg) and scoring margin (+12.8). On the glass, where Ole Miss ranks last in rebounding margin (-4.1), Florida ranks third in rebounding margin (+5.8), second in defensive rebounding percentage (70.7%) and fourth in offensive rebounding percentage (37.3%).
"We have to do what we do," said Kennedy of Florida's defensive pressure. "We have to be efficient. We weren't very efficient against Kentucky, and they exposed us. We have to be efficient because I don't anticipate the game being as many possessions based on the way that they play. We have to be efficient offensively."
Four players average double figures for the Gators, led by two of the four seniors in Casey Prather and Scottie Wilbekin, who average 15.7 and 13.6 points per game, respectively. Prather also leads the league and ranks fourth in the nation with a 62.8 field goal percentage. Kennedy said he anticipates Wilbekin to guard Marshall Henderson, who leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation averaging 4.48 3-pointers per game. Henderson also ranks third in the league in scoring at 20.2 ppg.
"He's a terrific on-ball defender," Kennedy said. "Our anticipation would be that he is going to guard Marshall off the ball. He's very, very good at fighting through screens and reading defenses. He has improved his ability to make plays with the ball. In the past, he has always deferred, whether it be to Kenny Boynton or whether it be to Erik Murphy, whoever it may be. Now he's the guy. When the game is on the line, he's going to make plays off the bounce."
"Andy (Kennedy) puts him in a lot of really, really good situations for him," said Florida head coach Billy Donovan of Henderson. "Since I have been in this league, I don't recall a players as fast as he is coming off screens and getting shots off. He is incredible doing that. There are times that you play really, really good defense and it doesn't make a difference. That's probably a tribute to Henderson and his ability to shoot the ball. He is a unique, talented player. The thing that I admire most about him is what a great competitor he is and how much he loves playing. He's certainly a handful to get ready for, but they also have a lot of other good players besides who him are playing well."
After six shutout innings against Stetson in his first Friday start, Chris Ellis followed it up with his first career complete-game shutout, as Ole Miss blanked Georgia State 3-0 Friday at Swayze Field.
The junior from Birmingham, Ala., allowed just five hits with no walks and four strikeouts in nine scoreless innings. Ellis did allow a runner to reach third base and allowed just two runners in scoring position for the game. He was also efficient on the mound, throwing 67 of his 101 pitches for strikes. He also stayed around 90 mph with his fast ball and touched 91 mph in the ninth inning.
"I like having the beer showers after the game and pitching at night and having all these fans out there," Ellis said. "It's a great atmosphere. It makes it a lot easier to pitch."
"The difference today was a great three-pitch mix," head coach Mike Bianco said. "He was able to throw his change-up into the strike zone early on and was able to throw his fastball in, which was a difference-maker in a lot of at-bats. He was terrific. Even the few times that they threatened, he was able to control the running game and make pitches, and he had terrific defense behind him."
Ole Miss staked a 2-0 lead in the second after Will Jamison singled to right to score Sikes Orvis, and then Preston Overbey came around to score on the throw to second. The Rebels added an insurance run in the fourth on a bases-loaded walk to Braxton Lee, but the first two runs were all Ellis needed.
"In the second inning, Jamison got the big hit," Ellis said. "Once you get a lead, it's a little bit easier to pitch. They start pressing for runs. You let the defense work behind you, and we turned a couple of double plays. We were really sound defensively."
"He was lights out today," Overbey said. "It's fun to play defense behind a guy like that."
Georgia State threatened in the eighth after a leadoff single. A ground ball back to the pitcher advanced the runner, but Ellis got a line out and his fourth strikeout to strand the runner at second.
With Aaron Greenwood warming up in the bullpen, Bianco stayed with Ellis for the ninth, and he answered with a 1-2-3 inning to close things out.
"The biggest decision was (Ellis) at 88 pitches and having watched the last at-bat against Prain that you knew he could finish instead of struggle through that eighth," Bianco said. "He gives up a first-pitch base hit, and it looked like he cruised after that, so it looked like he was in pretty good control."
"After I finished the eighth, Coach Bianco came up to me and wanted to know if I wanted to finish," Ellis said. "Of course, the competitor in you wants to finish."
For our 28th moment, we will cap this week off by highlighting a major team accomplishment for coach Billy Chadwick during his rise and transformation of the Ole Miss Tennis program.
In 1994, the Rebels became the first team in Ole Miss Tennis history to finish a season ranked in the top 10 in the national polls. During this historic season, Ole Miss received many honors league and nationwide. The Rebels qualified more players for the NCAA than any other team in the country, led the league in players selected to the All-SEC team (3), and finished tied for 10th in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association poll.
As the No. 25 ranked doubles team in the country, Joakim Appelqvist teamed with Ali Hamadeh to claim the Rolex Region III Doubles Championship as well as the SEC Doubles Championship. All while a familiar and recurring name, freshman Mahesh Bhupathi, was named National ITA Rookie of the Year and joined Appelqvist and Hamadeh on the All-SEC team.
In addition, the All-American, Appelqvist reached the Final Four of the NCAA Championships, further than any men's tennis player in the state of Mississippi had ever reached at the time.
The Rebels finished the season with an overall record of 17-8 and were a constant name inside the top 15 throughout the year. The Rebels posted five shutout wins in SEC play; most notable was the blanking of No. 4 Kentucky 7-0.
Appelqvist also helped lead the Rebels to the NCAA Region III Championship, while being recognized as one of the great student-athletes in the league. Appelqvist was an ITA Academic All-American and joined Ivan Trevino as an SEC Academic Honor Roll selection.
Mahesh Bhupathi caught the eyes of the entire tennis world as a true freshman. However, just as we are only getting started on our countdown, Bhupathi was only getting started on leaving his mark as one of the most decorated tennis players in Ole Miss history.
Stay tuned for No. 27 next week as Bhupathi and the Rebels take their game and the program to an even higher level.
Video courtesy Ben Love, Publisher, TigerSportsDigest
With a doubleheader sweep on the road at Southern Miss on Tuesday, the Ole Miss softball team improved to 6-6 on the season as it comes home to play its first home games of the season at the annual Red and Blue Classic from Friday-Sunday.
"It's tough because we lost a lot of one-run ball games, and if we cleaned up some mistakes in some of those games, or scored some of the runners that we left on base, we would have won some more games," head coach Windy Thees said.
"Overall, if you look at our offense, we're doing really well. We just need to make sure we're scoring the runners when we get on base. Pitching-wise, we're keeping our team in ball games. We need to get the big out with a runner on instead of putting pressure on our defense. Defensively, we have had some great games, but we need to come up with the big play in the infield and outfield. We have made more mistakes this year than I'm used to, but part of that is because we have more drop-ball pitchers and we don't have as my pop-ups or fly balls."
The Rebels are hitting .317 and averaging 4.1 runs per game, led by senior outfielder RT Cantillo and junior third baseman Allison Brown. Cantillo leads the Southeastern Conference with 23 hits on the season, and her team-high batting average of .575 ranks second in the league. Brown is tied for second in the SEC with 16 hits, while her .381 batting average is third on the team.
Through 12 games, Ole Miss has left 88 runners on base, an average of 7.3 per game. Thees said she wants her team to embrace the opportunity and make the great play in situations such as hitting with runners on base.
"Sometimes we're getting some great hits, but we're getting unlucky," Thees said. "A lot of times the kids are putting too much pressure on themselves and not being patient and selective enough to get their pitch early in the count.
"We're working on that. It's early-season excitement, getting in the box, wanting to come through and seeing the game too big, instead of really small, looking for something up and out so I can drive it opposite field to score the runner."
In the circle, Ole Miss has posted a 2.48 ERA with 39 runs scored -- 28 earned -- on 66 hits with 34 walks and 69 strikeouts. Four pitchers have started games for the Rebels.
The most consistent option has been senior right-hander Shelby Jo Fenter, who holds a team-best 1.24 ERA in 22.2 innings of work, including a team-high 28 strikeouts. Another right-hander, redshirt freshman Emily Gaitan, is second on the team with a 1.43 ERA in 14.2 innings of work and also leads the team with a .156 opponents' batting average.
"It's nice to have so many options, and they're all four very different pitchers," Thees said. "Part of it is tough because they all need to get more time on the mound, and they're not getting as much as they're used to.
"I like that we can mix pitchers, so I definitely plan on using my whole staff throughout the season. We don't have that staff where we are going to ride one pitcher like some teams do for the whole season."
Ole Miss opens the three-day, five-game tournament Friday against Bowling Green at 6:00 p.m. On Saturday, the Rebels play back-to-back games at 1:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. against Buffalo and Northern Colorado, respectively. Ole Miss will close the tournament Sunday with games against Saint Louis (1:30 p.m.) and UT Martin (3:45 p.m.)
"It's always exciting for our players and for us as a staff to play in front of our friends, our family, Ole Miss and the community we have here," Thees said. "Our girls are very excited to be at home and play on the field that we practice on and that we know so well. Hopefully we can make everyone proud."
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy met with members of the media Thursday, ahead of the Rebels' home game against the No. 2-ranked Florida Gators on Saturday (11 a.m., CBS).
On the team's mindset entering the game against Florida:
I don't know. I know what my mindset is. If I could be a mind-reader, it would certainly help me in my profession. I know this. I know that we have the No. 2-ranked team in the country coming into our building in a couple of days, and my hope is that they will be excited about having that opportunity
On what Martavious Newby brought in Tuesday's game against Kentucky and the difference that he made:
There was a noticeable difference. It's the ability to fight. That's what you want as a coach. You're not always going to win every game. You're not always going to make every shot. Sometimes you can do everything that you're supposed to and still come up short and be out-manned a little bit. You just want to see guys fight.
He brought us great energy, which he normally does. He got balls and kept balls alive. Those 50-50 balls, those possessions that we always talk about, he did a good job of keeping balls alive, fighting, giving us extra possessions and giving us a chance.
On Newby taking a step back offensively because the team needed him as a defensive, scrappy presence:
When we signed him, I described him as a 6-foot-3 version of Murphy (Holloway). He's a position-less guy, but he's always around the ball. He plays with great physical toughness. He's always in attack mode. That's really the thing that he can bring this team that we lost for the three weeks that he was gone.
On Newby being full-go Saturday:
I hope so. He's been cleared medically. We didn't know how quickly he would respond to the basketball aspect of it. He practiced the day before Kentucky and did well. I went in not really expecting to play him because I didn't want to put him in a position that he wasn't ready for physically. We certainly needed him, and he responded in adverse circumstance. My intention is to certainly play him Saturday.
On matching up with Florida:
They're a very good basketball team. The four seniors, they are better collectively than they are when you start breaking them down individually. That's not a slight on them individually, but they are truly a consummate team. It's Billy (Donovan)'s job since I have been a part of the league for eight years, and one of those was a national championship.
He's maximized this group, and they have developed guys that were "role players'" in the past into all-league-type players. I have been really, really impressed with them as a team. We're going to have to play an "A" game to give ourselves a chance from an effort and efficiency standpoint. We have to make sure that we take the right approach to have a chance to beat a team of their caliber.
On Florida's 71-66 win over Auburn on Wednesday:
Auburn played extremely well. They made shots. Any time that you can shoot the ball at about a 50 percent clip -- Auburn was over 50 percent from 3 -- and held their own in a number of different areas, which gave themselves a chance down the stretch. For Florida, it was not their best game, and Billy admitted that, and yet they still found a way to win. That's what good teams do.
On this Florida team compared to the 2006 and 2007 Florida National Championship teams:
They are different. Those championship teams had lottery picks on them. Joakim Noah is an NBA all-star, Al Horford is an NBA all-star, and Corey Brewer is an NBA starter. I'm not saying that these kids don't have futures in basketball, but it's a different dynamic from a size and strength standpoint.
Scottie Wilbekin has to be in consideration for Player of the Year in our league. He's certainly the most valuable player for what he brings their unit. Casey Prather is having a terrific year, going from a 5-to-15 minute a game guy to a guy who's leading them in scoring. Patric Young, it seems like he's been there 25 years. He's certainly been in the weight room about those 25 years. He's a big, strong guy whose game has developed. He's developed a low-post scoring ability that he didn't have in the past. He's always been very, very physical imposing. They have a consummate team.
On Wilbekin improving as a perimeter defender:
He's a terrific on-ball defender. Our anticipation would be that he is going to guard Marshall off the ball. He's very, very good at fighting through screens and reading defenses. He has improved his ability to make plays with the ball. In the past, he has always deferred, whether it be to Kenny Boynton or whether it be to Erik Murphy, whoever it may be. Now he's the guy. When the game is on the line, he's going to make plays off the bounce.
On handling Florida's defensive pressure:
We have to do what we do. We have to be efficient. We weren't very efficient against Kentucky, and they exposed us. We have to be efficient because I don't anticipate the game being as many possessions based on the way that they play. We have to be efficient offensively.
On coaching toughness with the frontcourt players:
It's a lot about who they are, but we have to develop that. You can develop toughness by accountability and by continuing to be consistent in your approach. Some of the things that we're dealing with are youth and inexperience. My hope is that as we continue to pile up these lessons and games, they will grow from that.
You heard some of them at yesterday's home opener, and here's the complete list of walk out songs. Click on the song to listen to it. Viewer discretion advised. Songs played in venue will be edited. My personal favorite has to be "It Was A Good Day."
#1 Preston Overbey: Soul Survivor by Young Jeezy
#2 Jacob Waguespack: Till I Collapse by Eminem
#4 Will Jamison: Stranglehold by Ted Nugent
#6 Errol Robinson: Str8 Like That by Meek Mill
#7 Dalton Dulin: Hustlin' by Rick Ross
#8 Austin Anderson: Suga Suga by Baby Bash
#9 Auston Bousfield: Closer To The Sun by Slightly Stoopid
#10 Chris Ellis: Lose Yourself by Eminem
#11 Braxton Lee: Boogie Shoes by K.C. And The Sunshine Band
#12 J.B. Woodman: Chicks Dig It by Chris Cagle
#13 Austin Knight: It's Just What We Do by Florida Georgia Line
#14 Cameron Dishon: Come And Get It by Selena Gomez
#16 Matt Denny: Son's Gonna Rise by Citizen Cope
#17 Kyle Tuth: Three Little Birds by Bob Marley
#19 Peyton Attaway: Nike Boots by Wale
#20 Josh Laxer: Square Dance by Eminem
#21 Hawtin Buchanan: Tops Drop by Fat Pat
#22 Henri Lartigue: Jump Around by House Payne
#24 Sikes Orvis: Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Leppard
#25 Colby Bortles: Party In The U.S.A. by Miley Cyrus
#28 Brantley Bell: You're Going Down by Sick Puppies
#29 Sam Smith: I'm Your Boogie Man by K.C. And The Sunshine Band
#30 Will Allen: Shine by Collective Soul
#31 Cheyne Bickel: Watch Out For This by Major Lazer (Hunter Siegel remix)
#32 Austin Blunt: Cole World by J. Cole
#35 Jeremy Massie: Thunderstruck by AC/DC
#36 John Gatlin: Pitch Perfect: Price Tag/Don't You/Give Me Everything by Barden Bellas
#38 Wyatt Short: The Drift by Blackmill
#40 Scott Weathersby: Ole Miss Rebels by K Zoe (Christian Rap original mix)
#41 Preston Tarkington: God's Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash
#42 Holt Perdzock: It Was A Good Day by Ice Cube
#44 Aaron Greenwood: Return Of The Mack by Mark Morrison
#45 Scott Ashford: Intro by The XX
#47 Christian Trent: M.A.A.D. City by Kendrick Lamar (Instrumental)
#55 Evan Anderson: Photograph by Def Leppard
Ole Miss Baseball: Run On Opening Day 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
The Ole Miss baseball team opened its home slate with a 6-0 win over Tennessee-Martin on Wednesday at Swayze Field. It kicked off a 13-game home stand that continues this weekend with a three-game series against Georgia State. First pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday are both set for a 1:30 p.m. start.
