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Ole Miss meets Mississippi State on the hardwood the for 250th time Wednesday, which makes it the most-played rivalry in the Southeastern Conference.
Like the rivalry in football, where the road team last won in 2010, the home team has also held serve in the basketball series, with Ole Miss (12-7, 3-3 SEC) last winning in Starkville in 2009 and Mississippi State (9-10, 2-4 SEC) last winning in Oxford in 2011.
For some players, such as Aaron Jones, Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White, all seniors and all Mississippi natives, it's a rivalry renewed. For others, such as leading scorer Stefan Moody, a junior college transfer, and key contributors M.J. Rhett and Terence Smith, both graduate transfers, this is their first taste of the rivalry.
"The rivalry will become pretty evident to them," said head coach Andy Kennedy of the newcomers. "They had the opportunity to see the impact of the Egg Bowl and how important that was for both schools. It's important for us, first and foremost, because it's the next game and it's a home game, and we need to make sure we match the intensity that I'm sure Mississippi State will bring to the game."
Ole Miss won two of the three meetings last year and has won three straight games in Tad Smith Coliseum against Mississippi State, but it's the Rebels' 76-72 loss in Starkville last year that serves as a reminder of the nature of the rivalry as well as a motivating factor going into Wednesday's game.
"Last year, when we lost to them, they started having a party in their locker room," junior guard Martavious Newby said. "It's like the Super Bowl to them. We're trying not to let that happen again. We're trying to beat them, so they won't do the same thing they did last year."
The game also holds importance because, as Kennedy said, it's the next game and it's a home game, and Ole Miss looks to establish some consistency and stack wins together. The Rebels have a 5-4 record over their last nine games, alternating wins and losses since, having last won back-to-back games in late December.
After a 72-71 win over Florida, Ole Miss moved up to No. 46 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA. Looking ahead, the Rebels face three potential RPI landmines in their next four games, starting at home against Mississippi State (No. 210), followed by road games at Missouri (No. 162) and Auburn (No. 146).
Sandwiched between the road games at Missouri and Auburn, Ole Miss has an RPI quality win opportunity at home against Texas A&M (No. 31). Both teams were among ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi's "first four out" in his latest bracket released Monday, with Texas A&M as the third team out and Ole Miss as the fourth team out.
"We're playing well, but we just have to be consistent," sophomore forward Dwight Coleby said. "One game we'll look like the best team, and then we'll come back and be sluggish. If we can ever be consistent, we should be good."
After an up-and-down non-conference slate that included wins over Creighton, Cincinnati and Oregon, all away from home, and losses to Charleston Southern and Western Kentucky, both at home, Ole Miss learned a lot about itself in the first week of Southeastern Conference play.
In their league opener, the Rebels went on the road and pushed No. 1 Kentucky to overtime, and then four days later, cruised to a wire-to-wire 65-49 win over South Carolina. One of the keys, head coach Andy Kennedy said, has been finding the right combinations on the floor.
"With us, every player has a strength and a weakness," Kennedy said. "I'm trying to have combinations to cover ourselves. We're getting better at that."
For the Rebels, the right combinations start with their two leading scorers in junior guard Stefan Moody (14.8 ppg), the high-volume scorer, and the senior guard Jarvis Summers (14.4 ppg), the game-manager, who are learning how to play together in the backcourt.
"The biggest thing is Moody has more assertive, as opposed to watching Jarvis," Kennedy said. "He's becoming more assertive and, now he's helping Jarvis. A lot of times early in the season, we were ball-watching a lot. Everybody was watching Jarvis dribble around, and nobody knew how aggressive they needed to be. We're starting to figure that out."
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin, who saw the duo up close and personal this past Saturday, likened Moody to an NFL defensive back because of his freakish athletic ability and described Summers as "probably the least-heralded player in the SEC that's really good." Through two SEC games, Moody and Summers are averaging a combined 21.0 ppg and shooting a combined 49.0 percent from the floor.
"I thought the way they play, I have always felt that (Jarvis) Summers was the heartbeat of their team," LSU head coach Johnny Jones said. "As solid as he is, is the sense of urgency and toughness that he plays with, even when they had Marshall Henderson on the team.
"The different look right now is the newcomer (Stefan Moody) that they have that did take a lot of those (Henderson-type) shots and played so well against Kentucky the other night gives them the feel of Henderson. He's a very capable scorer that can make shots."
After 1-1 start in league play, the Rebels enter a key stretch, where they play three straight games against RPI top 45 opponents, starting with LSU (No. 45) on Wednesday night.
"These are two teams that everybody has in the tournament," said sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz of LSU and Arkansas (No. 13 in the latest RPI). "At the end of the day, they're going to be in the tournament. So to get both of them is going to be really good for us."
LSU is led by sophomore forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey, who are averaging a combined 32.7 ppg and pulling down a combined 19.2 rebounds per game. Martin ranks third in scoring (16.8 ppg) and third in rebounding (8.6 rpg), while Mickey ranks sixth in scoring (15.9 ppg), second in scoring (10.6 rig) and leads the league in blocked shots (3.6/game).
"The conservation with LSU starts with Martin and Mickey, two great players, and they have really taken a big leap forward as you expect from year one to year two," Kennedy said. "They're two guys who caused you a lot of matchup problems because of their size and versatility."
Last season, Kennedy said, their biggest deficiencies were rebounding margin, defensive rebounding percentage, and an inability to finish close to the basket, all areas where Ole Miss has improved from last year to this point in the season.
Against No. 1 Kentucky, the nation's longest team and the league's leader in rebounding margin, scoring defense, field goal percentage and blocked shots, Ole Miss was outrebounded just 34-32 and outscored the Wildcats 30-26 in the paint.
Led by Martin and Mickey, LSU provides another tough test for Ole Miss in each of those respective areas, as the Tigers rank fifth in the league in rebounding margin (+5.2/game) and second in blocked shots (6.3/game).
"Kentucky is the biggest team in college basketball and they would be the second-biggest team in the NBA, so if we can do that against Kentucky, we can do that against anybody else," said Saiz, who scored a career-high 20 points in last year's meeting with LSU."
Ole Miss looks to reverse history, as the Rebels (9-4) travel to No. 1 Kentucky tonight (6 p.m., SEC Network), the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
Ole Miss is 0-15 all-time against the nation's top ranked team, last playing No. 1 Kentucky in 2012. Kentucky is 102-13 all-time against Ole Miss, including 48-2 in games played in Lexington. The Rebels have one win all-time at Rupp Arena, coming in 1998.
"Excited to get the SEC schedule under way, and we obviously do it in grand fashion in Rupp Arena tomorrow night," said head coach Andy Kennedy on the SEC teleconference Monday. "So I know our guys will be excited about the opportunity, playing in the most storied venue in all of college basketball, against arguably the best team in college basketball. So I know our guys will be looking forward to the opportunity."
The Wildcats are a perfect 13-0, as they pursue the first undefeated season in college basketball since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers, a team that included Tom Abernathy, the father of Todd Abernethy, the coordinator of recruiting development and acting assistant coach.
By defeating Louisville by eight points, 58-50, Kentucky's school-record run of consecutive double-digits to begin the season ended at 12, a run that included double-digit wins over No. 5 Kansas, No. 25 Providence, No. 6 Texas and No. 18 North Carolina.
"Cal doesn't get the credit he deserves for the job he does," said South Carolina head coach Frank Martin on the SEC teleconference Monday. "I watched them the other day. They're magnificent. They're defending as well as any team in the country, and as well as any team I've seen in a long time."
Their defense, Kennedy said, is what gives gives them an opportunity an opportunity to undefeated this season. Kentucky leads the nation in scoring defense (47.8 ppg), field goal percentage defense (.297) and blocked shots (8.2/game). The Wildcats also lead the SEC and ranks seventh nationally in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.267).
"They're a special defensive team," Kennedy said. I've certainly watched them casually when I could throughout the course of the season, and then as we gear up for them in preparation. That is what gives them an opportunity to do what I know is a topic of conversation not only in Kentucky but throughout the country: Can this team go through the regular season undefeated?
"It'll be a monumental challenge, obviously, but defensively is the reason that I think it's a valid question, simply because they don't give you anything easy, and as a result teams have really struggled to score against them."
Because of their defense, along with their size and length, Kennedy has stressed the importance of making jump shots, and defensively, keeping them off the offensive glass. Kentucky leads the SEC and ranks ninth nationally in rebounding margin (+10.4/game), leading the league in both offensive rebounds (15.2/game) and offensive rebounding percentage (.460).
"We're going to have to make jump shots, which is not easy to do in any venue, much less Rupp," said Kennedy after the win over Austin Peay on Saturday. "Because of their length and ability to alter everything in the paint, you have to make jump shots. Defensively, you have to do an incredible job off the defensive glass. We've improved on our rebounding margin and guys are pursing the ball more consistently. If you allow them to live off the offensive glass, you have no chance."
