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.
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