For our 29th moment in our journey throughout Ole Miss men's tennis head coach Billy Chadwick's illustrious career, we recall the program's first ever NCAA Tournament win.
In 1992, there were four matches featuring eight teams that had to play their way into the Final 16. The other 12 earned automatic spots into the Sweet Sixteen.
Ole Miss, who defeated Clemson 5-3, was one of four teams to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. The Rebels would lose their succeeding match; however, they were recognized for their outstanding season with the program's highest final national ranking (No. 14). When the dust settled three Rebels were named All-American and three made the All-SEC team.
The Rebels' wins that season included No. 9 Mississippi State, No. 17 Arkansas, No. 18 Tennessee, and No. 24 Rice. The Rebels were led by the All-American trio of Mohamed Ridaoui and the doubles tandem of Ivan Trevino and Mike Knowles, who finished the year as the No. 4 ranked team in the country with a 31-2 record. Trevino was the only league player named to both the All-SEC team and the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
"The success of this team centered on our outstanding doubles play, we finished our dual-match season 25-3 in doubles matches," Chadwick said. "Ivan is a great example of the type of student-athlete we strive for here at Ole Miss, and we are very proud of his accomplishments on and off the court."
Friday, we will fast-forward a couple of years to recognize an additional outstanding team achievement. Stay tuned to find out what the Rebel Netters accomplished.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis
.Special assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.
Written by Lauren McMillin, Athletics Media Relations student assistant
Since the conclusion of the 2013 football season and the Music City Bowl victory, eight Rebel seniors were invited to participate in college all-star games across the country.
Beginning on Jan. 11, Emmanuel McCray played for the National team in the Medal of Honor Bowl in Charleston, S.C. A native of Jackson, Miss., the left tackle started every game as a junior and was a part-time starter as a senior.
A week later, on Jan. 18, Ja-Mes Logan represented the Rebels in the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. A wide receiver for the East team, Logan caught three passes for 23 yards. The senior from Houston, Texas finished his Ole Miss career tied for seventh in school history with 136 career catches and 12th with 1,734 receiving yards.
On the same day, Tyler Campbell, Mike Marry and Charles Sawyer played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Carson, Calif. All three played on the American team, with Marry posting four tackles and Campbell making five punts for 216 yards.
A three-year starting linebacker for the Rebels, Marry, a native of Clearwater, Fla., had 233 career tackles and finished among the SEC's active leaders with 23.0 career tackles for loss.
Campbell, from Little Rock, Ark., was a four-year starting punter for the Rebels and ranks second in school history with a career average of 44.6 yards per punt.
Sawyer, a cornerback from Miami, Fla., had 28 career passes defended and eight career interceptions while with the Rebels, placing him among the SEC's active leaders.
To finish the all-star game series, Jeff Scott, Evan Swindall and Pierce Burton played for the American team in the College All-Star Bowl on Feb. 14 in Greenville, S.C.
Scott, a native of Miami, Fla., is one of the school's all-time leaders in rushing yards (2,297), all-purpose yards (3,668), rushing touchdowns (17) and 100-yard rushing games (nine).
Swindall, the Rebels' starting center for each of his last 33 games in an Ole Miss uniform, has twice been on the Rimington Trophy's watch list, and at the conclusion of the 2013 season was recognized as Ole Miss' Most Valuable Senior by the coaching staff and honored during a ceremony by the Jackson Touchdown Club. The LaFayette, Ga., native helped the Ole Miss offense to two of its highest scoring seasons ever over the last two years.
Burton started at right tackle in all 26 games of his Rebel career. A native of Sacramento, Calif., Burton helped produce two of the top three seasons in Ole Miss history in total yardage.
These seniors, along with junior NFL Draft entrant Donte Moncrief, will hope to get selected in the upcoming NFL Draft, May 8-10, or be picked up by an NFL team as a rookie free agent. Moncrief is among 48 wide receivers invited to participate at the NFL Scouting Combine this weekend, Feb. 22-25, in Indianapolis.
Five takeaways Ole Miss' 84-70 loss to No. 18 Kentucky on Tuesday night:
1. Rebel Comeback Falls Short
Kentucky built a 42-25 halftime lead, as the Wildcats shot 58.6 percent (17-of-29) from the field and 46.2 percent (6-of-13) from 3-point range. In the second half, Kentucky led by as many as 22 midway through the second half before Ole Miss made a run to get within six, down 76-70, with 1:49 left after a three-pointer from Anthony Perez.
On the next possession, Julius Randle put Kentucky up 78-70 with a layup late in the shot clock. Ole Miss had three looks to cut back into the lead, but Kentucky grabbed the rebound and put the game away with six straight points from the free throw line for the 84-70 win in Oxford For the game, the Wildcats were 27-of-30 from the free throw line, including 25-of-28 in the second half.
"The way we played in the first half, even with all the turnovers, we wanted to play faster," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. "We didn't want to get into a slugfest because they can score in spurts. You need to get easy baskets, and we did. I was really proud of them in the first half. I said at halftime, 'They're going to make a run. You do know that, right? Now, let's see how we respond to it, and let's make our own run.
"We're making strides. I was really proud of Julius, and we made our free throws. We showed courage down the stretch. They made shots, and they make shots."
2. Kentucky Controls The Paint
Like the second half in their earlier meeting at Rupp Arena, Kentucky won the battle in the paint with a decisive advantage in points in the paint (36-26), second-chance points (11-2) and rebounding (39-23). Julius Randle led the way for Kentucky with 25 points and 13 rebounds. He was also 13-of-14 from the free throw line.
"They turned it over 19 times because we couldn't stop them," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "When we did get them to miss, it was the same thing we saw in Rupp. They go and get it. My guys are saying this and that. We're just not tough enough physically to put our nose in there and battle. As a coach, when you're saying that at the end of February, it's pretty sobering. It's pretty disappointing. My fault."
For Ole Miss, Anthony Perez, who plays some in the frontcourt, finished with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while Aaron Jones, Dwight Coleby, Demarco Cox and Sebastian Saiz combined for seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.
"We were taking pretty good looks," Kennedy said. "We just can't get anything at the basket. We're 26 games into this, and it has not changed. Our field goal percentage is around 40 percent in league play. It's sobering."
3. Newby Helps Spark Rally In Return
Martavious Newby returned to action, having missed the previous six games after suffering a hand injury against Mississippi State on Jan. 25. Newby did not score and grabbed just one rebound in nine minutes played, but he gave Ole Miss energy off the bench.
He checked in at the 9:08 mark in the second half when the Rebels trailed 62-40, its largest deficit of the game, and they went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to 64-50 with 7:13 left. Ole Miss would later get to within six points before Kentucky closed out the game.
"He gave us great energy," Kennedy said. "He's a guy who was supposed to be out four to five weeks, and he was out about three. He practiced for the first time yesterday. I had zero intention of putting him in the game. I'm just looking for life. I'm just looking for some fight, and he gave us some fight."
4. Summers Bounces Back
After being held to nine points at Alabama and then 11 points at Georgia, Jarvis Summers bounced back with a team-high 22 points, his eighth 20-point game of the season. He was also 9-of-17 from the floor.
"He's just aggressive," Kennedy said. "He cares. He's a competitor. That kid is a warrior. He tweaked his ankle a little bit. It's grind for him because I'm playing him heavy minutes. I had to take him out for that. He's a competitor. You can never question Jarvis Summers in any regard."
5. The Next Opportunity Awaits
Ole Miss turns around and hosts No. 2 Florida, which has won each of their first 12 SEC games and 17 straight games overall since a 65-54 loss at Connecticut on Dec. 2. The Gators look to extend their winning streak to 18 games, as they host Auburn on Wednesday.
Like Kentucky, Florida is another opportunity for Ole Miss to enhance its resume with the Gators rated No. 4 in the Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com) entering Tuesday.
"You have to try to move forward as quickly as possible and hope that you learn some lessons tonight," Kennedy said. "That's what you hope. When you see the ball go in the basket early, it will do amazing things to you."
Head coach Mike Bianco met with members of the media recapping the Diamond Rebels' sweep over Stetson and preview their home opener against UT-Martin on Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Swayze Field. It's the first of 13 straight home games, including the first home weekend series against Georgia State with the first game on Friday at 4 p.m. at Swayze Field.
Ole Miss outscored Stetson 26-3 over the weekend. The Rebels hit .364 at the plate for the weekend, led by SEC Player of the Week Will Allen, who hit .545 with two home runs and 10 RBI. On the mound, the Rebels allowed just three runs on 14 hits with seven walks and 24 strikeouts.
Sophomore right-hander Jacob Waguespack will get the start for Ole Miss on Wednesday. He made six appearances as a freshman, four in relief and two starts, including one start against Alabama in the SEC Tournament. He posted an 0-1 record with a 3.46 ERA as he allowed six runs -- five of them earned -- on nine hits in 13.0 innings of work.
Former Ole Miss players Brett Huber and Tanner Mathis will be throwing out the first pitch tomorrow.
Rebels25, an Ole Miss Athletics Foundation membership program for fans ages 25 and under, will hold a membership drive at Tuesday night's basketball game against No. 18 Kentucky.
The gates open at 4:30 p.m., and Rebels25 ambassadors will pass out stickers and membership brochures at the student entrance, and you will have an opportunity to sign up for the program. The membership drive kicks off a spring of activities for members.
"The Ole Miss Athletics Foundation is very proud to provide additional activities for Rebels25 this spring. This segment of membership continues to grow and we are providing new and exciting opportunities to be involved with and support our athletic program," said Ashley Winning, assistant director of development.
Launched in October, Rebels25 now has over a hundred members. For as low as $25, the Rebels25 program offers Rebel level membership benefits, double priority points, ticket promotions and exclusive networking opportunities.
Two upcoming networking opportunities for Rebels25 members are Breakfast with Bianco and Membership Appreciation Day.
"These events are great opportunities for Rebels25 members to network with some of the most influential people in the Ole Miss community. We are making great strides to invest in the future of our organization," said Keith Carter, executive director of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.
Breakfast with Bianco is a Vaught Society event on Saturday, March 1, where Rebels25 Ambassadors and Vaught Society members will have the opportunity to join Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco and players for breakfast before the baseball game against Central Florida.
Membership Appreciation Day is open to all Ole Miss Athletics Foundation members on Saturday, March 8, before the men's basketball game against Vanderbilt and the baseball game against Arkansas-Little Rock.
There will be an open house of the recent expanded Manning Center, appearances from coaches, student-athletes and administrators, along with free giveaways, prizes and more.
For a discounted $15, members can purchase both a men's basketball and baseball general seating ticket. As always, student admission is free while availability lasts.
For more information, visit Rebels25.com and GiveToAthletics.com
After road losses at Alabama and Georgia last week, Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of the Tad Smith Coliseum, where it is 10-3 this season, including 5-0 in conference play.
The Rebels fell 15 spots to No. 66 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com) from last week, but they have two opportunities to enhance their resume this week, as they host No. 18 Kentucky on Tuesday and then No. 2 Florida on Saturday.
It is the first time since the 1998-99 season that Ole Miss has hosted two top-20 teams at home in the same week. Both opponents are also rated in the top 15 of the RPI with Kentucky rated No. 12 and Florida rated No. 4.
"Well, it's out there anyway for sure," said head coach Andy Kennedy of the team's NCAA Tournament bubble status entering the week. "We lost two heartbreakers last week. Really our focus is on winning a game, and Kentucky presents the next opportunity to do that on Tuesday night. We know it's going to be a difficult challenge because we've seen that firsthand a couple weeks ago in Rupp.
"But for us right now, we've lost two in a row and we're sitting at 16-9 through 25 (games), but those 16 seem like a faint memory simply because we haven't won one in a week. So for us the focus is just on winning a game."
In their first meeting, Kentucky stretched a 35-34 halftime lead to 50-41 with 15:06 left and went on to win 80-64 at Rupp Arena in Lexington on Feb. 4. The Wildcats shot the ball much better in the second half (60 percent, 15-of-25) after shooting 42.3 percent (11-of-26) in the first half.
Kentucky also controlled the paint with a decisive advantage in points in the paint (28-6), second-chance points (14-7), defensive rebounds (12-3) and total rebounds (19-9).
"We stayed around for a while," Kennedy said. "I believe it was a two- or three-possession game maybe until the 10-minute, 12-minute mark of the second half. We couldn't get a rebound, which has really been kind of a broken record for us. But we just could not get a rebound in the second half. We had some dead-ball rebounds, but the first one that an Ole Miss Rebel had I believe was under two minutes to go in the second half."
Marshall Henderson led the Rebels with 16 points on 6-of-18 shooting, including 4-of-12 from 3-point range in their first meeting. Henderson, the SEC's fourth-leading scorer (19.5 ppg), is coming off his team-leading eighth 20-point game of the season, as he scored a game-high 24 points off the bench in a 61-60 loss at Georgia.
"Henderson at any time can make five straight shots," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said. "Can you keep your head about you if he does? And he seems to do it at home more than he does on the road."
"He's taking 12 3s a game," added Kentucky assistant coach John Robic. "But he is shooting a decent percentage with those shots. One of those is going to be from 35 (feet), the other is going to be an inch behind the line. When he makes them, he's really, really good and their team is really, really good. We just can't give him any open looks because he works extremely hard. He never stops moving to get a shot off."
The spring athletics season has official kicked off, and here are a few key dates that won't show up on the usual team schedules. You will be hearing tons more about these events in the coming weeks, but consider this your save the date.March 5 - Football spring practice starts
March 31 - Rebels Choice Awards
April 5 (AM) - 25th Annual Chucky Mullins Courage Award Ceremony Presented by the M-Club
April 5 - Grove Bowl
April 13-18 - BancorpSouth Rebel Road TripFollow me on twitter @CampbellKyle.
With the numerous outstanding team achievements that Coach Billy Chadwick has orchestrated, there have also been many individuals who have thrived under his guidance. For No. 30 in our countdown, we highlight one of those individuals in Mohamed Ridaoui.
Ridaoui changed the Rebels 1992 season from the outset. He blasted into the national spotlight as he claimed the 1991 National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships, earning the program's first ever Grand Slam victory. It was a remarkable accomplishment as he defeated the No. 1-ranked player in the country and defending champion Patricio Arnold of South Florida 6-1, 7-5 in the semifinals and No. 4 ranked Jose Luis Noriega of San Diego 6-4, 6-4 in the title match.
Ridaoui's outstanding play continued into the spring. The Morocco native earned All-America and All-SEC honors. Ridaoui represented Ole Miss in all four collegiate grand slam events including the NCAA Championships.
We will return Wednesday with another milestone reached by Billy Chadwick and the Ole Miss men's tennis team.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and on Facebook at OleMissMTennis
.Special assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.