Kentucky head coach John Calipari, looking at Ole Miss, stressed the importance of defending jump shots, particularly perimeter shots, noting that the Rebels' three leading scorers, all perimeter players -- junior Stefan Moody (13.9 ppg), senior Jarvis Summers (13.3 ppg) and LaDarius White (12.5 ppg) -- account for 52.6 percent of the team's scoring and 53.2 percent of the team's field goal attempts.
"Mississippi is going to shoot 25 threes in this game or maybe more," said Calipari in his media opportunity Monday. "If they make 20, then we lost our first game. They're shooting 25. Their three guards are their leading scorers and take more than 50 percent of their shots.
"They offensive rebound 13 or 14 per game. They're going to play a zone where they're changing defenses. It could confuse us. If they're making shots, then we have to try to drive them off the 3-point line. When you're playing teams that are willing to shoot that many, you just don't know."
SEC Appears Stronger Entering Start of League Play
Looking at the SEC as a whole, all metrics point to a stronger league from top to bottom and perhaps more NCAA Tournament bids for a league that received just three bids last season. And it starts with Kentucky's dominance at the top.
"Kentucky has sort of separated themselves in the nonconference from the rest of the world, not only in our league, but from everybody else's league as well," said Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings on the SEC teleconference Monday. "Our league is deep and I think the conference season will be an absolute grind because there are so many teams that are probably competitive and equal enough that a lot of teams can win on any given night."
The SEC is one of four conferences with five teams in the RPI top 50 and one of three leagues with 10 teams in the RPI top 100. The SEC also has five teams in the top 50 and 11 teams in the top 100, according to KenPom.com. Ole Miss is rated No. 93 and No. 67 in the two metrics, respectively.
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi released his first full bracket of the season, and it included five SEC teams, and in his conference-by-conference forecast, he forecasts four teams from the SEC to receive an NCAA Tournament bid.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 10-16, 2014
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team opened up the 2014-15 season with two wins over the weekend. The Rebels took down Grambling 92-67 in the season opener on Friday and followed that up with a 91-38 win over Mississippi Valley State on Sunday. Ole Miss is 2-0 for the first time under Insell and the first time since it opened 5-0 in 2012-13.
- Tia Faleru became Ole Miss' 26th 1,000-point scorer with 19 points in the victory over Mississippi Valley. She is the first 1,000-point scorer since Valencia McFarland hit the mark as a junior in 2012-13. Faleru is sitting at 1,001 career points.
- Ole Miss had 5,696 fans on hand to see it open the season at its annual School Kids game on Friday. The 5,696 fans were the second most to see an Ole Miss women's basketball game and just 175 fans shy of the largest crowd ever to see an Ole Miss women's basketball game.
- For the first time in Ole Miss cross country history, the Rebels claimed the South Region Championship to earn a berth in the NCAA Championship. The Rebels' 54 points was 42 points better than runner-up No. 21 Florida State in a decisive victory.
- Junior Wesley Gallagher (30:18.60) led the South champions in the 10K event, good for third overall. Freshman Sean Tobin (30:19.30) and sophomore Robert Domanic (30:20.00) finished right on his heels in fourth and fifth, respectively.
- Sophomore Trevor Gilley (30:58.30) clocked the 19th overall time, and freshman Taylor Caldwell (31:02.00) finished 24th overall to round out the Rebels' five scoring times. Mark Robertson's (31:14.50) 29th finish, while not scoring for Ole Miss, was better than every other team's fourth-place finisher.
- Gallagher, Tobin, Domanic, Gilley and Caldwell all earned All-Region honors. Last season, Domanic was the only All-Region selection for the Rebels.
- The three top-five finishers match the previous program total of top-five regional finishes all-time. Barnabas Kirui finished first in 2006 and second in 2009, and Bernard Kuria was fourth in 1997.
- The Rebels surged to first in the region after finishing ninth last year. The Rebels had finished no better than seventh since 2005 at regionals.
- The Ole Miss women finished 13th out of 29 teams at the regional, led by Margaret Harkness at 55th overall. The finish concludes the season for the young squad.
- Ole Miss dropped its season opener 66-65 in overtime to Charleston Southern on Friday.
- It marked the first loss in a season opener for the Rebels under Andy Kennedy and the first since 2003.
- Junior Martavious Newby led the Rebels with 14 points, one off his career high, on 4-of-5 shooting from the field including a couple of 3-pointers.
- Ole Miss dropped a pair of matches this past weekend, falling to No. 15 Kentucky 3-1 at home, and then losing at Missouri 3-2. The Rebels won the first set in both matches. Against Missouri, the Rebels led 2-1 and it was tied 24-24 in the fourth set before the Tigers won three of the final four points to extend it to a fifth set.
- The Rebels are now 2-2 in five-setters this year.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson led the Rebels against Kentucky with 21 kills.
- At Missouri, junior Ty Laporte recorded a career-high 23 kills, while senior Marie-Pierre Bakima notched a career-best 23 digs.
- Junior middle blocker Nakeyta Clair needs just seven kills this coming weekend to set the Ole Miss single season record in the rally scoring era.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Nov. 3-9, 2014
- Ole Miss took a break from the rugged Southeastern Conference and earned a 48-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Saturday.
- It was the Rebels' first shutout since beating Tulane 39-0 in 2012.
- The Rebels matched last year's win total of eight. They are 8-2 for the first time since 2003.
- Ole Miss dominated every facet of the game, out-gaining the Blue Hose in total yards (640-156), rushing yards (402-89), passing yards (238-67) and first downs (22-10).
- He only played the first half, but senior quarterback Bo Wallace accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing) and inched closer to Eli Manning's school record for career total yards. Wallace now needs only 111 yards to eclipse Manning and move into the top 10 in the all-time SEC record book.
- Backup running backs Jordan Wilkins (171 yards, one touchdown) and Mark Dodson (128 yards, two touchdowns) both had career-best days. Combined, they had four runs of 50+ yards.
- The Rebel defense did not allow Presbyterian to reach the red zone all day and racked up a season high-tying 12 tackles for loss.
- Ole Miss went on a 30-4 run over a 9:57 stretch in the first half, turning a 14-11 deficit into a 41-18 lead on the way to a resounding 97-58 win in its lone exhibition game of the 2014-15 season.
- Senior Jarvis Summers lead the team in scoring with 16 points, while a trio of newcomers in Stefan Moody (14 points), Roderick Lawrence (14 points) and Terence Smith (10 points) all posted double figures. Sophomore forward Sebastian Saiz led all players with 14 rebounds.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team cruised to a 111-43 exhibition win over Christian Brothers University on Friday.
- Freshman Toree Thompson led the way with 25 points and nine assists while Kelsey Briggs, Tia Faleru and Bretta Hart combined for 22 rebounds in the win.
- Each of Ole Miss' six freshmen scored in the contest and each of the 13 players who played earned a spot on the stat sheet.
- Ole Miss went 1-1 last week, defeating Mississippi State 3-1 and losing to Texas A&M 3-1, both on the road.
With the win at Mississippi State, the Rebels have reached 20 wins for
the first time since the 2007 season, when they finished 25-8. The
Rebels swept the season series with MSU and have now won four straight
and six of the last seven meetings.
- Head coach Steven McRoberts now has 16 20-win seasons in 18 years as a head coach.
Junior Nakeyta Clair hit .492 on the week, averaging 4.38 kills per
set. She has now hit above .300 in 21 of 26 matches, including 14 above
.400. With five blocks on the week, Clair became the second player in
school history in the rally scoring era to reach 300 career blocks.
Sophomore setter Aubrey Edie recorded a career-high 62 assists against
Mississippi State to set the single match record in the rally scoring
era and then set the single season record Sunday at Texas A&M with
53 assists. She now has 1,037 assists to date this year and needs 14 to
notch 2,000 for her career.
- Freshman Lexi Thompson posted
back-to-back double-doubles and now has seven for the season. She
averaged 3.38 kills and 4.38 digs per set for the week.
- Senior Julia Jones competed in the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships and went 2-2 , including defeating the No. 50 ranked player in the nation and the No. 1 ranked player in Division II.
- Jones finished the fall with a 10-3 record including the USTA/ITA Southern Regional Singles title.
- Men's Tennis wrapped up the fall last week at the USTA Futures in Birmingham and at the Commodore Classic in Nashville.
- Four players reached the final round of qualifying at the USTA Futures, while Stefan Lindmark and Gustav Hansson qualified for the main draw, with Lindmark advancing to the second round.
- At the Commodore Classic, the Rebels earned 16 wins in singles and doubles.
- Senior Blake Morris fired an impressive, career-low, single round 7-under 65 to lead the Ole Miss men's golf team on the final day of the Warrior Princeville Makai Invitational.
- Morris carded seven birdies, including four in a six-hole stretch, en route to a season-high seventh-place finish, posting a three-round score of 13-under, 203.
- As a team, the Rebels finished in fourth with a three-round score of 31-under, 833, tying their season-best finish as a team.
- After posting a career-low single round score in the second round, sophomore Noah West carded a career-low tournament score of 8-under, 208, and tied for 15th-place.
- Ole Miss women's golf concluded its fall slate at the Jim West Challenge.