Highlights of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Florida head coach Billy Donovan. Ole Miss hosts two top-20 teams at home in the same week for the first time since 1999. The Rebels play No. 18 Kentucky on Tuesday (6 p.m. CT, ESPN) and then No. 2 Florida on Saturday (11 a.m., CBS).
We're hosting the two best teams in our league, starting with Kentucky on Tuesday night and then Florida on Saturday. They are two tremendous challenges for our group, but also tremendous opportunities.
On the up-and-down play of his frontcourt:
For us, we have a pretty inexperienced front line, and really as it occurs across the league and across the country, kids that are a little more inexperienced, whether it be because they're freshmen or sophomores or because they've never really played the roles that they're currently holding, they typically play better at home. They're more comfortable at home. They play more confidently, more assertively, and that's been the case with our guys. We go on the road and we're not nearly as assertive as we need to be, and as a result we're not nearly as productive.We have to take the right approach. We have done that when we have been at home and we just have not been able to carry with us on the road. You're well aware of the number differential from a productivity standpoint home and away, and as a result we're not having as much success on the road.
On the first Kentucky game earlier this season in Lexington:
We stayed around for a while. I believe it was a two- or three-possession game maybe until the 10-minute, 12-minute mark of the second half. We couldn't get a rebound, which has really been kind of a broken record for us. But we just could not get a rebound in the second half. We had some dead-ball rebounds, but the first one that an Ole Miss Rebel had I believe was under two minutes to go in the second half. We zoned them quite a bit, and they did not make a 3-point shot in the second half, but even the ones that they missed they got every rebound. Willie Cauley-Stein probably played his best game in a Kentucky uniform and just dominated on both ends. They certainly got some run-outs, but they got control of the game at about the 30-minute mark, and then we were just trying to hold on for dear life.
On bringing Marshall Henderson off the bench on Saturday at Georgia and how it worked:
It worked out pretty good. He's just really been struggling with his shooting percentages in road games, non-league and SEC. Going into Georgia, he was shooting close to 30 percent from the floor and less than 25 percent in the first half. I was just doing something to try to change the way that he approached the game, allow him to see it for a few minutes on the bench and, I don't know if that directly affected his performance but he came out and made shots. I think he had 14 (points) in the first half on 6-of-8 shooting, something like that. As a result, we were leading at the half. Second half, he struggled a little bit and as a result we came up a possession short. But that was the thinking: just trying to find a winning combination.
On NCAA Tournament bubble status entering the week:
Well, it's out there anyway for sure. We lost two heartbreakers last week. Really our focus is on winning a game, and Kentucky presents the next opportunity to do that on Tuesday night. We know it's going to be a difficult challenge because we've seen that firsthand a couple weeks ago in Rupp. But for us right now, we've lost two in a row and we're sitting at 16-9 through 25 (games), but those 16 seem like a faint memory simply because we haven't won one in a week. So for us the focus is just on winning a game.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari
We're playing two teams that have given us problems. Mississippi at home was anybody's ballgame with six minutes to go in the game. LSU had us down double digits most of the game and almost got it 20, so they'll be two tough games for us.
On Ole Miss this year without Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner:
Those younger guys are pretty good players now too. And they're different. They're more athletic. They may be, you know, more slender. But those two, anyone would be more slender compared to those two. They're athletic, they're long, and they give them a little different dimension. Those other two were veteran, big-bodied guys, hard to go against. But I'm liking Mississippi's team.
On what his team did to have success against Ole Miss earlier this season in Lexington:
With six minutes to go, it was anybody's ballgame. And then we got a couple breakouts and made a shot and all of a sudden it was 12, and then we got going a little bit. But that was late, late in the game. You're at the mercy of them making jumpers. And again, their point guard (Jarvis Summers) makes them go. They have other players on that team that can score baskets, and then (Marshall) Henderson at any time can make five straight shots. Can you keep your head about you if he does? And he seems to do it at home more than he does on the road.
On whether being out of the conference championship race changes the psychology of the rest of the regular season:
I've never been big on conference championships or conference tournaments. Every game we play is to prepare us for March, and that's how we approach it. The history of my teams have done well in conference play and conference tournaments because they're not the goal. The goal is to be at our best in March. And so, with the last game we played, (for) 30 minutes that's as good as we've played all year. What happened down the stretch was that mental discipline that I talked about before the game. But it showed me that we can beat anybody in the country. We've got to shore up how we finish games off. It showed me our goals do not need to change -- at all. And I told the team this: It's about chemistry, energy and a will to win for your team. There were three rebounds you would have figured our best rebounder would have got balls, and he was right there with another guy, and they got all those balls. (Dorian Finney-)Smith got one, (Casey) Prather got one down the middle, they got another one, and they tipped back one for a 3. There was all that will to get that ball that they had more than we had. But, again, our goals haven't changed. I'm happy with my team. What that game showed me: We're as good as anybody in the country; we can play with anybody. Now let's shore this up, let's get this chemistry together and this energy together, let's create a little more will to win down the stretch and execute. They got to the line by driving it. We took bailout 3s. Can't do that. Can't do that late in the game. But again, we're still learning.
Florida head coach Billy Donovan
On Marshall Henderson as an X-Factor:
Andy (Kennedy) puts him in a lot of really, really good situations for him. Since I have been in this league, I don't recall a players as fast as he is coming off screens and getting shots off. He is incredible doing that. There are times that you play really, really good defense and it doesn't make a difference. That's probably a tribute to Henderson and his ability to shoot the ball. He is a unique, talented player. The thing that I admire most about him is what a great competitor he is and how much he loves playing. He's certainly a handful to get ready for, but they also have a lot of other good players besides who him are playing well.
On what impresses him the most about Kentucky's Julius Randle:
Besides what people can see with his talent and his skills, the way he puts it on the floor and his size. And again, John can probably comment better about this than I can because I had him for a short period of time. The thing I was impressed with him is, when I had him he was the same guy every single day. He was the same guy. We went double sessions because there was a lot to get prepared for because we only had about a week of practice before we competed so we had to do double sessions. As a young kid, being in high school and maybe not going through college practices before and playing against other good players, he was always there early, he was getting shots up, he was always ready to go, he had a smile on his face, he enjoyed playing, he enjoyed working and competing and trying to get better, and I thought he was an everyday guy. Now obviously that was only for a couple weeks and a college basketball season is a lot longer. I'm sure like most guys there are going to be ups and downs, but I always appreciated his disposition in practice each day.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 10-16, 2014
- Ole Miss went on the road and picked up a sweep of Stetson, outscoring the Hatters 26-3 on the weekend.
- Will Allen led the Rebels at the plate, hitting .545 with 10 RBI in 11 at bats and a pair of home runs.
- Four Rebels combined for six home runs on the weekend, including two home runs each from Will Allen and Preston Overbey.
- Nine players made their Rebel debuts over the weekend, including seven freshmen and two transfers.
Track & Field
- Ole Miss athletes broke two school records to highlight another strong weekend for the No. 25 Rebel men's team in the final meets before the upcoming SEC and NCAA Indoor Championships.
- On Friday, Sam Kendricks smashed his own school record with one of the best indoor pole vaults in NCAA history at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational in Albuquerque, N.M. Kendricks jumped 18-8.25, which ranks him No. 1 in the NCAA, No. 1 among Americans and No. 13 in the world this year, while he moves into a tie for ninth place on the all-time NCAA indoor list.
- On Saturday, freshman Sean Tobin ran his first mile as an Ole Miss Rebel and became the first person in school history to break four minutes with his time of 3:59.91 that won the men's late division race at the Husky Classic in Seattle. In addition to breaking the school record, he also moved into the top 25 in the NCAA this year.
- Junior Malcolm Davis won the Don Kirby Elite men's long jump (non-invitational division) with a personal-best leap of 24-8.5 that ranks him top 25 in the NCAA this year and No. 11 in the school record book.
- Senior Mike Granger and freshman Jalen Miller led the way in the 60 meters. Granger, who is getting back to full health, clocked a season-best 6.67 (converted from 6.65 for altitude) to place third in the final, followed by Miller in fifth at 6.68. Granger moves to No. 21 on the NCAA indoor list this year.
- The Rebels also had two milers run strong races in Albuquerque, as junior Daniel Bulmer placed third and freshman Robert Domanic sixth. Their altitude-converted times of 4:01.37 and 4:04.46 rank them second and fourth in school history, respectively.
- The Rebels dropped a pair of last-second buzzer beaters on the road last week falling 67-64 at Alabama on Tuesday, and 61-60 at Georgia on Saturday.
- Senior Marshall Henderson has hit a 3-pointer in 58 straight games, just two shy of Pat Bradley's SEC record of 60 straight games.
- The Rebels host a pair of top-20 ranked teams in No. 16 Kentucky and No. 3 Florida at home this week. That marks the first time since 1998-99 that Ole Miss has hosted two top-20 teams at home in the same week.
- Tia Faleru set a new career-high in points and rebounds with 31 points and 16 rebounds in Ole Miss' loss to Kentucky on Thursday. Faleru's 31 points is the most for a Rebel this season and the most points for an Ole Miss player since the 2010-11 season.
- Faleru recorded her third double-double in the last four games with her 31 points and 16 rebounds and has an SEC leading 13 double-doubles on the season.
- Valencia McFarland had 21 points vs. the Wildcats, her third consecutive game in double figures and her 10th game of 20 or more this season. The senior point guard also played her third consecutive game of 40 minutes, and has played the entire game in seven of Ole Miss' last nine games.
- The Rebels will host Texas A&M on Thursday for its annual Tickled Pink at the Tad Pad game. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. and will travel to Starkville to close the week for a Sunday afternoon matchup against Mississippi State at 2 p.m.
- Ole Miss went 2-3 last week at the College of Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., with wins over Kansas and Western Carolina and losses to Fordham, DePaul and College of Charleston.
- Junior third baseman Allison Brown led Ole Miss last weekend with a team-high batting average of .563 (9-16).
- Brown tied a pair of program single-game records Saturday night vs. Western Carolina when she notched four hits and four runs on her 4-4 night that also included two RBI.
- Senior first baseman Londen Ladner had a team-high nine RBI at the tournament, highlighted by a grand slam vs. WCU.
- Senior pitcher Shelby Jo Fenter allowed just one earned run in Charleston in 11.0 innings of work with 11 strikeouts.
- The No. 12 ranked Rebels lost to No. 11 Murray State 4649-4610 last Saturday.
- Senior Melissa Quartarone posted a season-high 592 in air rifle to lead the Rebels. The mark was two off her career best.
- Freshman Alison Weisz posted a 590 for her fifth score in the 90s in the past seven matches.
- The Rebels head to Lexington, Ky., this weekend for the NCAA Qualifier.
Jarvis Summers tied the game at 60-60 after completing a 3-point play with 33.2 seconds left, and Georgia had the ball with a chance to win with the shot clock off.
Charles Mann held the ball at the top of the key before driving and pump-faking, drawing a foul from Dwight Coleby with 1.5 seconds left. Mann missed the first free throw but made the second for the one-point advantage and the 61-60 win Saturday in Athens.
"It was his inexperience at the end," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I put him in the game for one reason because he was rebounding. We went small to try to speed the game up. It was our best chance offensively to try to create some baskets. At the end, we subbed him for Derrick to get a little bigger in the zone, and we went man-to-man at the end of the shot clock. We switched the ball screen. It's something we have done all year. It's just inexperience. Mann, a veteran player, shot faked, leaned in and made it happen."
"I thought he was going to drive and then I thought he was going to shoot it, so I jumped up," Coleby said. "I tried to move, but it was too late. He jumped into me."
Ole Miss led for most of the game before Georgia went on an 11-0 run, sparked by nine straight points by Kenny Gaines, including a four-point play, to take a 50-40 lead with 8:31 left in the game. Ole Miss answered with a 14-4 run to tie the game at 54-54 with 3:18 left.
And then it was back and forth, with Gaines putting Georgia ahead 60-57 with 46.2 seconds left before Summers answered on the other end. The go-ahead 3-pointer by Gaines, who finished with a game-high 21 points, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, came off an offensive rebound by Marcus Thornton.
Ole Miss committed just three turnovers, a season low, and forced 12 turnovers, but Georgia outrebounded Ole Miss 49-39, including 18-13 on the offensive glass. The Bulldogs also had a 20-12 advantage in second-chance points.
After winning the rebounding batting in a 91-88 win over Missouri, the Rebels have been outrebounded in back-to-back games, having been outrebounded 42-34 in a 67-64 loss at Alabama earlier this week.
"It's toughness," said Kennedy of rebounding. "There are a number of things that we're doing wrong, but this is an issue that's been an issue for us for a while. There are some games where we do better. On the road, we don't do as well, which tells me it's a mental and physical toughness that we have to address."
After starting 14 straight games, Marshall Henderson came off the bench for the first time since Dec. 8 against Oregon, and he responded with a game-high 24 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range and 7-of-7 from the free throw line. It marked his team-leading eighth 20-point game of the season.
"I was just trying to change his mojo," said Kennedy of Henderson coming off the bench. "He's shooting 30 percent from the floor and less than 25 percent in the first half on the road. It's not a winning formula, so I was trying to find a winning formula."
Summers was the only other Ole Miss player in double figures, as he finished with 11 points, including the game-tying 3-point play in the final minute. He was limited to 24 minutes, having picked up his third foul with 16:17 left and his fourth foul with 7:39 left.
"Jarvis has big shoes to fill," Kennedy said. "He goes 4-for-12 (from the floor). He rebounded the ball and he didn't have a turnover. He was steady, but obviously when you're getting 17 (points) a game, you have to carry that on the road. Marshall was the only guy offensively that was making plays for us.
"Jarvis kept us in it with a huge drive at the end. His heart is in the right place. We just have to make some plays."
The Rebels move to 16-9 and 7-5 in Southeastern Conference play ahead of back-to-back home games against No. 14 Kentucky (Tuesday, 6 p.m., ESPN) and No. 3 Florida (Saturday, 11 a.m., CBS). Both teams also entered Saturday rated in the top 10 of the Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com).
"It's another hard game," Kennedy said. "We're playing one of the best teams in the country and followed up by another one of the best teams in the country. We have to get better."
Sole possession of third place in the Southeastern Conference standings will be on the line, as Ole Miss travels to Athens, Ga., to take on Georgia Saturday (3 p.m., Fox Sports Net).
The Rebels (16-8, 7-4 SEC) are coming off a pair of mixed results, a home win over Missouri followed by a road loss at Alabama, as they enter the final seven games of the regular season, starting with the Bulldogs (13-10, 7-4 SEC)
"We have seven regular season games left," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "I have a lot of responsibilities as the head coach here, but one of the biggest is to lend perspective. We're at a point in the season, where a month from yesterday, the SEC Tournament starts, and that's hard to believe for me.
"We have seven games left and there are a lot of opportunities for us moving forward. Perspective is certainly valuable at this time of the year. If last year taught us nothing, it's truly about focusing on the next opportunity, and as long as you have games, you have opportunity. That has to be the mindset of this group."
As evidenced by its last two games, Ole Miss fares better at home (5-0) than on the road (2-4) in conference play. The Rebels shoot better from the field (.453 at home /.388 on road) and from 3-point range (.419 at home /.317 on road) at home and rebound the ball better with a -6.0 rebound margin on the road and an even rebounding margin at home.