- The Rebels placed 10th with a score of 928. Alison Hovatter and Stani Schiavone led the Ole Miss contingent, finishing 22nd with 54-hole scores of 230.
- Ole Miss played one of its better rounds this fall in the final round with a 305, which is the sixth best round for the Rebels during the fall.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2014
- Ole Miss outscored then-No. 1 Alabama 20-3 in the second half Saturday en route to a thrilling 23-17 victory over the Crimson Tide. It was the Rebels' first win over a top-ranked opponent in program history.
- Senior quarterback Bo Wallace went 18-31 for 251 yards, three touchdowns and no turnovers. Wallace finished the game by completing each of his final three pass attempts for 57 yards and two touchdowns. The win was the Rebels' first over Alabama since 2003 when Eli Manning was the Ole Miss quarterback.
- Despite Alabama entering the game averaging 42.0 points, the Ole Miss defense held the Crimson Tide to just 10 points. The Rebels also held Alabama to 3.8 yards per carry, which is nearly two yards fewer than its season average.
- Senior cornerback Senquez Golson sealed the game with an interception with 37 seconds remaining in the back of the Ole Miss end zone. Ole Miss has forced a turnover in 28 straight games, which ranks among the top five streaks nationally.
- The Rebels are 5-0 for the first time since 1962. Ole Miss is also 2-0 in Southeastern Conference play.
- The Rebels posted a fourth undefeated weekend after playing Auburn to a 2-2 draw and posting the shutout victory over Alabama this past weekend.
- Senior goalkeeper Kelly McCormick tied for first on the all-time shutout list at Ole Miss with a 1-0 victory at Alabama on Sunday. McCormick has 21 shutout wins for her career.
- Ole Miss will now have a bye week after moving the match with Georgia to the season-opener for the SEC Network, and return to action in two weeks with road matches at Kentucky and South Carolina.
- Jennifer Miller scored her second goal of the season, hitting the game-winner in the 1-0 victory at Alabama to extend the Rebels' win streak over the Crimson Tide to four matches.
- Ole Miss downed defending SEC Champion Missouri 3-0 in its only match of the week, snapping the Tigers' 20-match SEC win streak dating back to Nov. 23, 2012. The Rebels improved to 3-0 against Missouri in Oxford.
- Junior Nakeyta Clair posted a team-high 14 kills and hit .500 to lead the offensive attack, also adding three blocks defensively. Clair ranks second in the SEC in hitting percentage at .425.
- Freshman Taylor Alexander, in just her third start, posted a career-high eight blocks to lead the defensive effort. She had four blocks in the second set to help the Rebels erase a 22-16 deficit and win the set 25-23. For her efforts, Alexander was named the SEC Freshman of the Week.
- With the win, the Rebels improved to 8-0 at home this season.
- Head coach Steven McRoberts earned his 490th career win in the victory over Missouri.
- The Rebels rank second in the SEC in hitting percentage (.271), second in opponent hitting percentage (.167), third in assists per set (12.61), fourth in kills per set (13.54) and fourth in blocks per set (2.47).
- Ole Miss hosted its second annual "Shoot Pink" match Saturday as part of the Ole Miss Invitational. The Rebels posted a 4603 aggregate score with a 2336 in air rifle to finish sixth overall.
- The Rebels were paced by two freshmen. Jessica Haig fired a 588, while Nadia Hata posted a 586 in air rifle. Sophomore Alison Weisz shot a 583 in air rifle.
- In smallbore, the Rebels were led by freshman Shelby Sandstrom, who turned in a 569.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team placed three players in the top 20 of a tournament for the first time since 2012.
- Seniors Joe Lewis and Blake Morris, and sophomore Noah West help propel the Rebels to a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Shoal Creek Invitational.
- With first-year head coach Chris Malloy at the helm, Ole Miss has finished in the top five in two of its three tournaments this season.
Cross Country - Men's Team
- The Ole Miss men's cross country team, ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA South Region, finished second in the Greater Louisville Classic on Saturday. The finish was above 12 other regionally ranked teams and all four other SEC teams competing.
- Junior Wes Gallagher led Ole Miss in his first event as a Rebel. The Northeastern transfer clocked a time of 24:00.74 in the 8K, good for seventh overall. The Rebels placed six runners in the top 33.
- Gallagher, Robert Domanic, Sean Tobin, Daniel Bulmer, Taylor Caldwell and Mark Shaw all made their first appearance of the season in the strong performance for the Rebels.
Cross Country - Women's Team
- The Ole Miss women placed 17th overall in the 5K race. Freshman Shelby Brown turned in a time of 18:10.51 to pace the Rebels. Brown has improved on her 5K time in each race this season. She's shaved 38.82 seconds from her opening meet time.
- Ole Miss raced a young squad at the meet. The nine Rebels competing included six freshmen and two sophomores.
- The women's basketball team officially opened the 2014-15 season with its first practice on Sunday, Oct. 5 inside the Tuohy Center.
- The Rebels will open the regular season campaign Nov. 14 when they host Grambling for the 12th annual School Kids game at 11 a.m.
- The men's basketball team officially opened the 2014-15 season with its first practice Friday, Oct. 3 inside the Tuohy Center.
- The Rebels open their season Nov. 14 with a home game against Charleston Southern at 6:00 p.m.
Gaining experience and building chemistry were two big talking points for the Ole Miss men's basketball team coming out of its Bahamian exhibition tour in August. The practices leading up to and including the games in the Bahamas are already paying dividends, as the Rebels began preseason practice Friday.
"We're so far ahead based on what we had the opportunity to experience in the Bahamas," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We have been with this team for 10 practices in July and August, and then we had two games in the Bahamas, so I feel much further along with this group.
"That, and and this is the most-experienced team I have coached at Ole Miss, where nine of our 13 scholarship players are upperclassmen. I'm pleased with where we are and the prospects of this team."
With the departure of Marshall Henderson, senior Jarvis Summers, an All-SEC second team selection and the SEC's second-leading returning scorer, is looking to lead and be more vocal on a veteran-laden team with nine upperclassmen.
"I want him to be a leader and I want him to be steady," Kennedy said. "He has showed he is capable of those things. He had a great junior year. He's an all-league level player. For the first time, he realizes this is his team. We will go as far as he carries us, and he has accepted that challenge.
"Last year, a lot of the focus was on Marshall, and Jarvis did a great job of playing off of that. This year, he will be the focus. It will be a new role for him, and he will have to adjust accordingly."
Summers himself said it's everyone's responsibility to lead and take ownership of the team.
"I feel like everyone has to play a role," Summers said. "I know I played the most minutes and I'm the player from last year that got things going, but we're one, and we have to lead together."
Among the nine upperclassmen are two graduate transfers in Terence Smith and M.J. Rhett and two junior college transfers in Stefan Moody and Roderick Lawrence. Moody and Smith, Kennedy said, will help Summers with ball-handling responsibilities in the backcourt.
"With our two post-grad transfers, you're getting a mature kid who's been in game action before," Kennedy said. "And they're hungry because they never really experienced much team success. Stefan Moody and Rod Lawrence have really helped us from an athleticism and versatility standpoint."
It's a big weekend on campus with the first-ever visit of ESPN's College GameDay and the SEC West Showdown between No. 1 Alabama and No. 11 Ole Miss in football, and it only benefits the other programs, Kennedy said, including men's basketball.
"Everybody's under the brand of Ole Miss," Kennedy said. "We're all on the same team, whether you're a basketball player, a football player or a volleyball player. We're all Ole Miss. Anything that can raise that profile is awesome. What Hugh (Freeze) has been able to do, getting College GameDay here and the excitement it brings and the platform it presents, we're all excited about it."
The Ole Miss men's basketball team wrapped up its Bahamian exhibition tour with a perfect 2-0 record. Head coach Andy Kennedy recapped the trip, talked about the chemistry, depth and experience of a new-look roster heading into the fall. The Rebels will open the 2014-15 season at home Nov. 14 against Charleston Southern.
Below are the highlights from Tuesday's media opportunity:
On what he learned about the team from the trip to the Bahamas:
I learned a lot. We had 10 practices here. We were over there for five days and we got two games. I treated it like an exhibition in that you obviously want to win, but I played all 12 guys. Terry Brutus is not healthy enough yet. He hasn't been cleared for full contact. Hopefully, he will be by the end of August or early September.
Our 12 scholarship guys who were healthy and eligible to play all averaged double-figure minutes. I had seven of those guys average 18-plus minutes, three of which were new guys. It was very beneficial to see us in game action. We were able to put in some offensive and defensive stuff that we feel like we can build on and tweak. It was good for us.
The depth and experience of this group is probably as good as I have had. We have five seniors, three of which have matriculated through our system in Jarvis (Summer), Snoop (White) and AJ (Aaron Jones). We have two fifth-year guys in Terence Smith and M.J. Rhett, two experienced, focused guys.
We then bring back a Martavious Newby and Anthony Perez who are now juniors. You guys have heard me say a bunch that when a kid becomes a junior, that is who he is.