The home and away splits are particularly significant for the frontcourt players. Aaron Jones averages 10.2 points per game and 9.0 rebounds per game in SEC home games and just 3.8 ppg and 5.7 rpg in SEC road games, while Sebastian Saiz averages 7.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg in SEC home games and just 3.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg in SEC road games.
"We have to shore those things up and become more consistent," said Kennedy, referring to the home and away splits. "You would hope that as we can continue to drive that message home and as guys get more experience, those numbers would change and we can become more consistent, so ultimately we can get the results we want."
Georgia is no different, with a 5-1 record at home and a 2-3 record on the road in conference play, which includes home wins over Arkansas and LSU and a road win at Missouri. After starting the season 1-4, the Bulldogs have won 12 of their last 18 games, including three straight entering Saturday's game.
It is a different team from last season, having replaced Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the league's second-leading scorer a season ago and the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. They are now led by two sophomore guards in Charles Mann (13.7 ppg) and Kenny Gaines (11.6 pgg).
"Georgia is a team that's found its way," Kennedy said. "They're 11-2 at home, 5-1 in league play. They have done a good job of protecting home floor. They were similar to us in the respect that last year it was about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the best player in our league. He leaves, so now they have Charles Mann, who they have asked to make the play. They have Marcus Thornton and Kenny Gaines. They all played last year, but now they are prominent in whether the Bulldogs win or lose.
"It took them a little while in the non-league to figure that out. Once they have gotten into league play, they have been playing really well. They went into Mississippi State last night and dominated the game for the last 30 minutes, so we're playing a club that's playing well. Both of us are 7-4 in the league. They have down a really good job of protecting their home floor, so we have to go in and make sure that we take the right approach."
After the loss at Alabama, Ole Miss dropped from No. 51 to No. 61 in the Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com), while Georgia is rated No. 100. With a win over the Bulldogs, the Rebels would improve to 5-6 against top-100 RPI teams this season, highlighted by a win over Missouri, which is rated No. 43.
Ole Miss then has back-to-back opportunities with two home games against top-10 RPI teams in Kentucky (No. 9) and Florida (No. 4). Tickets for Tuesday's game against Kentucky, Ole Miss announced Friday, are sold out.
"Next week's games really don't have the significance if we don't find a way to grind through some of these," Kennedy said. "We have four home games and three on the road, and we have to win games. Saturday is the next opportunity to do that."
For more than a decade, Nike has invited college administrators to see their factories that they contract with and see how the company does business in Asia.
This past month, Ole Miss' Ross Bjork was among the group of five athletics directors and three representatives that toured Nike overseas facilities in Vietnam and China. Bjork was joined on the 10-day tour by Tom Bowen (Memphis), Scott Leykam (Portland), Dr. Hans Mueh (Air Force) and Rob Mullens (Oregon).
"For Nike, it's an education to make sure everyone is comfortable with the process and how we do business in Asia," Bjork said. "You have these big contracts with a university to outfit their teams and their product. It's a great thing for Nike to do this to make sure that we know how they conduct themselves and that we feel comfortable with them."
Bjork flew out of Memphis on Jan. 15 to Chicago and then to Tokyo and finally to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest city in Vietnam and the first stop of the tour, where the group took day trips to nearby villages and toured two Nike-contracted factories.
From Ho Chi Minh City, the group traveled to three cities in China, starting with Guangzhou, which Bjork described as a city of factories, before wrapping up the trip with stops in Shanghai and Beijing and then flying home on Jan. 25.
"Nike is very conscientious about factory and working conditions and making sure they're partnering with the right companies who operate these factories," Bjork said. "They are conscientious about labor and workers' rights. I knew that before the trip, but until you actually see it and walk on a factory line, you can't really understand it."
It was not just a clearer, first-hand understanding of Nike and their work in Asia, Bjork said, but also an appreciation for the people of Vietnam and China.
"I learned perspective and appreciation for the freedom we have in the United States but also great respect for what those people have to go through to live in China and Vietnam and go about their business under the same values and principles that we have, but in a much more controlled environment," Bjork said.
Bjork was also impressed with how Nike and their contracted factories have similar business fundamentals, in terms of vision statement, purpose and core values. The difference is how they present them, which Bjork said they might emulate and try to bring to Ole Miss.
"The one thing that I was impressed with was the visual presentation that they do in these factories around their core values and mission," Bjork said. "When you walk in the front door of the factory buildings, they had vision statement, purpose and core values on the wall. We talk about those things here, but they visualize it.
"If you walk in our building, we don't have our perspective up. That's one thing that I want to look at here is to maybe visualize in our buildings what we stand for and how we operate. I was very impressed with that. Whether it was China or Vietnam, the factories all had their purpose and vision in full display."
Moving forward, Ole Miss has a full apparel contract with Nike, a seven-year deal that started on July 1, 2012, which Bjork noted was negotiated and in place before he was named athletics director on March 21, 2012.
From his observations and conversations on the tour with Nike and factory staff, Bjork said he is pleased with Ole Miss' relationship with the company, as well as their relationship with Kit Morris, Nike's Director of College Sports Marketing and an Ole Miss graduate.
"I see our Nike relationship evolving and growing because we have great relationships with Kit, his staff and his team," Bjork said. "Our equipment staff has a great relationship with the people at Nike.
"I see the relationship evolving and growing over the life of the contract, but also as you look to the future and what happens after 2019. Nike is a great partner, and we'll see what happens as we get closer to that point."
On the heels of the Ole Miss men's tennis program producing its first ever All-Americans, Billy Chadwick led his team to yet another unprecedented achievement. In 1989, the Rebels earned their first ever NCAA Tournament bid.
However, in 1989, t
he NCAA Tournament field was not the same as it is today. When the Rebels earned their first invitation, the NCAA only selected 16 teams to compete in the prestigious NCAA Championships.
Ole Miss was led by a familiar name in team captain Dave Randall, who ranked as high as No. 9 in the Volvo Tennis/Collegiate Series poll in 1989. That year, the Rebels defeated 10 nationally ranked teams en route to the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance.
"The road to the NCAAs was an exciting journey," said Ole Miss coach Billy Chadwick. "Week after week this team put forth great effort. Anytime you beat the likes of SMU, Pepperdine and Clemson, you have had a great year."
A great year by the Rebels indeed. As a result of the successful season, the Rebels also became the first Ole Miss men's tennis team ever to finish the season nationally ranked (No. 15). The Rebels fell to Miami in the first round of the NCAA Championships, ending the season with a 17-10 record and the No. 15 national ranking.
In addition to Randall, the Rebels were paced by sophomores Keith Evans, Jamie Booras and freshman Mike Knowles. Evans reached the finals at No. 2 singles at the SEC Tournament and was a member of the All-SEC team. Booras and Knowles reached the SEC Tournament finals at No. 2 doubles, while Booras teamed with Randall for the duo's second NCAA doubles appearance. Randall capped the year by winning the prestigious Rafael Osuna National Sportsmanship Award, presented to the most outstanding collegiate tennis player that demonstrates both great skill and exemplifies sportsmanship.
Stay tuned next week for Nos.30, 29 and 28.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and on Facebook at OleMissMTennisSpecial assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy met with members of the media Thursday, ahead of the Rebels traveling to Athens, Ga., for a battle with the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday (3 p.m., Fox Sports Net).
On momentum after a win over Missouri followed by a loss at Alabama:
I'm not a big believer in momentum as it relates from one game to the next. I believe in in-game momentum. I don't know if it travels and stands the shelf life of day to day. We didn't play well in Tuscaloosa and deserved to be beaten quite frankly. When you look at it statistically, I was amazed that we had a lead late.
We weren't able to make the plays. We always talk about that. In the games that we have won, especially on the road, it has come down to a play here or a play there. Somebody has to make a play, and we didn't make them. Trevor Releford did. We put ourselves in a position where one shot beats you, and unfortunately for us, it's happened three times this year, and the kid hit it.
On the energy expended to come back in games late in the season:
We didn't play well, however you slice it. When you look at it statistically, you can't go on the road and shoot in the mid-to-upper 30's from the field. You can't get outrebounded. Defensively, we were pretty sound and able to stay in the game, and then we let their all-league caliber guy score the last 16 points of the game.
On teams defending Jarvis Summers differently:
I met with Jarvis earlier, and I just need Jarvis to play with energy and pop. I can't allow the grind to wear him down. I didn't feel like he played to the standard that we have become accustomed because he's played like an all-league player. He was not on his best game at Alabama.
Marshall continues to struggle on the road with shooting. And if you're not getting second-chance or third-chance opportunity off the offensive glass, which we weren't, ultimately you're not going to be able to manufacture enough to give yourself a chance. When you hold the whole team under 70 points, you have to feel like you have a chance to win, but again offensively we weren't very good.
On NCAA Tournament standing:
We have seven regular season games left. I have a lot of responsibilities as the head coach here, but one of the biggest is to lend perspective. We're at a point in the season, where a month from yesterday, the SEC Tournament starts, and that's hard to believe for me.
We have seven games left and there are a lot of opportunities for us moving forward. Perspective is certainly valuable at this time of the year. If last year taught us nothing, it's truly about focusing on the next opportunity, and as long as you have games, you have opportunity. That has to be the mindset of this group.
On Jarvis Summers' expanded role and him carrying it to the finish of the season:
He's certainly in a different position than he's even been in before. We have always rode him hard minutes and asked him to run our club. This year, we're asking him to make game-winning plays, so that certainly takes a toll on you physically.
Mentally, he's up to the challenge. He's a junior in our program, he's played in big games, he's had big moments, and I know he wants to be in that position. Now it's just a matter of going out and making the plays.
On Jarvis Summers' minutes taking a toll on him physically:
I don't think so. Most every team at this time of the year is going to go through some bumps and bruises. Just because they're players, they're all susceptible to the colds and flus and everything that happens with this weather. We have to be smart in making sure that we take care of them and put them in a position where we can get to the game at full strength. That doesn't mean we have to stop practicing. Sometimes I have to remind my guys of that.
We have to get better. This team has to improve. I have a fifth-year senior in Marshall and a junior in Jarvis who have played heavy minutes, but nobody else on our team has ever been in the position that I'm asking them to be in. We have to practice. We have to get better. We have to improve as a team if we any realistic goal of reaching the postseason at any level. We have to improve.
On Anthony Perez:
He's another guy who last year was an afterthought, a practice player who didn't get in the game. His minutes have really increased, especially with Newby's absence. We're down to 11 scholarship guys. A couple of the freshmen don't play that much, so I'm playing him heavy minutes, close to 30 minutes per game.
I'm playing him at the 3, I'm playing him at the 4, and he has to accept that responsibility. His talent is certainly good enough to help us. Now, he has to reflect on the last three to four weeks where he's been put in that position and continue to grow through the experience. His confidence wanes at times. He's not as assertive as I would like for him to be. At times, matchup-wise, he's a prominent option for us offensively.
And then, defensively, when I play him at the 4, we have to do a better job off the glass. If we don't shore up these rebounding woes, we're putting ourselves in a position where, unless we make every shot like we did against Missouri, it's going to be hard to win.
Georgia is a team that's found its way. They're 11-2 at home, 5-1 in league play. They have done a good job of protecting home floor. They were similar to us in the respect that last year it was about Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the best player in our league. He leaves, so now they have Charles Mann, who they have asked to make the play. They have Marcus Thornton and Kenny Gaines. They all played last year, but now they are prominent in whether the Bulldogs win or lose.
It took them a little while in the non-league to figure that out. Once they have gotten into league play, they have been playing really well. They went into Mississippi State last night and dominated the game for the last 30 minutes, so we're playing a club that's playing well. Both of us are 7-4 in the league. They have down a really good job of protecting their home floor, so we have to go in and make sure that we take the right approach.
On the difference in post play from Missouri to Alabama:
If you look at our home and away numbers, it's staggering for some of our guys. It's not only Jarvis and Marshall, guys who we expect to be more consistent. The numbers are vastly different home and away.
In our wins, Sebas and AJ are getting us 15 (points), 15 (rebounds) and about 3.5 (blocks). In our losses, and they have all been on the road, so it's easy to correlate, they're getting about half that production. That, coupled with a really inept shooting percentage, makes for long nights, and that's what we have experienced some on the road.
We have to shore those things up and become more consistent. You would hope that as we can continue to drive that message home and as guys get more experience, those numbers would change and we can become more consistent, so ultimately we can get the results we want.
On looking ahead to Kentucky and Florida next week:
Next week's games really don't have the significance if we don't find a way to grind through some of these. We have four home games and three on the road, and we have to win games. Saturday is the next opportunity to do that.
On Demarco Cox's play against Alabama:
With Bear, his minutes have been up and down. I trust him because he's been in the program. To me, it's all about production. The guys who I'm playing up front, I'm searching for production. I'm searching for rebounds per minutes, to be a presence at the basket, to finish layups, to make free throws, simple things.
We don't ask our bigs to do a lot for us. It's different from last year when we were going to Murph and ask him to make a play, or running offense through Reggie because of his ability to read out of the post. We don't ask these guys to do that because they're not ready to do that just yet.
We ask them to defend, to rebound, and to be proficient from block to block. The guys who play are the guys who are doing it on that night. We play four different guys in there depending upon who's producing.
On Terry Brutus:
The knee is doing OK. He had an ankle situation on the same knee. It bothered him some last year, and they think when he went down with the ACL that he further damaged the ankle. He went in and had some surgery on his ankle a few weeks ago. It's the same leg, which is going to really set back his rehab.
We have plenty of time. My hope is that he will be fine. He's a strong, young kid. We hope that he will be able to make a full recovery, but he has had a little setback in his rehabilitation based on the ankle.
On Martavious Newby:
He's doing good. He's going to be cleared for basketball stuff here soon, maybe as early as next week. They put a soft cast on him where he can catch and move, and once we get to that stage, we will know when we can put him back in a game.
On Martavious Newby being available for games next week:
He has not been in practice yet, so I have not thought about it. Until I see him in practice, then we will make a determination.
Under head coach Billy Chadwick's 30-year watch, the Ole Miss men's tennis program has produced 28 All-Americans. That equates to almost one All-American every season -
quite remarkable. This demonstrates the type of talent that Coach Chadwick has attracted and molded to earn such a prestigious honor.
Today, we will highlight moment No. 32 in our look at the top 35 moments in Chadwick's illustrious career, and remember the first two All-Americans for the Ole Miss men's tennis program. In 1988, Mississippi native Dave Randall, and Jamie Booras (Flossmoor, Ill.) became the first two All-America selections for the University of Mississippi.
Booras, often called "Boom-Boom" for his powerful serve, was named to the All-SEC Team in 1988 and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championships in doubles with Randall. The dynamic duo was ranked in the top 10 in doubles for two years.
Randall was the epitome of the type of player every coach wants to represent their program and university. Randall not only was an All-American and two-time All-SEC selection, he also earned the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship award, given to the nation's most outstanding college tennis player demonstrating both great skill and sportsmanship. Randall won three SEC titles at Ole Miss and joined his former coach in the Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame this year.
As we continue the countdown, we will present the events in chronological order from the list that has been compiled. As we continue the journey through Coach Chadwick's tenure, the moments that have shaped this program will continue to get bigger and bigger.
Stay tuned for No. 31 on Friday.
Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissMTennis
and on Facebook at OleMissMTennisSpecial assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock
Three takeaways from Ole Miss' 67-64 loss at Alabama on Tuesday night:
1. Trevor Releford, Alabama Make Plays
Trevor Releford, Alabama's leading scorer and the Southeastern Conference's seventh-leading scorer, scored 16 of his team's final 20 points to lift the Crimson Tide to a 67-64 win over Ole Miss on Tuesday in Tuscaloosa.
Releford finished with a game-high 26 points, his ninth 20-point game, and none were bigger than his last-second, game-winning 3-pointer after Ole Miss tied the game at 64-64 with 13 seconds left.
"We felt like, at the end, that if we settled back into a zone, we all knew that the ball was going to go through Trevor Releford," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "He really carried them down the stretch which is what a senior, all-league player does, and he made a big shot."
Before Releford's late-game heroics, Ole Miss used an 11-0 run to take a 51-47 lead with 9:13 left in the game. Alabama answered with an 11-5 run to regain a 58-56 lead with 3:34 left, behind nine points by Releford. Ole Miss tied the game at 64-64 with two free throws by Jarvis Summers, but the Rebels did not lead again after that run by Alabama.
"I thought it was a huge sequence in the game when we were up four and we made a couple of poor decisions in the open floor," said Kennedy of the Rebels' lead late in the game. "We got an offensive rebound and threw it to them - a live ball turnover - which led to a basket that tied the game.
"We go from having the ball to them shooting a layup to tie the game. We then go to Anthony Perez on the block for an and-one and he doesn't finish the layup and goes 1-2 from the foul line. The very next play, Trevor Releford gashes us as he goes through our four men and gets an and-one. They get the lead, although we tied it at the end, and it seemed like they had the momentum from that point forward."
2. Henderson, Summers Held In Check
Marshall Henderson (19.6 points per game) and Summers (17.4 ppg), the Rebels' two leading scorers, were held to a combined 23 points. Not including the games Henderson missed due to suspension, it was their lowest combined point total since Nov. 29 against Georgia Tech, and their third-lowest combined point total of the season.
It was just the third time Summers did not finish in double figures this season, and the fourth time overall that either Summers or Henderson were held to single-figure scoring. As a team, Ole Miss was held more than 13 points below its scoring average (77.5), and it was just the sixth time this season the Rebels were held under 70 points.
3. Alabama Wins Battle In The Paint
The Crimson Tide outscored the Rebels 34-18 in the paint, led by the duo of Nick Jacobs and Shannon Hale. Jacobs (8.3 ppg) and Hale (7.3 ppg) each more than doubled their scoring averages, as Jacobs was second on the team with 18 points on 9-of-13 shooting, while Hale was third with 15 points, including 8-of-12 shooting from the free-throw line.
Ole Miss was outrebounded for the 15th time this season, as Alabama won the rebounding battle, 42-34, including 14-10 on the offensive glass. Aaron Jones and Sebastian Saiz, who each grabbed double-digit rebounds in Saturday's win over Missouri, combined for just six rebounds.
What It All Means
Through 70 Southeastern Conference games, home teams are 50-20 with a winning percentage of 71.4 percent. Ole Miss is one of six teams in the SEC with multiple league road wins, having won at South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Ole Miss (16-7, 7-3 SEC) seeks to double its league road win total with back-to-back road games this week, starting with Alabama on Tuesday night (8 p.m., ESPNU), followed by another road battle at Georgia on Saturday.
"We have embraced the grind," said senior guard Marshall Henderson after the Rebels' 91-88 win over Missouri Saturday, the team's best RPI win to date. "We know every game is going down to the wire, no matter who we play. We just have to fight through and get the win."
Alabama is 9-14 on the season and 3-7 in the SEC after dropping a pair of road games last week at Arkansas and at No. 3 Florida. The Crimson Tide are winless on the road this season, but 9-4 at home. Senior Trevor Releford leads Alabama averaging 18.3 points per game, which is seventh in the SEC in scoring.
The Crimson Tide has the nation's No. 2 overall strength of schedule and No. 9-ranked nonconference schedule, with nine games against teams ranked in the top 50 of the latest RPI (ESPN.com).
"Every game on the road is going to be tough," said Henderson on Saturday. "I watched Alabama and Florida play earlier today, and they played Florida tough. Florida is unstoppable in that building, and they played them tough all the way there until the very end. Alabama is definitely a lot better than their record shows, that's for sure. They have one of the toughest schedules in the whole country."
Ole Miss shoots better from the field (.453 at home/.390 on road) and from 3-point range (.419 at home/.316 on road) at home and rebound the ball better with a -5.6 rebound margin on the road and an even rebounding margin at home.
The Rebels will lean on its veteran backcourt of Henderson (19.6 ppg) and Jarvis Summers (17.4 ppg), the team's two leading scorers, who rank third and eighth in the SEC in scoring, respectively.
"Marshall draws a lot of attention, both on and off the court," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "The attention that he draws on the floor, Jarvis has done a much better job in year two of playing with him, of playing in those gaps that are created by the way people try to defend Henderson, and as a result, he's had a very productive year for us."
Ole Miss enters the week ranked No. 51 in the latest RPI, while Alabama (No. 110) and Georgia (No. 113) are rated just outside the top 100.
The Rebels are 4-6 against top-100 RPI teams this season, highlighted by the win over Missouri. After this week, however, they have back-to-back opportunities with two top-10 RPI teams in Kentucky (No. 10) and Florida (No. 5) coming to the Tad Smith Coliseum.
"If we play like we did tonight, as far as being focused and high energy, it will give us a chance at those places," Henderson said. "We also know that if we get those two, we have probably the biggest week in Ole Miss basketball history with Kentucky and Florida coming in here back-to-back. We have to get these two, starting with the one in Tuscaloosa. We have to get them."
Continuing our series highlighting the most important moments in the Billy Chadwick era, today we will recognize a critical milestone in Ole Miss men's tennis program history.
On March 31, 1987, the Ole Miss men's tennis team broke into the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Top 25 for the first time in program history. The Rebels had just recently beaten No. 18 ranked Georgia Tech 7-2 the previous week.
In 1987, the Rebels faced one of the most daunting schedules in the country. Ole Miss faced 14 teams in the top 25 and four in the top 10. Along with Georgia Tech, the Rebels d
efeated two other top 25 teams that year in No. 17 California-Irvine 6-3, and No. 22 Florida 6-3.
"I am excited to get this national recognition that this team deserves," said Ole Miss coach Billy Chadwick then in his fifth season as the head coach. "We plan to work hard and build on this."
The Rebels were led by freshman Jimmy Pitts of Smyrna, Ga. Pitts finished with a team best 22-8 individual record and was noted by Chadwick as the team's "most consistent player."
Although the 1987 season was a first for the Rebels in the polls, Ole Miss has become a constant not only in the top 25, but inside the top 10. In the last 20 years, Chadwick has coached 15 teams to a top 10 finish.
Stay tuned for No. 32 Wednesday. Special assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco and selected players met with members of the media on Monday to talk about the 2014 season and the Rebels' upcoming season-opening series at Stetson that begins on Friday afternoon in DeLand, Fla.
Senior catcher Will Allen, who started 56 games at catcher two season ago before moving to designated hitter last season with the arrival of Stuart Turner, the 2013 Johnny Bench Award winner.
Senior third baseman Austin Anderson, who was third on the team in batting average (.310) and started all 58 games played at shortstop last season.
Junior right-hander Chris Ellis, who played in the Cape Cod League this past summer and Bianco announced as the Rebels' Friday night starter this season.
Full transcript of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Alabama head coach Anthony Grant and Georgia head coach Mark Fox. The Rebels travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to play the Alabama Crimson Tide on Tuesday (8 p.m. CT, ESPN) and then travel to Athens, Ga., to play the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday (3 p.m., Fox Sports Net).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
We have two difficult challenges as we head to the road, first to Tuscaloosa against a good Alabama team, which is always very difficult in Coleman Coliseum tomorrow night. And then we go to Athens on Saturday, where Mark (Fox) has his team playing very well, and they have done a very good job of protecting their home floor. We have two difficult challenges on the road this week.
On concern about Henderson playing on the road:
Our sport is pretty unique in that the fans are very close to the participants, probably more so than any other sport, in that the fans are right on top of you. In a lot of the venues in our league, you're talking two or three feet of separation from the floor to where the fans are. We play in emotionally-charged atmospheres many nights, so you want to certainly make sure that your kids are trying to keep their focus between the lines. You certainly want separation between the fans and the players. There is going to be talk at every opposing arena toward your players. That comes with the territory, and you have to try to prepare your guys for that as best you can. It's unfortunate in the Marcus Smart situation that he found himself in the stands trying to make a play on the ball, and the next thing you know, he's landing in the stands. That certainly escalated that situation, not knowing all the particulars. You certainly don't want your guys to be in the stands where something like this can happen.
On vitriol of fans increasing in recent years:
There are more eyeballs and more cameras. Everyone in the arena probably has a camera phone. There are fewer things that fall under the radar now simply because of so much media exposure and every individual having the opportunity to record something. I played back in the mid-'80s and early '90s, and there were mean things being said back then, I assure you.
On Jarvis Summers:
Jarvis has been our most steady player. He has had a tremendous junior year. Typically when you get a kid in your program, and he's going into year three, you start figuring out what you got. Jarvis has been consistent for us in years one and two, and he really took that next step as junior. A lot of it was based on physical strength. He got stronger where he was able to make some plays that he couldn't make in the past, and he's playing with a great deal of confidence. Marshall draws a lot of attention, both on and off the court. The attention that he draws on the floor, Jarvis has done a much better job in year two of playing with him of playing in those gaps that are created by the way people try to defend Henderson, and as a result, he's had a very productive year for us.
On Martavious Newby's recovery from injury:
When you have a break -- he had a break in his hand -- and they put a plate in there, and his rehab has come along great. Our hope is that he will be cleared for basketball-related activities soon. It's one thing to be cleared for activities; it's another thing to be able to perform at an SEC level in a basketball game. Once he's cleared for activities as it relates to basketball, then we will have a much better gauge as to what transpires next.
On players' development in year three:
When a kid becomes a junior, based on that he has now two years of experience, there is nothing new to him. For instance, we go to Alabama and Georgia this week, and (Jarvis Summers) has been in both of those venues. He knows what to expect. He's traveled with us. He understands the demands of winning on the road in major college basketball game. Physically, a lot of times it takes a couple of years for kids to understand their own bodies and make the adjustments they name to make from a strength standpoint. Some guys need to gain weight, and some guys need to lose weight. For him, there's a mental aspect of becoming a young man. He's a 20-year-old now, and he understands who is and what he needs to do to be effective. All of those things come together, not just for Jarvis, but for most players when they become juniors. You start to realize this is what this kid is capable of giving you.
On the reliability of the ratings of players coming out of high school:
When you're getting the players that Calipari is getting, typically, my wife could go with me and sit in the gym and pick out the best guy. The LeBron Jameses, the Kevin Durants, the Kobe Bryants, everybody can sit there and say those guys are going to be pretty good. Julius Randle and the Harrison Twins, everybody can see those guys are going to be good players. The guys like Jarvis Summers, the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. He may be in somebody's top 100. He might not be. Those are the guys who once you have them in your program, and they really commit themselves to being as good as they can be, then by the time they become a junior, they start performing at an all-league level like Jarvis is this year.
Alabama head coach Anthony Grant
I'm really impressed watching Ole Miss on film coming off a big win this weekend against Missouri at home. It seems like they're playing really well. They are an explosive team offensively and throw a variety of defenses at you. Their defense has been solid. It will be a great challenge for our team. And then going on the road again at South Carolina. We will get more familiar with them and their personnel as the week transpires, but it's another tough road game. They're always tough any time you go on the road in this league.
On weather-related discussions for the Ole Miss game on Tuesday:
We haven't had any discussions, as of yet. There are systems that are moving in. There is nothing that I'm aware of.
Georgia head coach Mark Fox
We play the Mississippi schools this week. We start out with a trip to Starkville, and we're hopeful that with the weather we can get there. They are a team that has great speed and terrific interior play. They are a team, obviously with some young guys in the backcourt, that is going to keep getting better and better. We finish the week with Ole Miss, which has an experienced perimeter and is a team off to a terrific start. It's a big week for us.
On Brandon Morris:
Brandon continues to grow and improve. He's still not anywhere close to where he can be, but he's allowing himself to improve. He's become a player who offensively is finishing at a pretty good percentage. He's a pretty versatile player and one who has a bright future. He still has a long way to go, but he's headed right now in the right direction. He's such a versatile player. He can score. He can attack the basket on the dribble. He can knock down a 3. He can get to the free throw line. He can guard multiple positions. He's a good rebounder. He can play some point guard. He's just very versatile. A guy who has that amount of versatility often times can find a lot of way to impact the game, so many night, it's not the same way in which he helps us. He's become a pretty good consistent player for us.
On his 200th win as a college coach:
I have learned a ton. I read an article a couple of years ago that said it takes 10 years in any role to become good at it. If you're going to be an assistant coach, you're not going to be very good until you're 10 years into it. If you're a head coach, it's going to take you 10 years before you're any good. In my 10th season, maybe I have learned enough to now be good at it. I have certainly grown a lot through the experience of my last decade, like we all do. I have been fortunate to work with and work for a lot of great people and have great players. When you're around good, smart people, and you have the experiences that we all share, you tend to get better.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 3-9, 2014
- Senior Marshall Henderson scored 29 points, including eight 3-pointers, and four Rebels scored in double figures as the Rebels held off the Missouri Tigers 91-88 at home Saturday.
- Henderson hit 8-of-15 from 3-point range and added five assists for Ole Miss, which remained in sole possession of third place in the Southeastern Conference. Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White had 16 points apiece, and Anthony Perez had 11.
- The Rebels hit 14 3-pointers vs. Missouri, one off the school record of 15 set earlier this year versus Oregon.
- Henderson has now hit a 3-pointer in 56-straight games, four shy of tying Pat Bradly's SEC record of 60-straight games.
- Ole Miss' win over Missouri gave the Rebels their first top-50 RPI win of the season, and was their fifth top-100 RPI win of the season.
- The Rebels improved to 5-0 in the SEC at home.
- Playing without their No. 1 player, the No. 21 nationally ranked Ole Miss men's tennis team shut out visiting Southern Miss 7-0 Friday at the Gillom Sports Center. The Rebels picked up their first win of the season to improve to 1-2.
- Junior William Kallberg, playing only his second match ever at No. 1 singles, won 6-4, 6-4 to clinch the victory.
- Vinod Gowda earned his first career dual match victory after coming so close on the opening weekend. He won in straight sets at No. 4 singles.
- Sophomore Joe Rogers, playing in his first singles dual match and first singles match in more than two years, won 6-4, 1-6, 10-6 at No. 5 singles to complete the sweep.
Track & Field
- The Ole Miss men and women tracksters broke two school records and had several nationally relevant marks in New York over the weekend at the prestigious Armory Collegiate Invitational.
- The No. 21 Rebel men were led by the distance medley relay team of Robert Domanic, Montez Griffin, Sean Tobin and Daniel Bulmer. They shattered a 29-year-old school record by running a 9:40.17, which ranks them 12th in the NCAA this year.
- The women's 4x200m relay squad of Mary Ashton Nall, Kierra White, Erika Sisk and Kennadi Bouyer broke a 25-year-old school record when they clocked a 1:43.66. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of that record is that only one of those (Bouyer) is a sprint specialist. The others are a multi-eventer (Nall) and two jumpers (White and Sisk).