You then add two junior college kids in Stefan Moody and Rod Lawrence, two guys who have started at the Division I level. And then you have Sebas(tian Saiz) and (Dwight) Coleby, two guys who were thrown in the fire as freshmen and you look to take that next step, and they have done so. And then you add a freshman in Marcanvis Hymon.
You have a bunch of upperclassmen who have been through this before. Trying to mix and match and see what we have as a group was very educational to me. When we start back at the end of August, early September, this experience will give us a head start in preparing for the season.
On establishing chemistry:
It's really important. I'll be going into my 10th year as a head coach. I'm not smart enough to know how to push all the buttons so that the chemistry aligns. It has to evolve and it has to be owned by the team.
That's really the biggest thing that I have challenged this group with, especially the seniors. M.J. and Terence, they're new to the situation, but they don't have time to feel your way through it. I want them to attack it with a sense of urgency that last year guys didn't play with.
Snoop, Jarvis and AJ have all been good players in this program and all have been vital parts of us having some success. This is it. This is the last go-around, and I want them to own it. This gave us an opportunity to put that in play early.
On the roster:
I felt like last year, the difference in winning 27 games and advancing to the NCAA Tournament to winning 19 games and not going to the postseason were evident to me. We needed to get more athletic. We needed to get stronger on our frontline. We had a rebounding deficiency that we weren't able to overcome. We weren't as proficient as we needed to be in a number of different areas.
Bringing in the two fifth-year guys and bringing in the two JUCO guys, we filled some of those voids. We return seven of our top eight, with Marshall (Henderson) being the lone ranger who was obviously pivotal in what we have been the last two years.
But the core of our team is back. You add a Stefan Moody who will have a Marshall-like impact honestly. I'm not sure from a sensational standpoint, but here's a kid who is a terrific player and brings a wow factor from an athleticism standpoint that's going to give us some pop in that void that Marshall left with volume shooting and volume scoring. Rod Lawrence is a very solid piece. I tell him all the time, he needs to be our (Manu) Ginobili, a guy who can help us in a lot of different ways, and that's what he does. He's athletic, he's energetic, he's a great defender, he can do this and he can do that.
And then you bring in two fifth-year guys. Terence Smith scored 1,300 points and started a bunch of games. He's been through college basketball and he's been through it at the level that he's never experienced this. He's excited about this, being in the SEC and having that opportunity. And the same for M.J. Rhett. He was eighth in the nation in double-doubles and led a league in rebounding. He has never experienced this. He has never experienced the NCAA Tournament, so those guys are hungry for that.
It's been a good edition based on what we have been able to bring in and what we have coming back. I feel pretty good about our core.
On the new players:
I wanted to throw them into some adversity. In our first game, we allowed it to affect us a little bit. We were looking around at what was going on, and it was good for us in game two when the same thing happened against a better team. Yet, we battled through it. We didn't give in. That was a valuable lesson and something that I will be able to use throughout the course of the season. Those new guys were a valuable part of that, seeing how we reacted to adversity and see how we deal with being in unusual circumstances.
On Jarvis Summers:
He's the most experienced and most productive returning player in the SEC. He has a chance, with a senior year on par with his junior year, to go down historically as one of the best players in the history of our program. He's very focused and very confident. Physically, he's probably in the best shape of his life. Jarvis came here at about 170 pounds, and he's about 190-195 pounds now. He's stronger and he's always had to be a physical guard. Last year, what he was able to accomplish has done wonders for his confidence. He knows this is his team, and he's leading that accordingly.
On the impact of Sebastian Saiz's international experience:
Last year, he was all arms and legs. He was gangly and he got knocked off his spot. He's gotten stronger and his base has gotten stronger, so he's not as easily moved. He played about 21.5 minutes a game, and he was our most productive big. He averaged close to a double-double (with) 11.5 (points) and 9.5 (rebounds). Some of that was because he was more familiar with international rules, like live ball off the rim, and he took advantage of a lot of that.
He's active. He's confident. He's always played with a motor. For him, it's a matter of figuring out the size and speed at this level and getting stronger. With him having been in the program for a year, you can see him physically stronger.
Dwight Coleby, as well. ... He's another one that I think you're going to see huge improvement in his physical conditioning and the way his body has reshaped. He's a big kid, both of those kids with Sebas at 6-(foot)-9, about 235-238 (pounds) and Dwight at 6-(foot)-9, about 245 (pounds).
You add a M.J. Rhett, who's about 6-(foot)-9, 245 (pounds). AJ, I remember the goal for us was to consistently keep him in the 210s, between 212-218 pounds. Now, he's in the high 220s to about 230. He's matured physically going into his senior year.
Hopefully we can get (Terry) Brutus back healthy. It's been a while -- last September -- since he played, when he tore the ACL. He's anxious to get back. Before the year, he was vital in us making that run, when we had Bear's (Demarco Cox's) injury, and he became that third post (player). You could always count on him. His quickness is somewhat Murph-like (Murphy Holloway-like). His skill isn't yet, but his quickness and ability to make plays.
You guys are going to really like Marcanvis Hymon. It was great to see him in game play. He has a natural feel and natural ability to find the ball, much like Murph did. I'm really excited about our frontline. That's six guys, not even counting Anthony (Perez), who can still slide down some in that spot. The competition is going to be great for us, and that's what's going to leads us to become a better team.
On Marcanvis Hymon:
He's a face four. He will play all his time at that four-spot until he evolves. He's only about 6-(foot)-7. He's long, he's a quick jumper, and he's athletic. He's a lot like Murph. He has a natural ability, and the ball finds him. He can shoot it out to about 15-18 (feet). Terrance (Henry) evolved into a 3-point shooter, and (Hymon) will in time. He played all post in high school. He's raw, but he's athletic, he's quick, and he did some really positive things.
On the team's depth:
When you talk about experience, with Jarvis as the most experienced guy in the SEC, Snoop who's been through it and we hope that he can take that next step, AJ who was coming as a sophomore. This time last year, he was walking around on crutches, and then I throw him into a starting role. It had mixed reviews, but now he's had a year. He's healthier and he's bouncy again as a senior, with a sense of urgency.
You bring in two fifth-year guys who have been tremendous assets to us. Terence Smith, I knew from watching him that he was an open shooter, but he's a lot like Jarvis. He's a very efficient guy. He's solid, much more athletic than I thought. He's an angled defender. He always made open shots for us. I'm playing him at some backup point and he did a great job. All his turnovers were bad-rule turnovers -- backcourt violations that aren't backcourts for us and traveling that not's traveling for us -- and he's very steady with the ball. It allows me to play Moody with the ball and without the ball. Moody is a guy who can play a little bit everywhere. He averaged 16 (points) a game at the Division I level.
We added some pieces, along with Anthony (Perez), who went from a freshman who didn't play very much to a sophomore who helped us to win games, and Newby, who broke his hand and came back at end when we were playing a little better and evolved into a starter. All of those guys have been there and gained some experience and now they know through this trip what's expected of them moving forward. I'm excited about what I see and where we are.
On the third assistant coach position:
It's kind of on the back burner. I'm still going through due diligence. You guys are pretty smart and you realize what I'm doing, and if it evolves like I want it to. ... The positive and the reason I don't have a huge sense of urgency is because of Todd (Abernethy). I brought Todd in here to a position (Coordinator of Recruiting Development) that men's basketball had never had before. I credit Ross (Bjork) and the administration for having the foresight to empower me to have the position, so we created a non-coaching, recruiting development, off-the-floor position.
When this transpired, I moved him up and allowed him to recruit to give us another body. He has done a great job for us and has gotten us involved with some really good players that he's a point guy for. He was great on the floor and it adds to his credibility with the guys, if and when that spot gets changed.
They will view him differently because here's a guy who jsut finished a professional basketball career, he was an All-SEC player, and he can still play. He's out there and he's interacting with them, which has helped his relationships and helped him get to know the guys.
That's another advantage of the trip. We had a lot more interaction for him and Tony (Madlock). They are now much further ahead in their relationships with the players than they would be before because of the experience. All of that has been helpful.
(Todd's) a natural coach. He will be a coach, sooner rather than later. He's like me and he's like everybody else, you get in where you get in and you try to move your way up. He's had a great opportunity and he's taken advantage of it. It's opened my eyes to the fact that he's a valuable piece to us, so I don't feel like I have to name somebody tomorrow because we're understaffed. We're really not.
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy talks about the addition of assistant coach Tony Madlock and the new-look roster for the upcoming season, among other topics, on the SEC Summer Men's Basketball Coaches Media Teleconference Monday. Here are the highlights:
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy (starts at 1:24:00 mark)
It's been a productive summer so far. We have had all our guys on campus, which has allowed us to get to know them a little bit better, especially the five incoming guys, and I have been excited about what I have seen so far.
On filling out his coaching staff:
I still have a spot open. I'm really in no rush to fill that in as it is. My focus has been on this group. Now that the NCAA has allowed us to have our hands on the guys during the summer, it's been great for me to get to know these new guys and see our returners continue to mature and grow as they get more experience in the program.