- Junior Robert Semien clocked a personal best time of 7.81 to finish third in the 60m hurdle final, and moved up to No. 3 in school history and top 20 in the nation this season.
- Freshman Jalen Miller blazed his way to third place in the 60m final with a personal-best 6.62 that moves him up to No. 11 in the NCAA this year and keeps him at fifth-best in school history.
- Junior Daniel Bulmer, who anchored the DMR team, ran a time of 8:12.19 in the 3,000 meters Saturday, which moved him into fifth place in the school record books.
- Freshman Trevor Gilley burst onto the scene by winning the college division mile run with a season-best time of 4:08.65 that ranks him ninth in school history.
- The Rebels have one more weekend of competition this coming Friday and Saturday (split between the Don Kirby Elite Invitational and the Husky Classic) before the SEC Championships in College Station, Texas (Feb. 27-March 1).
- Powered by a school record in air rifle (2353), the No. 12 ranked Ole Miss rifle team rallied to defeat No. 13 Navy 4629-4610 on Saturday.
- The Rebels found themselves trailing the Midshipmen by nine after smallbore, but came out strong in air to overtake Navy for the second straight year and win their second GARC match in a row. Ole Miss defeated No. 9 Memphis by one on Wednesday.
- Freshman Ali Weisz fired a 592 in air to pace the squad again. It marked the fourth match in the last six for the Montana native to score in the 590s.
- The Rebels are back in action Saturday, traveling to Murray, Ky., to face No. 11 Murray State.
- Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week, dropping a
hard fought, 77-65 contest to No 8/8 Tennessee on Thursday before
taking an 84-63 road loss at the hands of Georgia.
McFarland picked up her 1,500th career point with 14 points against
Georgia on Sunday. McFarland becomes one of just seven players in
program history with 1,500 career points, joining the likes of the
Gillom sisters and Armintie Price, among others.
- Tia Faleru picked
up her SEC-leading 12th double-double against Tennessee with 23 points
and 11 rebounds. Her 12 double-doubles are the most for an Ole Miss
player since Nikki Byrd had 12 in 2011-12 - a number Faleru is poised to
surpass this season.
- Amber Singletary set a new career high with
five 3-pointers against Georgia to finish with 15 points. Singletary was
in double figures for the second time this season.
- Danielle McCray
posted her second double-double this season with 11 points and 10
rebounds vs. Georgia, while Kenyotta Jenkins added 10 rebounds for her
second game with double-figure rebounds this season.
- Ole Miss opened the 2014 season at the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational in Fort Myers, Fla., with a 2-3 mark that included wins over Georgetown and Liberty on day two of the three-day tournament.
- Senior outfielder RT Cantillo led the Rebels at the plate with a .563 average in 16 at bats. Cantillo batted in two runs and scored three more, while going a combined 5-of-6 in Ole Miss' two victories.
- After dropping each of its first two games at the tournament to Western Kentucky and host Florida Gulf Coast by 3-2 marks, Ole Miss bounced back on the second day of the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Georgetown and a 5-1 win over Liberty. Ole Miss lost 9-2 in the third-place game against Georgetown on the final day of the tournament Sunday.
- Redshirt-freshman pitcher Emily Gaitan threw a fantastic game in her collegiate debut against Georgetown on Saturday, going all seven innings while striking out seven, walking one and allowing just three hits and zero earned runs.
- The Rebels closed out the second day of the tournament with a 5-1 victory over Liberty in which senior Shelby Jo Fenter picked up her first win by going 6.1 innings and striking out eight before sophomore Madi Osias, who hit a three-run home run earlier in the game, came on for the save.
Ole Miss notched its first top-50 RPI win of the season, as the Rebels held on for a 91-88 win over Missouri on Saturday in Oxford. Marshall Henderson led the way with 29 points, including eight 3-pointers, while three other Rebels scored in double figures and Aaron Jones and Sebastian Saiz grabbed double-digit rebounds.
"It's a huge win," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "It's a huge, huge win. It's a huge win because it's a home game against a top-50 team that everybody has slotted ahead us. It's a huge win."
"It was most definitely a must-win for us," Henderson said. "We had the same approach we had with the LSU and Tennessee games. It's the only time we play them during the regular season. Us four teams (Ole Miss, Missouri, LSU and Tennessee) are going to be battling, especially to get the double-bye in the SEC Tournament. That would be crucial. Missouri is ahead of us. They're one of the last four teams, I'm pretty sure. For us to get the win, it's huge. It puts us one-up on them."
Henderson had 18 of his 29 points in the first half, as Ole Miss took a 50-35 lead into halftime. The Rebels shot 53.1 percent (17-of-32) from the floor, including 9-of-16 from 3-point range, led by Henderson who was 6-of-8 from 3.
"We could sense it," said Henderson of shots falling in the first half. "It was crazy because it felt like we were blowing them, but they were still right there."
Missouri got to within two at 77-75 with 4:49 left in the game, but Jarvis Summers answered with straight points for Ole Miss to stretch the lead to 85-78 with a minute left in the game. He finished with 16 points, as did LaDarius White who scored 16 on 5-of-6 shooting, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Summers' 16 marked his 13th straight game in double figures.
"He's a winner," said Kennedy of Summers. "He's always won. He expects to win. He wants the ball, and I want him to have the ball. It's his experience. He makes plays. He's done it for us all year."
After being outrebounded for the third straight game against Kentucky, Ole Miss won the rebounding battle, 34-33, including 14 on the offensive glass. Jones grabbed 11, including six on the offensive end, and Saiz grabbed 10 with four on the offensive end. None were bigger than back-to-back defensive rebounds by Saiz during Summers' eight-point stretch late in the game.
"Coming into the game, Missouri had won two SEC road games, and in those at Auburn and at Arkansas, they were plus-16 on the glass in both. It's a huge stat. We won the battle of the board by one in a one-possession game."
Missouri scored five points in 16 seconds and forced an Ole Miss turnover to have the ball and a chance to tie down 91-88 with 0.9 seconds left, but Earnest Ross' deep 3-pointer hit off the front of the rim.
"We have embraced the grind," Henderson said. "We know every game is going down to the wire, no matter who we play. We just have to fight through and get the win."
The Rebels hit the road for back-to-back road games against Alabama on Tuesday and Georgia on Saturday before returning home for a pair of big home games against Kentucky and Florida, which are rated No. 4 and No. 13, respectively, in the RPI.
Ole Miss opens the second half of Southeastern Conference play, as the Rebels host the Missouri Tigers on Saturday (4 p.m., Fox Sports Net). Ole Miss (15-7, 6-3 SEC) has won each of its first four conference home games, and a win over Missouri (16-6, 4-5 SEC) would be its best RPI win of the season.
The Rebels enter Saturday's game ranked No. 57 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com), while the Tigers are rated No. 46. Ole Miss is 4-6 against top-100 RPI teams, including 0-4 against top-50 RPI teams. It is the Rebels' third top-50 RPI opponent in four games, having previously lost to Tennessee (No. 49) and Kentucky (No. 13).
"We knew it was going to be a big week for us," head coach Andy Kennedy. "We knew going into Rupp was going to be difficult, and I know coming home against Missouri is going to be difficult. That's why you're in the SEC. That's why you play big-boy basketball to have these opportunities. We have been better with a 4-0 record at home in league play. We have to continue that trend if we have any hopes of playing meaningful basketball once we get into the postseason."
Against Kentucky, Ole Miss went into halftime down just 35-34 before the Wildcats opened the second half on a 15-7 run to stretch the lead to 50-41. The Rebels got to within seven at 50-43 and 58-51, but they were not able to cut too far into the lead after that run to open the half.
For the third straight game and 14th game overall this season, Ole Miss was outrebounded, as the Rebels rank last in rebounding margin (-3.1 rebounds per game) and defensive rebounding percentage (63.3 percent) and 11th in offensive rebounding percentage (24.3 percent).
"I thought we were getting better at rebounding, but look at our last three outings," Kennedy said. "At Tennessee, we got destroyed. That was a difficult matchup for us, and they're pretty good at what they do. Against South Carolina at home, we get beat by 10. And then we go to Kentucky, and they're maybe leading the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, so we knew it was going to be a challenge, but we just got destroyed.
"We obviously had these issues in November and December, and we thought we had come to some sort of a conclusion as to how to remedy them, and then they have seemed to have risen back up."
Like Ole Miss, led by Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers, Missouri is a guard-oriented team. Jabari Brown leads the SEC in scoring (20.1 points per game), 3-point field goal percentage (47.4 percent) and minutes played (36.7 minutes per game).
Brown, who transferred from Oregon two season ago, has topped 20 points in six of his last seven league games and is averaging 24.3 points and shooting 61.9 percent from 3-point range during that stretch. Brown and Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson, who ranks sixth in league in scoring (18.7 points per game), rank fourth nationally among scoring tandems.
"They are a good team with really, really good guards," Kenendy said. "Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown have size, athleticism, and they are both highly skilled. Jabari Brown is having a Player-of-the-Year-type campaign. He's averaging around 22 points per game and shooting a ridiculous percentage from the floor and from 3, and he's a volume guy. He's Marshall, but Marshall is around 33 to 34 percent, while he's at 53 to 54 percent, so it gives you an idea of the challenge that they present.
"They're a group that is athletic. They are going to play fast. They are the most efficient team in our league in transition, so there are a number of things that we have to be good at defensively to give ourselves a chance."
Ole Miss Baseball Season Tickets Promo 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
The Ole Miss baseball team opens the 2014 season one week from today on Feb. 14 with the first game in a three-game series at Stetson. The Rebels' home opener is Feb. 19 against Tennessee-Martin, followed by a three-game weekend series against Georgia State (Feb. 21-23).
Ole Miss baseball media day is set for Feb. 10, so stay tuned to @OleMissBSB, @OleMissBlog, @WMBunt and @austinkmiller for updates.
Ole Miss Softball Promo 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
The Ole Miss softball team opens the 2014 season this weekend with a five-game, three-day tournament on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast. Ole Miss begins play in the tournament today against Western Kentucky at 1:30 p.m. CT. The Rebels' home opener is Feb. 21 against Bowling Green, their first of five games in the three-day Red & Blue Classic.
In case you missed it, here are three things from Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Threes, previewing the 2014 season and this weekend's tournament. For updates this weekend and throughout the season, follow the Rebels on Twitter @OleMissSoftball.
Three things from Ole Miss softball head coach Windy Thees, previewing the 2014 season and the Rebels' first tournament, the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational at Florida Gulf Coast, which starts Friday:
1. Year Three Of Thees Era
Ole Miss head coach Windy Thees enters her third year leading the Rebels, coming off a 25-31 season in 2013, a three-win improvement over the 2012 season (22-32). The Rebels return eight of nine starters and four of their five pitchers from a season ago.
"They know the drill," Thees said. "The first two years was difficult because it was a new system for them and then it was a lot of new players. Now that we're in year three, there's a big comfort level and a lot of confidence being built over the years because we have had a couple of years of more success than they have had in the past, and we're hoping to continue to build on that."
2. Taking Care Of Business
The Rebels open the 2014 season in Fort Myers, Fla., where they will compete in the FGCU/Four Points by Sheraton Invitational on the campus of Florida Gulf Coast University. Ole Miss will play five games over the three-day tournament (Feb. 7-9), highlighted by the tournament opener against Western Kentucky, an NCAA Tournament team a season ago.
Ole Miss will also compete in tournaments in Charleston, S.C., and San Diego, Calif., as well as host the Red & Blue Classic from Feb. 21-23, where they will play Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Colorado, Saint Louis and Tennessee-Martin. The Rebels open Southeastern Conference play on March 7 at Florida, the first game of a three-game series against the Gators.
"The first thing is to take care of business, and that's taking care of business without even thinking about SEC schools," Thees said. "SEC play is the second half of the season. The first half of the season is going out and playing in these tournaments, where you're playing top-100 RPI teams from other conferences.
"This weekend, we play Florida Gulf Coast and Western Kentucky, two NCAA Tournament-type teams that are really solid, but we need to go in there and we need to win. We need to win the games we're supposed to win. We need to compete with those teams and make sure we come away with a lot of wins out of conference, and that builds our confidence going into conference."
3. Restoring Pride, Turning A Corner
Coming off a 14-39 season in 2011, Thees and her staff and players have helped restore in the pride in the Ole Miss softball program. The Rebels have increased their win total in each of the past two years and hosted the largest crowd in the Ole Miss Softball Complex's history.
"The players have a lot more pride," Thees said. "The pride in Ole Miss has grown over the years. And because of that, the whole school and community want to support all the teams. Everybody is just waiting for us to win. As soon as we start winning, the crowds are going to continue to build and build, and we have already started the process of that. That's why our crowds have gotten bigger."
The SEC led all conferences with 11 teams selected to the NCAA Tournament last season, and it remains as challenging as ever. Leading the Rebels to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history, Thees said, would turn a corner.
"It's easy for me to recruit to the campus, education and community that this school offers," Thees said. "Our coaching staff is dynamic, and we can bring kids in. We want to beat the top schools for kids. To do that, you have to get to the NCAA Tournament because every kid wants a chance to go to Oklahoma City and play in the World Series.
"The first step is getting into the postseason, and once you get into the postseason, it's all about hitting your stride at the right time and matchups. Turning the corner and getting to the NCAA Tournament and becoming a perennial NCAA Tournament team, that's our job at Ole Miss, and that's where we're hoping to take that step this year."
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy met with members of the media Thursday, ahead of the Rebels hosting the Missouri Tigers on Saturday (4 p.m., Fox Sports Net).
On Julius Randle's dunk against Derrick Millinghaus:
We had a tough night on a number of fronts. The game, and then we had a tough time getting out of Lexington because of the weather and then we had to fly to Memphis and drive back. What was about an hour and 15 minute flight turned into about a four and a half hour debacle. On the bus ride home, they showed it with a graphic like nine times in an hour and 15 minutes, so he got to see it. He will get to see it again today.
On Kentucky being a teachable game:
We gave ourselves a chance. Early, we were up five or six points and we seemed to be executing and not getting completely dominated on the glass. The zone was bothering them a little bit. Our primary objective going into the game was to try to keep them in front of us. That's where they broke us down. We couldn't keep anybody in front of us and then we were in a poor position to rebound the ball. Any shots that they did miss, they cleaned up off the offensive glass. Their length is difficult, and it's really hard to simulate. If you don't create some space, then it's difficult to continue to try to score over them all night, and we had trouble with that in the second half.
I thought we were getting better at rebounding, but look at our last three outings. At Tennessee, we got destroyed. That was a difficult matchup for us, and they're pretty good at what they do. Against South Carolina at home, we get beat by 10. And then we go to Kentucky, and they're maybe leading the nation in offensive rebounding percentage, so we knew it was going to be a challenge, but we just got destroyed. We obviously had these issues in November and December, and we thought we had come to some sort of a conclusion as to how to remedy them, and then they have seemed to have risen back up.
On the different defenses Ole Miss plays:
It's all matchup dependent. If you look at it, our man-to-man has helped us in moments. Our half-court trap really saved us against South Carolina, and it had not been that effective in the three or four games prior to that. Our 1-3-1 zone has been good to us at times. The 2-3 zone has probably been our best overall statistical defense. We will continue to mix and match depending upon whom we're playing, how we're playing, who they have in the game and who we have in the game. There are a number of factors.
They are a good team with really, really good guards. Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown have size, athleticism, and they are both highly skilled. Jabari Brown is having a Player-of-the-Year-type campaign. He's averaging around 22 points per game and shooting a ridiculous percentage from the floor and from 3, and he's a volume guy. He's Marshall, but Marshall is around 33 to 34 percent, while he's at 53 to 54 percent, so it gives you an idea of the challenge that they present. They're a group that is athletic. They are going to play fast. They are the most efficient team in our league in transition, so there are a number of things that we have to be good at defensively to give ourselves a chance.
On defense against Missouri:
We will do what we always do in most every game. We will mix and match and see what is the best. I don't think you will see a steady diet of any one thing because they are too good. From a size standpoint, they can play over the top of us, if we went primarily with man defense, but I don't think you can sit in a zone because they're too proficient from 3.
On the Missouri game being a resume-building opportunity for the NCAA Tournament:
We knew it was going to be a big week for us. We knew going into Rupp was going to be difficult, and I know coming home against Missouri is going to be difficult. That's why you're in the SEC. That's why you play big-boy basketball to have these opportunities. We have been better with a 4-0 record at home in league play. We have to continue that trend if we have any hopes of playing meaningful basketball once we get into the postseason.
On Martavious Newby:
He's out of the cast, and he has begun his rehab process. As is typical with kids who are playing high-level SEC sports, he heals pretty quickly. The doctors will give you the landscape for the people they typically deal with and then you can usually accelerate that, and Martavious is no exception. Our anticipation is that if he continues to progress the way he has once rehabilitation has started, hopefully we can have him back sooner rather than later. He's a big void and you see his toughness, coming up with loose balls and he gives us a matchup on the perimeter defensively that we miss.
On winning on the road in the SEC:
Coming into this past week, I think Ken Pomeroy said that the SEC had the most games of any league that were decided by four points or less, or overtime, which shows you it's a balanced league. It's a company line, and it's one the SEC has not been able to shake for a couple of years. It's an easy company line. I do think there is a bias in the national media because they get tired of talking about the SEC because it dominates in football, and they get tired of it. When there's an opportunity to talk about something else, that's what they're going to do.
Kentucky loses on the road to LSU, which is a very good basketball team, in a competitive game, and then they go and win at Missouri. And Missouri has beaten West Virginia, Northwestern, at NC State and UCLA, and they didn't lose a non-league home game. Kentucky goes in there and wins, and they still drop seven spots in the poll. The mindset is kind of crazy.
Our league, it will start shaking out in the next two or three weeks. You will start seeing the pretenders from the contenders, and that will be the case in any league. The Big Ten has done a job like everybody does of eating their own. You have teams that were undefeated before league play and they lose three, four or five in a row. It happens at this time of year.
I don't get too caught up in that with my group because we have to find a way to get better. Let's get better and improve. I can't be a big-picture thinker with this group. It's not productive. For us, it's about getting better. It's about figuring out what we did right for 15 to 20 minutes against Kentucky and what went wrong, and let's correct those things and let's try to make an improvement Saturday.
On that bias carrying over into the NCAA Tournament committee room:
I don't think so. I think those people don't get caught up in that. We all deal with human nature. The numbers are going to say what the numbers are going to say. The numbers on that piece of paper have to make sense, and if they make sense, then our league will be properly represented.
Think about last year. We obviously knew we had to work to do going into Nashville. There were two teams that went into Nashville that were probably safe regardless with Florida being one and Missouri being the other. Missouri finished fifth or sixth in our league. However, similar to what they have done this year, their non-league had enough pop where they were good.
Everybody else -- us, obviously, Tennessee still had an opportunity to play their way in, Alabama was still in the conversation, and certainly Kentucky was. There were only two that were in regardless of what happened in Nashville, but there were still six in play. It just so happens that Kentucky got beat by Vanderbilt, which was a "bad loss," so they're out. Tennessee and Alabama happened to play one another, but the loser got immediately eliminated, and then the other lost the next round to Florida. We were the only one that wiggled our way through. We went in with an opportunity for six.
Let's say Kentucky would have beaten Vanderbilt, and if we would have beaten them, they're probably still in, and we would have probably had to have beaten them to get in. There's so much still in play, and that was when Kentucky was not considered a Final Four contender because of the Nerlens Noel injury.
The Kentucky team that I saw Tuesday night was the Kentucky team that many people projected them to be when they named them preseason number one in the country. Those kids are growing up, and when Willie Cauley-Stein plays the way he did, and the Harrison twins are really getting better. They're so long. That's what blew me away. Things that we can typically do against other people, their length made up for that on Tuesday, and it made it problematic.
On excuses being made to say the SEC is down:
It's a mindset. For instance, the Big East. When the Big East turns to basketball, the attention turns to that in November. There's not a lot of thought put into basketball until about now. It's the nature of the geography, the communities that you're in and because of the dominance of football.
You can't feed two masters a lot of times. Many times, we're a slow build. When Missouri loses to Georgia, it's considered bad, even though it's very, very difficult to win on the road in the league. Going into this last week, Florida and us were the only teams in the league with multiple road wins. It's difficult to win in any league.
For us, we're going to have opportunities. The league is sitting in a much better place today than it was at this time last year. The biggest reason being even the teams at the bottom, it's not so much weighty at the bottom. We had two or three 200-plus RPI teams last year, and we lost to a couple of them. As a result, it makes the climb very, very difficult to get up and out of.
This year, that's not the case. Even though we have teams that have not performed as well as they have liked, their numbers don't indicate that. Take Vanderbilt, for instance, and Kevin (Stallings) has done a masterful job. People think they're down because of their injuries and the attrition that they have suffered, yet you look today, and they're in the 60's in the RPI. That win at Vanderbilt, even though you say it's not the Vanderbilt they had two years, granted, the numbers still give you some life.
On what Ole Miss did well in those 15 to 20 minutes against Kentucky:
Number one, we were moving the ball better. We got really stagnant in the second half, and then we got into trying to make a play without moving the defense. Their size ate us up, and we could not get clean looks. And the ones we got, we were looking for a 10-point shot as opposed to staying within the rhythm of the offense.
And then you don't get stops. They shot 60 percent against us in the second half. We did not get a defensive rebound until Janari (Joesaar) came in and got one that hit off the side of the rubber part of the backboard. That was the first time a Rebel got a rebound in the second half. We had some dead-ball rebounds, but we did not have a clean defensive rebound until under two minutes to go in the second half.
On limited opportunities for resume-building wins:
We have Missouri, and they're in the low 50's in the RPI, and they're a quality team. We have Kentucky coming back in here, and you have Florida, who's in the top five and might come in here number one in the nation, so you have your opportunities. We still have Vanderbilt coming back in this building, and they're sitting in the 60's in the RPI, so there are opportunities for us. We have to play better and we have to earn our way in. That's the only way it should be, and that's the way it is.
As we are all aware, Ole Miss legendary tennis coach Billy Chadwick will retire at season's end. Throughout his career, Ole Miss fans have witnessed many memorable moments on and off the courts.
Chadwick has been coaching at Ole Miss for what will be 35 years and, as a tribute, we are going to reflect and try to highlight the 35 top moments of Chadwick's tenure. For a coach that has accumulated over 600 wins during his career, picking out only 35 is no small feat.
We are going to follow up Chadwick's success with the women's team with No. 34 today. For the remainder of the men's tennis season, we will release three top moments a week to highlight Chadwick's storied career. Starting next week, we will release one on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week.
No. 34 on our list is Chadwick's first career win as the men's tennis coach. This came in Chadwick's first season as the men's head coach in 1983, as the Rebels defeated Centenary 8-1 at the Milwaukee Classic in Milwaukee, Wisc.
While relishing the accomplished program that we all enjoy today, it is easy to forget where it all began. When Chadwick took over the men's program that year in 1983, it was last in the Southeastern Conference. Thirty years and 18 SEC titles later, here we are.
Although Chadwick's first career win was not against a big-name opponent, it was the beginning of one of the most historic coaching careers in college tennis.
Stay tuned for No. 33 next week with many exciting moments on the way. We are only getting started.
Ole Miss landed back-to-back top-15 classes for the first time in school history dating back to the first recruiting rankings in 2002. It was a consensus top-20 class, ranked as high as No. 14 (247Sports.com). Here are a few related National Signing Day links to videos and stories:
VIDEO: Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze talks National Signing Day, Jeremy Liggins with CBSSports.com's Bruce Feldman on Signing Day Live
VIDEO: Ole Miss tight ends coach/offensive recruiting coordinator Maurice Harris talks National Signing Day with the Clarion-Ledger's Courtney Cronin
Mississippi's Freeze happy with haul, writes David Brandt from the Associated Press
Ole Miss locks down top area talent, get top-15 class, writes Hugh Kellenberger from the Clarion-Ledger
Ole Miss fulfills needs with 2014 recruiting class, writes David Collier from the the Daily Mississippian
Change of heart: Rebels bolster secondary by swaying Shepard, leading with the signing-day flip of signee Tee Shepard from Mississippi State to Ole Miss, writes Parrish Alford from the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Freeze: '14 class 'better top to bottom,' writes Neal McCready from RebelGrove/Rivals.com
2014 Signing Day Guide Download, a comprehensive introduction to the entire signing class, from Jeffrey Wright of RebelGrove/Rivals.com
Role Definition, answering the question what position signee Jeremy Liggins will play at Ole Miss, writes Ben Garrett from the Ole Miss Spirit/Scout.com
And in case you missed it, Rebels Land Back-To-Back Top-15 Classes on OleMissSports.com and 'Bjork: It Lifts The Entire Athletics Program,' with Athletics Director Ross Bjork recounting the day that was for Ole Miss football, on Ole Miss Blog.
The Southeastern Conference announced today its annual
football media days will be held July 14-17, remaining at the Hyatt Regency
Birmingham - Wynfrey Hotel in Hoover, Ala. The event will expand to four days
in 2014, beginning Monday, July 14 and concluding Thursday, July 17.
Hugh Freeze and the Ole Miss contingency will be in the Magic City on the final day and grouped with Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.
ESPN will continue to have an expanded presence at the
event, with the SEC Network officially launching in August. A more detailed
daily schedule, rotational breakdown and student-athletes attending will be
available later this summer. The listing of
coaches below does not indicate the order of appearance each day.
Beginning with the 2014 event, institutional media guides
will only be made available in electronic format, with the annual SEC
publication available both via traditional and electronic means.
The previous three SEC Football Media Days all drew over
1,000 attendees, with an all-time high of 1,239 for the 2013 edition last
2014 SEC FOOTBALL MEDIA
MONDAY, July 14
Commissioner Mike Slive
Auburn - Gus Malzahn
Florida - Will Muschamp
Vanderbilt - Derek Mason
TUESDAY, July 15
Mississippi State - Dan Mullen
South Carolina - Steve Spurrier
Tennessee - Butch Jones
Texas A&M - Kevin Sumlin
WEDNESDAY, July 16
Steve Shaw - SEC Coordinator of Football Officials /
Justin Connolly - SEC Network
Arkansas - Bret Bielema
LSU - Les Miles
Missouri - Gary Pinkel
THURSDAY, July 17
Alabama - Nick Saban
Georgia - Mark Richt
Kentucky - Mark Stoops
Ole Miss - Hugh Freeze
Ole Miss landed back-to-back top-15 classes for the first time in school history dating back to the first recruiting rankings in 2002. It was a consensus top-20 class, ranked as high as No. 14 (247Sports.com).
The 27-player signing class included 14 high school and junior college All-Americans and five consensus four-star prospects, as well as offensive lineman Rod Taylor, who is listed as a 5-star prospect by 247Sports.com and a 4-star prospect by the other three major recruiting services.
After head coach Hugh Freeze's signing day press conference, I caught up with Ole Miss Athletics Director Ross Bjork to recount the day that was for Ole Miss football.
On the importance of signing day to the football program and the athletic program as whole:
"This day is really about the whole cycle of a football program, where you have fall practice, then you have the season, then you have the postseason, and then you go into signing day, and then you go into spring practice. This is another way to sell the program at the highest level. We know we have to get players, and so our coaches go out and do that.
"To me, it's part of the big cycle of college football, and it becomes another holiday mixed in with all of the things that we do to run a high-level football program. The attention and coverage is great, and it lifts the entire athletic program to see what our staff has done the last two years to recruit at the highest level."
On this year's class compared to last year's class:
"Last year was so different and so unique because of the connections we had with the number one player overall, number one offensive lineman and number one receiver. It's different, and what's great about today is we had no surprises.
"The less drama you can have on signing day, the better. We had a couple of battles at the end, but the less drama, the better. To me, today was perfect, and this is how you want it to go every year, where you're recruiting a high level but you have no surprises in a negative way. Our staff did a great job."
Three takeaways from Ole Miss' 80-64 loss at No. 18 Kentucky on Tuesday night:
1. Missed Opportunity, But More Opportunities Await Rebels
With the 80-64 loss at No. 18 Kentucky, Ole Miss moves to 15-6 overall and 6-3 in Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels are now 4-6 against top-100 RPI teams, including 0-4 against top-50 RPI teams.
Ole Miss turns around and hosts Missouri on Saturday, which is just outside the top 50 at No. 51 in the latest RPI (ESPN.com). The Rebels still have two more big opportunities at home against Kentucky and Florida, which are rated No. 13 and No. 5, respectively, in the RPI. Ole Miss also travels to Arkansas (No. 85) and hosts Vanderbilt (No. 69).
2. Kentucky Sets Tone Early In Second Half
After going into halftime with a 35-34 lead, Kentucky opened the second half on a 15-7 run to stretch the lead to 50-41 with 15:06 left after a Julius Randle dunk. Ole Miss got to within seven at 50-43 and 58-51, but the Rebels were not able to cut too far into the lead after that initial flurry by the Wildcats.
Kentucky also shot the ball much better in the second half, shooting 60 percent (15-of-25) in the second half after shooting 42.3 percent (11-of-26) in the first half.
3. Wildcats Win Battle In The Paint
Head coach Andy Kennedy talked about Kentucky's size with all five starters listed at 6-foot-6 or taller. Willie Cauley-Stein (7-foot-0) and Alex Poythress (6-foot-8) also combined for 49 minutes off the bench for the Wildcats.
Ole Miss did well against Kentucky's size in the first half, holding an advantage in points in the paint (18-16) and second-chance points, while being even in offensive rebounding (8-8) and being outrebounded by just five at 22-17.
In the second half, however, Kentucky held a decisive edge in points in the paint (28-6), second-chance points (14-7), defensive rebounds (12-3) and total rebounds (19-9). The Wildcats' leading scorer on the season, Julius Randle, also had 11 of his 12 points in the second half.
As we are all aware, Ole Miss legendary tennis coach Billy Chadwick will retire at season's end. Throughout his career, Ole Miss fans have witnessed many memorable moments on and off the courts.
Chadwick has been coaching at Ole Miss for what will be 35 years and, as a tribute, we are going to reflect and try to highlight the 35 top moments of Chadwick's tenure. For a coach that has accumulated over 600 wins during his career, picking out only 35 is no small feat.
We are going to begin with #35 today, and we will countdown until the last match of the season.
Chadwick began his coaching career at Ole Miss in 1979 as the women's tennis coach, laying the foundation for the excellent team they have today.