Tony (Madlock) has been a tremendous addition. He's a Memphian. He played at Memphis, grew up in the area, and he is certainly very, very familiar with the SEC, having been with Tony (Barbee) the last four years at Auburn. He's been great. He's brought a new focus and a new energy, and I'm really pleased to have him as part of our staff.
On the 13-player scholarship limit:
We're going to be there in August. Derrick Millinghaus has transferred to Southeastern Louisiana. Demarco Cox is trying to finish up his degree this summer, so that he can enroll at Georgia Tech in the fall. Janari Joesaar has left and he has signed with Texas-Pan American. Jerron Martin has left, and my belief is that he has intended to go to a junior college as opposed to sitting out. As all those numbers line up, we'll be at our 13 when we need to be in the fall.
On the newcomers, including two post-graduate transfers and two junior college transfers:
It's really a different dynamic. I have never done this before. We brought in two fifth-year guys in Terence Smith from UT-Martin and M.J. Rhett from Tennessee State. That, coupled with the three returning seniors who have matriculated through our system in Jarvis, Snoop and AJ, gives us five seniors.
And when you talk about Anthony Perez and Martavious Newby, who are going to be juniors this year, along with Terry Brutus, who is in his third year, even though he will be a redshirt sophomore because he's coming off an ACL injury last year, and you couple that with Stefan Moody from Kilgore and Rod Lawrence from South Plains, 10 of our 13 guys will be juniors or seniors in the program. From an experience standpoint, we have never been as experienced. With that, we hope comes a real focus and sense of urgency that you like to see out of upperclassmen.
On the trip to the Bahamas and how it might impact things next season:
First and foremost, I'm looking want to work on my tan... I'm hoping to look a little healthier. Now that we can practice guys in the summer, a lot of the allure of having a foreign trip and having the 10 days to practice isn't quite as important as it once was but I am looking forward a chance to put together a semblance of a team so that we can go over and play some outside competition with the new guys that I'm anticipating making a huge impact on our program. It will give get a chance to see what they're able to do and start formulating an identity as it relates to how we want to play.
I don't know if (the quality of competition) is that important for us. More than anything, it's integrating the new guys and making sure older guys understand their roles. It's a matter of putting a team together and seeing how we can formulate our identity.
Ole Miss athletics director Ross Bjork and Ole Miss Athletics Foundation executive director Keith Carter announced Monday that the Forward Together Campaign has reached $110 million in cash and pledges. The total campaign goal is $150 million. Below are three new videos of interest. Fans can also live video feed of the ongoing construction, as well as a photo gallery displaying the renovations and expansion of the Manning Center.
Forward Together: Trailer from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
Forward Together: Arena Fly-Through from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
Forward Together: We Are Ole Miss from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
For more information about the Forward Together Campaign, and to receive information about how you can contribute, go to ForwardTogetherRebels.com or call the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation at 662-915-7159.
Football, men's basketball and women's basketball hype videos for the 2013-14 season.
Studio 18 Live - March 19, 2014 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
Athletics Director Ross Bjork recaps the 2013-14 men's and women's basketball seasons and shares his thoughts on Auburn hiring Bruce Pearl as men's basketball coach.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 10-16, 2014
Track & Field
- Ole Miss finished tied for 24th in the final men's team standings at the 2014 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
- It was the second straight top-25 NCAA indoor finish and third straight top-25 NCAA finish overall for head coach Brian O'Neal's men. The Rebels placed 23rd at last year's indoor meet and a program-best eighth at last year's outdoor championships.
- Junior Sam Kendricks finished runner-up in the pole vault at the conclusion of a world-class duel between the top American and top Canadian vaulter, Akron's Shawn Barber.
- Kendricks matched his own school record and the best mark by an American this year at 18-8.25, but Barber was one bar better at 18-10.25 (a new Canadian national record).
- Freshman Jalen Miller advanced to the final of the 60-meter dash, where he placed eighth to score one team point for the Rebels. He's the first Ole Miss men's freshman to score points in the 60 at the NCAA indoor meet since teammate Mike Granger in 2010.
- The Rebels begin outdoor season this week when they host the Ole Miss Open on Saturday at the Ole Miss Track & Field Complex. Admission is free.
- The Rebels went 3-2 in week-five action, taking both games at Southeastern Louisiana before dropping the series at top-ranked South Carolina.
- Auston Bousfield hit the first grand slam of his career to push the Rebels to a 6-4 win at No. 1 South Carolina in the series opener Friday.
- Ole Miss returns home from a five-game road trip to host Arkansas State and Missouri this week at Swayze Field.
- Ole Miss knocked off Mississippi State 78-66 in the second round of the SEC Tournament Thursday before falling to Georgia 75-73 in the quarterfinals on Friday.
- Senior Marshall Henderson and junior Jarvis Summers each scored 21 points as the Rebels rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit to beat Mississippi State. Henderson hit seven 3-pointers on an SEC Tournament record 19 attempts in the game.
- Henderson and Summers combined for 45 points, but the Rebels fell to Georgia 75-73 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals.
- Henderson finished his Ole Miss career with a 3-pointer in an SEC record 66-straight games and ranks third on the Rebel career list with 267 3-pointers.
- The Rebels split their weekend matches, downing No. 23 Vanderbilt 4-1 and then falling in a close match to No. 15 Kentucky 4-1, to conclude their four-match SEC road trip 2-2.
- Nik Scholtz rallied to knock off the nation's No. 10 ranked player, Tom Jomby, of Kentucky, handing the Wildcat just his second loss of the season. It marked the first ever meeting between the two players. Scholtz was also leading 16th-ranked Gonzales Austin of Vanderbilt when play was stopped after the Rebels clinched the match. Scholtz is 4-0 at No. 1 singles with six unfinished matches on the season.
- Freshman Ricardo Jorge won his match against Vanderbilt at No. 5 singles in straight sets to set up his teammate's match-clinching win. Jorge improved to 4-1 at No. 5 singles.
- The Rebels begin a five-match home stand Wednesday, hosting No. 5 Southern California at 2 p.m. at the Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center.
- The Rebels went 2-1 last week, downing VCU 6-1, falling in a very close match to No. 11 Vanderbilt 4-3 and then defeating No. 24 Kentucky 4-2 to end the week. The Rebels (8-5, 2-4 SEC) have now won six-straight against Kentucky.
- Freshman Zalina Khairudinova picked up two ranked wins last week, beating 73rd-ranked Cindy Chala of VCU and 63rd-ranked Georgina Sellyn of Vanderbilt. Khairudinova also won in straight sets Sunday to clinch the win against Kentucky. She improved to 5-3 at No. 1 singles.
- Khairudinova and junior Julia Jones improved to 12-3 overall in doubles, 9-3 at No. 3.
- Sophomore Mai El Kamash became the first 20-match winner of the season, with her comeback win at No. 4 singles against Kentucky.
- Freshman Alison Weisz shot a 587 to finish 16th in air rifle in her first ever NCAA Championships.
- She ended the year with a team-leading 586.5 average in air rifle, including a career-best 594 at Memphis, one off the school record. She averaged 589.7 in her last eight matches.
- Weisz became the first freshman in the history of the program to qualify for the NCAA Championships as well as earn all-conference honors.
- Ole Miss opened with a midweek, road doubleheader at ULM and closed it out with a tough three-game series at home against No. 9 Alabama, finishing 1-4 for the week.
- Redshirt-freshman second baseman Alyssa Invergo led Ole Miss at the plate throughout the week with a team-high seven hits, highlighted by a double, a pair of home runs, a team-high six runs and a team-high tying four RBI.
- After dropping the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader at ULM, Ole Miss rebounded in a big way to dispatch the Warhawks 11-1 in five innings, including 10 runs in the final three innings of the game.
- Ole Miss will remain in Oxford this week when it hosts Louisiana Tech on Wednesday, followed by a three-game series against Arkansas beginning Friday. The Rebels and Razorbacks' game Sunday will be featured on Fox Sports at 3 p.m. CT.
- The Ole Miss women's golf team picked up its first top-five finish of the spring, taking fourth at the 2014 Clover Cup in Mesa, Ariz. Sophomore Abby Newton led Ole Miss carding a three-day score of 221 (76-72-72--221). The Rebels' top-five finish was their first since taking runner-up honors at the Tar Heel Invitational last fall.
- The Rebels had two eagles on the weekend. Juniors Stani Schiavone and Taelor Rubin both carded eagles on the weekend. The pair both nailed eagles on No. 15 at the Longbow Golf Course in Mesa, Ariz.
- Ole Miss hits the links in Maui, Hawaii, next week. The Rebels will play Kapalua Bay at the Anuenue Spring Break Classic hosted by Hawaii. Ole Miss will then return home to host the 2014 Rebel Intercollegiate at the Ole Miss Golf Course April 4-6.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team competed at the Chris Schenkel Invitational hosted by Georgia Southern University at the Forrest Heights Country Club in Statesboro, Ga.
- Junior Blake Morris led the team with a three-round score of even-par 216. Morris finished in a tie for 15th place, marking his sixth top-20 finish of the season.
- As a team, Ole Miss placed eighth, finishing ahead of SEC-foes No. 28 Kentucky and Florida.
- The Rebels will return to action April 7 at the Old Waverly Collegiate Championship in West Point, Miss.
Georgia took a 74-73 lead with 17 seconds left on a lay-up from sophomore guard Charles Mann after two offensive rebounds.
On each of its last two possessions, Ole Miss went to their main options, senior guard Marshall Henderson and junior guard Jarvis Summers, but both of their 3-point attempts were off the mark, as the Bulldogs held on for the 75-73 win in quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament Friday.
Summers led all scorers with 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor and 6-of-10 from the free throw line. Henderson was second with 19 points but was just 5-of-21 from the floor and 2-of-16 from 3-point range.
"It was hard," said a visibly emotional Henderson after the loss. "There are so many thoughts running through my head about everything that it took to get to here, and then to go out like that, it's crushing in my heart because I wanted it so bad for everyone. Coach (Kennedy) talked about effort. The effort was good, but I take the blame for all that. It hurts."
"It's disappointing," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "He feels like he let us down. You have to dance with who brought you. We are who we are. We couldn't automatically then go to the other option. We went with our options. For us to be in the game when you shoot 2-of-25 (from 3-point range) is a testament to our grit and fortitude. We were one rebound away from maybe not having to depend on making a shot at the end. We couldn't secure a rebound. They had three opportunities, and their point guard chased down the ball and put them in the lead. We had the two guys that we wanted shooting our last two shots. It just didn't go."
The Rebels, 19-14 overall, must now await their postseason fate. Kennedy said he thinks there's a chance of receiving an NIT bid on Sunday, but that's far from certain.
"I think you saw, Marshall would want to go out on a different note," Kennedy said. I know that he would be excited to play. He likes to play. Jarvis Summers, if I asked him to, would go out and play again tonight. He's going to do whatever you ask him to do. We have a young, young front line. Every rep that we can get Dwight Coleby, Sebastian Saiz, Anthony Perez, that would be an added bonus."
If this is the end for Henderson and the Rebels this season, the senior from Hurst, Texas leaves behind a decorated two-year career in the Red and Blue that included Most Valuable Player of last year's SEC Tournament, as he helped lead Ole Miss on a run through the field to the program's first NCAA Tournament berth since 2002.
None of that, however, was on Henderson's mind after what might have been his last collegiate game.
"I don't know," he said of his legacy. "I'm not really concern about that right now. I'm just thinking about this loss."
"I talk about his energy and passion coming from a good place," Kennedy added. "You can see that. You don't see many 23-year-olds crying anymore. That's not cool. He wears his emotions on his sleeves. Sometimes those are misinterpreted and sometimes he steps over the line. I appreciate that he owns it. He is what he is."
Henderson was later asked about his future, and he answered that he plans to finish his degree, and as far as where basketball will take him, he said he's going to get in there and work and see whatever happens, happens.
"Go back to the hotel and go to sleep first, and then wake up and go back to Oxford, try to finish up this degree and get done in May and get to walk," Henderson said. "That will be my next thing. I never thought that it would be that important, but when it gets closer to the end, you start to realize that you want to get something done."
Ole Miss finished on a 40-15 run over the last 16:42 of the game to rally past Mississippi State 78-66 in the second round of the SEC Tournament Thursday.
Ole Miss was 14-of-25 (56.0 percent from the floor), including 6-of-12 from 3-point range, in the second half, and it carried over to the defensive end, where the Rebels held the Bulldogs to just 4-of-23 (17.4 percent) shooting from the field.
"We have to come out with that sense of urgency that we played with in the last 10 minutes," said head coach Andy Kennedy after the win over Mississippi State. "It was probably the best half we have played offensively in a long time. When you see 56 percent from the floor, we outrebound them. We have a positive assists-to-turnover ratio, Marshall and Jarvis made some shots, and we got contribution from a number of other guys. It's probably the best half we have played offensively in a while."
With the win, Ole Miss advances and continues its Southeastern Conference tournament title against No. 3 seed Georgia in the quarterfinals on Friday night. The Rebels look to avenge a 61-60 earlier this season in Athens, where second team All-SEC selection Charles Mann hit one of two free throws with 1.5 seconds left to win the game.
"Oh, yeah, definitely ready to play them again," said senior guard Marshall Henderson, who had a game-high 21 points against Mississippi State. "They got us. What I remember is Gaines had a really good game. He shot the ball well. We had our chances, but we had a couple bonehead mistakes that hurt us in the end. We're excited for the opportunity to play them again."
Georgia finished tied for second in the league standings with a 12-6 mark in the SEC to grab the No. 3 seed in the tournament. Mann and fellow sophomore guard Kenny Gaines lead Georgia averaging 13.4 points per game and are the only two players averaging double figures for the Bulldogs. They combined for 38 of the team's 61 points in their first meeting with Ole Miss.
"It's going to be a rugged game," Kennedy said. "Mark Fox has done a great job of righting that ship and making the necessary adjustments. His team has figured out who they are and they have embraced hard. It's what I'm trying to get my group to do. You got to embrace hard. It's hard to win. I don't care who you're playing or where you're playing, it's hard to win.
"So I think his group embraced hard, and they're really playing. They developed an identity. It was a knock down, drag out. They were up, we get back the lead, couldn't finish it, missed some crucial free throws, and then Charles Mann made a winning play."
Three stats, which have been key to Georgia all season, were key to the Bulldogs in the first meeting: field goal percentage defense, free throws and rebounding. Georgia leads the league in field goal percentage defense (39.5 percent) and held Ole Miss to a season-low 32.2 percent from the floor.
Georgia ranks second in the league behind Kentucky averaging 27.3 free throw attempts per game and went 20-of-28 from the line against Ole Miss, led by Mann, who was 12-of-16, including the go-ahead free throw. The Bulldogs are fifth in rebounding margin (+5.0 rpg) and outrebounded Ole Miss 49-34.
"It's going to be a hard matchup for us," Kennedy said. "There is one advantage. Mississippi State showed early tonight that when you get a win in this building it helps you initially. Did they get a little tired at the end? I think again it was because they weren't making any shots. It's easy to lose your momentum when the ball doesn't go in.
"But I think tomorrow early we should have a little bit of an advantage because we've seen the ball go in the basket for us, most especially in the second half. So hopefully we can take that approach."
Ole Miss outscored Mississippi State 43-22 in the second half, as the Rebels rallied for the 78-66 win in the second round of the SEC Tournament Thursday night in Atlanta. With the win, Ole Miss advances to play No. 3 seed Georgia in Friday night's quarterfinals.
Mississippi State took a 44-35 lead into halftime behind 58 percent shooting, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range. In the second half, Ole Miss flipped the script.
The Rebels shot 45 percent, while they held the Bulldogs to 17 percent from the floor, and it translated to the both teams' energy on both ends of the court.
"When you make shots, it's amazing how much energy you have," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "When you miss shots, that energy goes away quickly. In the first half, they were making shots and they were hopping all around the gym. We couldn't make one. We were just trying to stay in the game. The script got flipped in the second half. In the second half, we started making them, and they were struggling a little bit."
"Something kicks into gear with about 10 minutes left to go in the second half," said senior guard Marshall Henderson, who finished with a game-high 21 points. "For whatever reason, our sense of urgency goes up a lot more, and the focus become more effective."
Down one, 56-55, Henderson drew a charge with 8:39 left, and on the next possession, the Rebels took their first lead, 57-56, on a lay-up from junior guard LaDarius White. From there, Mississippi State would lead just once the rest of the way, as Ole Miss finished on a 40-15 run over the last 16:42 of the game.
"I'm just trying to make a big play somewhere else," Henderson said. "That's what coach emphasized. Coach (Kennedy) always says players made plays. A lot of times we get to thinking that it's only on the offensive end, and he always tries to reiterate to us that you can make a big play on defense, if you want to."
After going 3-for-12 from the field, including 3-from-10 from 3-point range in the first half, the shots started to fall for Henderson in the second half, as he was 4-of-9 from the field -- all from 3-point range -- in the second half. It included back-to-back 3-pointers after a 3-pointer from junior guard Jarvis Summers, who also finished with a game-high 21 points, to stretch a 62-60 lead to 71-60 and put the game out of reach with 2:42 left.
"I was feeling it there in the first half," Henderson said. "There three or four of them that rolled in and out. It was the most roll in-and-outs I have ever had, but they were there. Then, it got to crunch time, and shots had to be made."
"They were struggling missing shots, and they could feel the momentum start to turn," Kennedy said. "They were in control for about 30 of the 40 minutes, but we kept coming and we kept coming. You look up, and we go from being up two, to being up eight, to being up 12, and that's when they got a little bit slower and Marshall had an opportunity to put down a couple of daggers, and he did."