No. 35 on our list is Chadwick's first big win as the women's tennis coach at Ole Miss. In 1982, he led the Lady Rebels to the SEC finals with a big upset over No. 2 Georgia (5-4) in the semifinals. They also beat No. 4 seeded Vanderbilt 8-1 in the quarterfinals.
The Lady Rebels went on to finish seventh in the AIAW Nationals and earned the program's first top 20 national ranking.
Stay tuned for #34 on Thursday. We are just getting started.Special assistance by media relations student Wesley Boock.
With Saturday's 75-71, comeback win over South Carolina, Ole Miss is 6-2 in the Southeastern Conference and tied for second in the league standings with Kentucky entering Tuesday's showdown with the Wildcats. The Rebels have also played themselves into the NCAA Tournament conversation as one of the first five teams out, according to the latest USA Today bracket released Monday.
Ole Miss enters Tuesday's game rated No. 56 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index (ESPN.com), while the Wildcats are rated No. 13, the highest rated opponent to date and the second-highest opponent on the schedule. The Rebels are 4-5 against top-100 RPI teams this season with wins over LSU, Vanderbilt, Penn State and Middle Tennessee.
"We have opportunities on the horizon, and we don't pay a lot of attention to the projections in the first week in February," Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy said. "There is so much basketball left to be played, and we certainly lived that last year. We were dead numerous times, and our guys continued to grind and fight. Anytime you're in a league such as the SEC, you're going to have quality opportunities. We have two this week, and my focus is just on getting our kids ready for the challenges."
Ole Miss had a similar opportunity last Wednesday at Tennessee, but they fell behind 13-4 by the first media timeout in an 86-70 loss. Tennessee held a decisive edge in rebounding (45-27), points in the paint (36-24) and second-chance points (19-4), and Kentucky presents similar problems with all five projected starters listed at 6-foot-6 or taller.
"I hope we can take the (right) approach that we have go in there with so we don't get the same result where we get behind 13-4 and then have to battle the five future pros, the hall of fame coach and the 23,000," said Kennedy of comparing Kentucky to Tennessee. "I hope we don't get behind early. It's a different team. Tennessee is veteran-laden, more physical, below the rim. These guys are high-flyers."
Kentucky is 80-2 at Rupp Arena under John Calipari, including 13-0 this season. The Wildcats hold a 100-13 lead in the all-time series, including a 26-1 mark at Rupp Arena, with the Rebels' lone win there coming Feb. 14, 1998.
The Wildcats lead the league in field goal percentage (47.4 percent), rebounding (41.8 rpg) and rank second in scoring (80.0 ppg). They also lead the league in rebounding margin (+10.1 rpg) and offensive rebounding percentage (42.8 percent). Freshman forward Julius Randle leads the team, averaging a double-double with 16.1 points per game and a league-leading 10.1 rebounds per game.
"They're extremely long and athletic," Kennedy said. "We better make a bunch of shots because it's going to be hard to get rebounds. That's what they do. They are young, but they have been very good at Rupp, and that's where we have to go Tuesday."
Ole Miss seeking quality wins, starting with Kentucky, writes Hugh Kellenberger of the Clarion-Ledger
Marshall-mania hits Rupp Arena for Kentucky game, writes Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herlad-Leader
A three-spot from UK's Ole Miss preview, writes John Clay of the Lexington Herald-Leader
Ole Miss senior Marshall Henderson is all grown up, writes Andy Katz of ESPN.com
Ole Miss Rifle Promo 2014: vs Navy from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
The Ole Miss rifle team continue its spring season on Wednesday at Memphis before returning home to host Navy on Saturday, Feb. 8 at the Patricia C. Lamar National Guard Readiness Center. Follow the Rebels on Twitter, @OleMissRifle and on Facebook at OleMissRifle.
The madness of National Signing Day returns on Wednesday
, and while there isn't as much media focus on Ole Miss as last year, things seem to be shaping up nicely for the Rebels. As of Monday morning, the latest rankings have Ole Miss' 2014 class as high as No. 11 (247Sports) and consensus top-15 (ESPN #15, Rivals #15, Scout #15, 247Composite #13). After assembling a top-10 group a year ago, it would mark the first time in school history to record back-to-back top-15 signing classes. Below is a breakdown of how the Rebels have fared since recruiting rankings first emerged 13 years ago.
Follow me on twitter @CampbellKyle.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Jan. 27-Feb. 2, 2014
- Ole Miss split a pair of game last week, falling on the road at Tennessee on Wednesday before rallying to beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 75-71 at home Saturday afternoon.
- The Rebels rallied from a 15-point, second half deficit to knock off South Carolina on Saturday, and ended the game on a 29-10 run. Senior Marshall Henderson scored 21 points for Ole Miss and junior Jarvis Summers added 16 points, including 8 of Ole Miss' final 11 points in the come-from-behind victory. Ole Miss trailed by 5 points at halftime and was down by 15 points with nine minutes in the game remaining before starting its run.
- The Rebels' comeback against South Carolina was their largest second-half comeback since overcoming a 15-point deficit at Arkansas in 2012.
- Ole Miss is 26-9 (.743 winning percentage) over its last 35 games vs. SEC opponents dating back to 2012, which is the best mark in school history. It is also tied with Florida for the best mark in the SEC over the last 35 games.
- At 6-2, the Rebels are tied with last year's team and the 1937-38 Ole Miss squad for the best start to SEC play after eight games in school history. Ole Miss travels to Kentucky on Tuesday before returning home to host Missouri on Saturday.
- Ole Miss dominated Jacksonville State 7-0 Saturday to improve to 3-1 on the season. The Rebels only gave up 10 games total to the Gamecocks in doubles and singles, and they outscored JSU 18-0 in doubles.
- Zalina Khairudinova and Julia Jones won their sixth doubles match in a row, and improved to 4-0 in dual matches this season. Mai El Kamash picked up her team-leading 14th win in singles, while Jones earned her 13th win of the year.
- The Rebels have now posted three shutouts this year in their first four matches.
- Senior Caroline Rohde-Moe was one of nine Ole Miss student-athletes inducted into the Who's Who Among Colleges and Universities last Friday at the Gertrude Ford Center. The two-time All-SEC honoree is an outstanding student in the Honors College.
- The Rebels are off until Feb. 21 when they host a doubleheader against Lipscomb and Tennessee State.
- Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week after a 99-70 road loss at No. 7/8 South Carolina on Thursday, and an 81-60 defeat to Florida on Sunday at home. The Rebels will face four ranked opponents in their next six games.
- Valencia McFarland extended her scoring streak to 110 consecutive games by scoring in each of Ole Miss' last two games. She also extended her consecutive games started streak to 100 games with starts against South Carolina and Florida. McFarland has started each game of the last two seasons.
- Tia Faleru's 21 points and 14 rebounds against Florida marked her 11th double-double of the season, a number which leads the SEC. It's also the most double-doubles for an Ole Miss player since former Rebel Nikki Byrd had 12 during the 2011-12 season. Faleru also leads the league in rebounding with 9.7 rebounds per game.
- After her 30 points over the week. Valencia McFarland is now 18 points away from her 1,500th-career point. She will become one of seven players in program history to reach the mark.
- The Rebels were off last week, but junior Nik Scholtz traveled back to his home country of South Africa to represent it in the Davis Cup. With his country down 0-1 to Monaco, Scholtz won an exciting five-setter against world No. 276 ranked Benjamin Balleret to tie the match. South Africa ended up winning the match 3-2.
- The Rebels are back in action Friday with a doubleheader against Southern Miss.
Full transcript of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Missouri head coach Frank Haith. The Rebels travel to Lexington, Ky., to play the Wildcats on Tuesday (6 p.m., ESPNU) and then return home to play the Tigers on Saturday (4 p.m., Fox Sports Net).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
We have two very big challenges. We have tomorrow night in Lexington against one of the better teams in the country. We have not had an unbelievable amount of success in Rupp and then turning around and hosting Missouri, which is playing very good basketball and presents a number of challenges with quite arguably the best backcourt in college basketball. It's another week of SEC play with those challenges.
On Missouri guards Jabari Brown, Jordan Clarkson and Earnest Ross:
They're very good players. Clarkson has had a Player-of-the-Year-type start to SEC play, and Jabari Brown has taken his game to another level, coming off I believe it was a career-high in their outing against Kentucky, as I was preparing for Kentucky and Missouri this week. I saw the game. He's playing with a lot of confidence. He has always been a very good shooter and now his game his game has expanded when he can do more things off the bounce. And then Earnest Ross was at Auburn prior to going to Missouri and has developed into a deadly perimeter shooter and a guy who physically you have to match his intensity.
On Kentucky's perimeter play:
The biggest concern for us is their size. We're not overly big in the backcourt, and they have a lot of size. They play (Jarrod) Polson a little bit, and he's probably the only guy on their roster under 6-foot-5 who gets in the game. They present a number of issues with their size and versatility. The (Aaron and Andrew) Harrison twins are really starting to play much more confidently like with all freshmen, as the season gets longer and they get more comfortable in their roles. James Young is as prolific a scorer as Calipari has had from day one who has scored as efficiently as he has. They present a number of challenges with their size, athleticism and ability to make shots.
On Kentucky's Julius Randle:
His overall game is what sticks out to me. He's very physically strong and attacks the ball. Great players are always around the ball, and he always seems to be around the ball. He faces up and makes shots from the perimeter. Most everybody will do what we will try to do, which is put some bodies between him and the basket, and hopefully we can get him off his straight path. If you let allow him to get to his left hand and have a straight path to the basket, there's going to be very little you are going to be able to do.
On NCAA Tournament projections:
We have opportunities on the horizon, and we don't pay a lot of attention to the projections in the first week in February. There is so much basketball left to be played, and we certainly lived that last year. We were dead numerous times, and our guys continued to grind and fight. Anytime you're in a league such as the SEC, you're going to have quality opportunities. We have two this week, and my focus is just on getting our kids ready for the challenges.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari
You're talking about two teams that have two teams that have players who can break you down and score when they need to. Mississippi State was up four on us when they played us here, and we kind of wore them down with a little bit of our depth, but I'm not sure we will be able to do that down there. Mississippi, Andy has them playing so well. They're running their stuff and executing and playing through the people they need to play through. They're playing zone and scrambling it up a little bit. They're putting out a 1-3-1 zone and putting out a little bit of a half-court trap. They're doing great stuff. Both teams are well coached. Both teams are in position to win games because of how they're being coached, and players are playing their roles well.
On the Missouri win on Saturday:
The whole mantra and message for the week was passion, outward emotion and enthusiasm for each other and showing it. We practiced all week on recognizing each other's good plays and verbally doing it. We have such a young team. We have the youngest team I have ever coached and one of the youngest teams in college basketball history. Their emotions are all tied to how they're playing offensively. Our strength of schedule is top-five. That's why when everybody gets caught up with us having to win every game, we don't. We just have to take care of business. Our strength is top-five, and it's not going to change a whole lot to finish out the year.
Our efficiency on offense, we're holding onto the ball too much, and it's top-10 or top-five. The issue becomes the enthusiasm, passion and spirit we play with on defense. We should be a better defensive team than we are last year. A lot of it is transition defense. How about we sprint back? Last game, they were driving right. Make them drive left, and they just kept driving right. There are some things that we can do to make us better. It's not a skill set. It's not that we don't have good guys or we're a good team. All of the things that people say are our weaknesses are things we can change. We have size, athleticism and depth. The things you have no control over, we have. We have things we can change, and we're going to try to.
On Missouri's Jabari Brown:
He was outstanding. He flew up and down the court and put himself in position to get out ahead of our defense. If you leave him alone, he makes shots. The last five or six games, he was making 60-70 percent of his threes. Whoever is playing Missouri, and I'm happy we're not playing them again, you have to prepared to say when he gets going, what are you going to do? We went a little zone and trapped some pick-and-rolls. We did some stuff to try to slow him down, and he and (Jordan) Clarkson ended up with 70 points between them.
We have had now two games where teams have shot 50 percent against my team. I bet if you look over my 20 years of coaching for back-to-back 50 percent shooting nights, I can't imagine that it's happened against my team, but it did, and LSU and Missouri are both tremendous basketball teams.
Missouri head coach Frank Haith
We're coming off a tough loss here on Saturday against a very good Kentucky team. Our guys played extremely hard and competed. Kentucky played great, particularly the Harrison twins. Going back to look at it, their performance was outstanding. We have two difficult challenges ahead of this week playing two road games, starting tomorrow night against one of the best teams in the country, Florida, and then at Ole Miss, probably one of the hottest teams in our league. It's going to be a great challenge for us this week.
On standing in NCAA Tournament projections:
I have not paid attention to it. I know we have some opportunities in our conference to continue to improve our resume. We have to take care of business and do what we need to do to give ourselves a chance to have our name called out on that Sunday.
On freshman guard Wes Clark:
He's getting more and more comfortable as all freshmen do, as they get more court time and get more used to the speed of the game. We're seeing Wes be more confident and get a better feel for what he can and can't do in a game of this level. Because of that, it makes us better with his improving.
Ole Miss outscored South Carolina 29-10 over the last 10:53, as the Rebels rallied for a 75-71 win on Saturday in Oxford.
With the win, Ole Miss improves to 15-6 overall and 6-2 in Southeastern Conference play. The Rebels also remain in a tie for second place in the league standings with Kentucky, ahead of the teams' meeting on Tuesday in Lexington, Ky.
"I don't know if I have ever been more excited about what I just witnessed than about those last seven minutes," head coach Andy Kennedy said of the team's sense of urgency. "That was big-time basketball. You're down 15 against a team that's playing as well as they have all year. You're on your heels and you made everything happen.
"You made it happen defensively. You made timely shots. You executed. You came up with loose balls. You made free throws. That was a tremendous effort for a group of guys who deserved it for the work they put in."
Marshall Henderson scored a team-high 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting, followed by Jarvis Summers with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting. Summers had 10 of his 15 points in the second half, including eight of the Rebels' last 11 points of the game.
"I know Marshall Henderson gets beat up a lot, but he's one of my favorite players because of his charisma, enthusiasm and the way that he elevates he elevates his team in difficult moments, especially," South Carolina head coach Frank Martin said.
Summers hit his first and only 3-pointer of the game to give Ole Miss its first lead since late in the first half at 67-66 with 4:00 left, and after South Carolina regained the lead, Summers answered with a jumper to go up 69-68 and then extended the lead to 71-68 with a contested lay-up at the rim.
"He's been playing like a first-team all-league players," Kennedy said of Summers. "I played him 37 minutes tonight and I'm trying to get a lot of out of him. I have to manage him better, so that he has the energy that I need him to have down the stretch. He's a very good player and works extremely hard. He's been doing this for us from game one. He's been our most consistent guy."
"He took shots and made them," Martin added. "That's what good players do."
LaDarius White and Aaron Jones joined Henderson and Summers in double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Jones completed a 3-point play with less than a minute left after South Carolina cut the lead to two at 71-69, as the Rebels closed out the win.
"I told him at the last timeout, 'Stop looking around for Murph(y Holloway) and Reg(inald Buckner). They're gone. You're the guy and go make a play. I need you to make a play and get a ball. We can't ask Sebas(tian Saiz) or Coleby to do it. They have never been in that circumstance before. You have had limited experience, but that's all we have, so you have to go make a play,'" Kennedy said.
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