Ole Miss meets Mississippi State for the third time this season, with a berth in SEC Tournament quarterfinals and a matchup with No. 3 seed Georgia on the line. It is just their second meeting in the SEC Tournament with the Bulldogs winning 73-64 in 2003.
No. 14 seed Mississippi State advanced to the second round with an 82-68 win over No. 11 seed Vanderbilt on Wednesday. The Bulldogs shot a season-best 59 percent from the field, as they snapped a 13-game losing streak.
"Once we set foot on the court, we have a shot," said Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray after Wednesday's win. "But more so than anything, I think that what happens is everybody focuses in on one player on their team. People don't understand how good Jarvis Summers is. He's a really good basketball player. Sometimes you get so caught up in Marshall Henderson and guard him off the cuts and screening action, that you allow Jarvis Summers to go one-on-and. And when you allow him to go one-on-one, he's a really good player."
"It will feel great to get to see them one more time," said Mississippi State sophomore guard Craig Sword, who led four Bulldogs in double figures with a game-high 20 points against Vanderbilt. "But we're going to take thing one game at a time. We're going to come in tomorrow focused and locked in."
In their first meeting, without senior guard Marshall Henderson, Ole Miss fell to Mississippi State 76-72 on the road in Starkville. In their second meeting, Ole Miss avenged its earlier loss with an 82-63 win in Oxford led by 19 points each from Henderson and junior guard Jarvis Summers.
In addition to the return of Henderson, the Rebels' leading scorer, another big difference in the two meetings was the play of Sword, the Bulldogs' leading scorer. Sword had 15 points, all at the free throw line, in the first meeting, while Ole Miss held him to just four points in the second meeting.
"Obviously, if State wins tonight and we have the opportunity to play them, then, you know, it would be their Super Bowl in that they could go ahead and put us out of our misery," said head coach Andy Kennedy in Wednesday's pre-tournament press conference. "I think that whoever we play, simply because we have played them both twice and we are very familiar with them, we know what we have to do. We just have to go out and perform."
It's a similar road to last year, as Ole Miss begins its SEC Tournament title defense on Thursday against the winner of the Vanderbilt-Mississippi State game. This year, a similar run would take an extra game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Ole Miss is the No. 6 seed, and the winner of Thursday's game advances to play No. 3 seed Georgia in Friday's quarterfinals, the round where the reigning SEC Tournament champion began its run through the field a year ago.
"There's not as much pressure," senior guard Marshall Henderson said. "Looking at the road that we have, we're excited about it. We're in the same position. We have the same path. We have to win one more game."
"We ended up finishing in the six seed, which as Marshall said, it's really the same road and the same time slot we had last year except we have one more game," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "Now, we're into the postseason. One missed assignment, one guy not doing his job on a set, one guy not making the proper rotation, one careless turnover, one missed free throw, and the season is over. I want them to understand, and my hope is that it won't increase pressure. Pressure doesn't exist until you allow it to exist. I want them to be on edge. I want them to be locked in and laser-focused, and then let's see how good we can be."
Henderson and junior guard Jarvis Summers were recently named to the All-SEC second team by the league's coaches, and any run through the tournament starts with them. Henderson leads the league averaging 3-pointers 4.29 3-pointers made per game and ranks third in scoring (19.0 ppg), while Summers ranks eighth in scoring (16.9 ppg) and is the only player in the league to rank among the top 10 in the SEC in scoring and field goal goal percentage and top five in assists.
"These two guys have to play well," Kennedy said. "I saw that they were both acknowledged as second team all all league players which is a tribute to them and they have got to carry us. If they play well, and we get some contribution from the guys who have shown capable, then we have a chance to stay around a few days."
Kennedy reiterated that they're still searching in the frontcourt, adding that he's still thinking about who is starting tomorrow night in their frontcourt. During last year's run, the Rebels got contributions from the supporting cast in sophomore guard Derrick Millinghaus and junior guard LaDarius White. This year, Kennedy said they need similar contributions from them, as well as Perez, the team's third-leading scorer in league play, and sophomore guard Martavious Newby, who has started each of the last three games after returning from a hand injury on Feb. 18 against Kentucky.
"Between Anthony, Snoop, now that Derrick is back with us, those three guys are getting the majority of the minutes, along with Newby now on the perimeter," Kennedy said. "Of those four, we need two of them to bring their 'A' game. If all four bring their 'A' game, we can play until Sunday. But we need two of those four to be really productive for us, and when we get that, this team has shown capable."
Ole Miss has played both No. 11 seed Vanderbilt and No. 14 seed Mississippi State twice, having completed the season sweep of the Commodores with a 65-62 win in Oxford this past Saturday. Ole Miss split the season series with Mississippi State, but the Rebels' loss back in January, however, was without Henderson.
"Obviously, if State wins tonight and we have the opportunity to play them, then, you know, it would be their Super Bowl in that they could go ahead and put us out of our misery," Kennedy said. "I think that whoever we play, simply because we have played them both twice and we are very familiar with them, we know what we have to do. We just have to go out and perform."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
March 3-10, 2014
- Ole Miss improved to 14-2 on the season with a series sweep of UALR this past weekend that included the team's fifth walk-off win of the season.
- The Rebels moved up to No. 12 (USA Today/Coaches) in the national rankings with the release of the latest national polls Monday.
- Freshman infielder Brantley Bell paced the Rebels with a .533 performance at the plate, including the game-tying run and game-winning hit vs. UALR on Friday night.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Sam Smith improved to 3-0 on the season with his quality start against UALR on Sunday to clinch the series sweep.
- Ole Miss completed a long, arduous week of softball last week. The Rebels opened the week by splitting a doubleheader in Salt Lake City on Monday, followed by a doubleheader sweep at home Tuesday before opening SEC play Friday at Gainesville, Fla., where the Rebels took one of three against the No. 1 ranked Florida Gators.
- Senior pitcher Carly Hummel had a fantastic week. Hummel threw the first perfect game in program history Monday in a 5-0 win over Utah State, and followed that performance with a three-hit, complete game shutout victory at No. 1 Florida. For her work, Hummel became the first Rebel to be named SEC Pitcher of the Week since 2009.
- Hummel finished the week with a team-high 20.0 innings of action, throwing a complete game in each of her three appearances. She posted a team-best ERA of 0.70, struck out a team-high 27 batters and walked just two. Her perfect game Monday is the only such performance in the SEC this season, and was just the fifth no-hit performance in Ole Miss history.
- Ole Miss' 2-0 victory at No. 1 Florida on Friday was its first win over a No. 1 ranked opponent since 2007, and was just the program's second ever such victory.
- Ole Miss has now won its SEC opener each of the past three seasons, including back-to-back seasons with SEC-opening wins over top-15 ranked opponents. The Rebels opened the 2013 season with a 3-1 win at No. 15 Kentucky.
- Ole Miss knocked off Vanderbilt 65-62 on Senior Day on Saturday. Senior guard Marshall Henderson, who was honored before the game, scored 11 second-half points as the Rebels erased a 12-point second half deficit to knock off the Commodores.
- Head coach Andy Kennedy picked up his 170th career win at Ole Miss and moved past Florida's Billy Donovan and Alabama's Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first eight years in the league at one school.
- Henderson extended his own SEC record with a 3-pointer in his 64th-straight game
- The Rebels earned the No. 6 seed in the upcoming SEC Tournament. Ole Miss will be looking to defend last year's title as it opens play Thursday vs. the winner of the Mississippi State-Vanderbilt matchup.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team advanced to the second round of the 2014 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament with a thrilling 63-62 win over Arkansas in opening round action Wednesday. The win was Ole Miss' first win in the SEC Tournament since the 2010 Tournament.
- Ole Miss concluded the 2013-14 season Thursday with a 70-54 loss to Auburn. Ole Miss concluded the season with a 12-20, 2-14 SEC record and advanced to the second round of the SEC Tournament. The loss marked the end of the collegiate careers for Valencia McFarland, Kenyotta Jenkins and Diara Moore.
- McFarland concludes her collegiate career as Ole Miss' No. 6 scorer with 1,655 career points. She also landed a spot on Ole Miss' single-season assists list. Her 201 assists in 2013-14 are the third most in a season at Ole Miss.
- The Rebels split the weekend, downing No. 13 Tennessee 4-1 and then falling to No. 16 Georgia 4-0 on the road.
- The Rebels have now won four straight against Tennessee. It also marked the first time this year for the Rebels to come back and win after losing the doubles point.
- William Kallberg knocked off No. 21 ranked Hunter Reese of Tennessee to clinch the win. It marked Kallberg's best win of the year and his best since a win over the nation's No. 3 ranked player his freshman year.
- The Rebels continue their road swing this weekend at No. 18 Vanderbilt and No. 22 Kentucky.
- The Rebels split a pair of matches this past weekend, defeating Tennessee 5-2 and then losing to No. 11 Georgia 5-2. The victory over Tennessee marked the Rebels third straight win against the Lady Vols in Oxford.
- In the win over Tennessee, freshman Zalina Khairudinova earned her best win of the season, upsetting No. 55 ranked Eve Repic at No. 1 singles.
- Khairudinova and Julia Jones are 10-2 on the year overall, 7-2 at No. 3 doubles.
- The Rebels continue their five match homestand with a midweek match against VCU Wednesday at Noon. On Friday, the Rebels will host No. 7 Vanderbilt at 3 p.m. followed by No. 22 Kentucky on Sunday at noon.
- The Ole Miss men's golf team competed at the Querencia Cabo Intercollegiate hosted by Southern Methodist University at the Los Cabos Querencia Golf Club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
- Freshman Ben Wolcott led the team with a three-round score of 220. Wolcott finished in a tie for 18th place, marking his second top-20 finish of the season.
- As a team, Ole Miss finished the tournament tied for 10th place with Lamar University. The Rebels posted a three-round total of 898.
- The Rebels will be back in action March 14 at the Chris Schenkel Invitational in Statesboro, Ga.
- The Ole Miss football team began spring practice on Tuesday and totaled three workouts in the first week before spring break.
- Among the new faces to the team this spring are high school early enrollees C.J. Hampton (DB), Kendrick Doss (QB) and Marquis Haynes (DE) and junior college transfers Jeremy Liggins (QB/TE) and Christian Russell (LB).
- Also enjoying the spring are Anthony Alford (DB) and Fadol Brown (DE), who are preparing to play this fall after sitting out last season due to NCAA transfer rules.
- Ten players, assistant coach Tom Allen and team chaplain John Powell are doing mission work in Haiti during spring break. Among the players on the trip are Justin Bell, Serderius Bryant, Ryan Buchanan, Deterrian Shackelford and John Youngblood.
- The Rebels will return to the practice fields after spring break on Monday, March 17.
- Practices that will be held at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium and open to the public are slated for March 22, March 29, April 4 and April 5 (Grove Bowl).
Highlights from Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday as well as selected questions and answers from Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray, Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings and Georgia head coach Mark Fox.
Ole Miss is the No. 6 seed in this week's 2014 SEC Tournament in Atlanta and will play the winner of 11-seed Vanderbilt and 14-seed Mississippi State in the second round Thursday (approximately 8:25 p.m. CT, SEC TV/ESPN3). The winner of Thursday's game will play 3-seed Georgia in the quarterfinals Friday (approximately 8:25 p.m. CT, SEC TV/ESPN3).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
We're excited about heading to Atlanta and competing in the SEC Tournament coming off a hard-fought win, which will hopefully give our guys some life moving forward.
On Arkansas' big loss at Alabama:
We're all living on a slippery slope. We played about as poorly as I have ever seen a team play from our vantage point against a team that played about as well as they could possibly play in Arkansas, and then both scripts got flipped. All I saw was the final score.
I was not surprised so much that Alabama won because Alabama is a good basketball team and it's hard to win on the road, but when I saw the score I was surprised because of how well Arkansas had been playing, and then as poorly as we played, we were able to bounce back and grind out a hard home win. It speaks to my theory, where I don't believe in game-to-game momentum; I believe in in-game momentum. Each game has a life in and of itself, and you have to prepared as such.
On making a run in the SEC Tournament:
Most everyone, especially when you have a lot on the line, you hope that your players would go into with a sense of urgency that the next loss could be your last game. We have one senior, and I know he will be playing with a sense of urgency. When you have a number of different guys who have that sense of urgency, you make plays and special things can happen.
We were certainly a part of that last year. I had three prominent members of our team, who were seniors, and they were playing with that senior sense of urgency, and we were able to get a last-second win in game one. We had a feeling of relief but also excitement about the potential that the next day held, and that's what you can experience sometimes in tournament play.
On balancing the routine with the excitement of playing in the SEC Tournament:
Heading not the tournament, you try to keep your routine the same. We have been doing this now for a number of months, and you try to stay on the same routine. Once you get into that tournament setting, there's always electricity in that building. The SEC does an outstanding job of creating an electric atmosphere. Guy gets excited about that, and if you can get through that first game, guys are really on edge as it relates to the opportunity that's in front of them.
On Georgia's play through the SEC regular season:
Mark (Fox) and his staff did an outstanding job of getting that team to understand who they were. They were 6-6 in the non-league and when you do that, not many people gave them much hope of moving up in the standings once they got into league play. They looked in the mirror and made the necessary adjustments as to who they were and their best chance to be successful, and they maximized that by having an outstanding run in our league.
They're playing as well as anybody with a hard-fought win at LSU in the last game. They're playing with momentum and a lot of confidence. They'll be in their home state, and there will be a lot of Bulldogs in the building. Last year, we came into the tournament in a similar mode, where we were tied for second and we got the third seed via a tiebreaker, and then we were able to make our run. Georgia is in a great position.
On the team's mindset entering the SEC Tournament:
I'm like most every coach. We split the season into a number of different quarters going back to our high school days. Now we're in the fourth quarter. This is the postseason. This is the epitome of March Madness, which created this mindset that anything can happen. We lived that last year when we were able to go and have a magical run. That's still fresh on the thoughts of our players' minds. We realized that the task is going to be a daunting one, but at the same time, all coaches try to turn the page and say we're all starting here anew. There's a lot to play for heading into Atlanta.
Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray
We're getting ready for a well-coached Vanderbilt team. Coach Stallings does about as good a job as anybody in the nation of exploiting some of your weakness, both on the offensive end and defensive end. On the offensive end, for them, they do a great job of running a lot of set plays. When you're playing Vanderbilt, you have to make sure that you rely on your principles more so than just guarding their set because they do a lot of sets, but more importantly they have counters to those sets to exploit anything that you're doing as far as the way you're guarding the basketball.
In the first game against them, Damian Jones got in early foul trouble. He has a world of potential, and he's going to be a really good player in the SEC. Having him available on the court to give them an inside presence, along with their outside shooters and scorers will be a problem for us.
On the team mindset entering the SEC Tournament:
The one thing that we're trying to focus on, because we're playing Vanderbilt, and we played a good game against them. It was a closely contested ball game. We had a couple of chances to cut it to two points under two minutes, and we missed point-blank layups and a couple of tips. You could show them that you had some success against Vanderbilt at Vanderbilt, so that's one thing that always helps. The second thing is that we went into the SEC Tournament last year, and it was the first time that we had won a game in the SEC Tournament since 2008 as a program. You try to point to those positive things because the negatives are very obvious.
On the team's depth:
It's a problem. I don't think you can sit here and say that we're on an even playing field with everybody else. Our first year we were playing with six and seven scholarship guys, and this year we played the whole season with seven and eight scholarship guys. There are two things we don't have. We never had the competition for playing time. Any program needs that. The second thing is that I have never had our best teacher, which is the bench. You need that to have that competitive fire in your program all the time. Our guys continue to play hard. Everybody has their bumps and bruises at this point in time. It's more mentally fatigued than physically fatigued. Our guys have to pull it together for the stretch run.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings
First of all, I would like to congratulate Coach Donovan and the Florida Gator basketball team on their championship. Going 18-0 in our league is an incredible accomplishment, so I congratulate them on a job more than well done. Our team is coming off of two very close games, difficult, similar-type losses from last week.
We're thankful for the opportunity to play again. Those were two frustrating losses for us last week, but we're hopeful that we can get to Atlanta and play the way we have been playing defensively and maybe play better on offense. Our defense has been good enough in our recent games except for one to really give us a chance to win games, and our offense has not been what we need it to be, so hopefully we can do some things this week can get that rectified and play better offensively and maintain the defensive intensity that we have shown the last few weeks.
On making a run in the SEC Tournament:
It tends to happen just in the games. You can start to get the feeling in a game. If you win one, maybe you get on a little bit of a roll. There has never been anything that I have sensed going into the tournament when we have done well or when we have done poorly. It's more of thing where you get there, you win a game and then you get a feeling, see some confidence and start playing well, and the confidence gets contagious and it carries you through the weekend. I have never sensed anything in the prior couple days going into the tournament.
When you win, you gain confidence and momentum is built. In 2004, I remember when we beat Mississippi State, which was league champion that year, in overtime and that was a tremendous situation for us because they had just won the league. That catapulted us not only in that tournament, but that gave us momentum going into the NCAA Tournament as well. That's the kind of thing I'm talking about, winning a big game, winning a tough game, winning a close game, and it continues to provide you momentum.
Georgia head coach Mark Fox
Our team is excited about the tournament. We're really excited that it's in Atlanta and just down the road for us, so hopefully we will have some support from our fan base there in Atlanta. Our kids are really excited about the tournament, and it should be a great week of basketball in the Georgia Dome.
On this year's team:
Normally, you compare most things in the life to the first time you maybe did something, so I compare of my teams to my first team, which I thought was really a group of overachievers and a team that was picked fourth in the league that won the league and won an NCAA Tournament game and was a joy to coach. Every year, I often compare the team I'm coaching to that group because it was my first one and it was one of my favorite teams.
This team has been just as much fun to coach. These guys have been a real joy, and I look forward to seeing them every day. They enjoy each other. Throughout the season, whether it is success or failure, they have tried to use things to grow as people and grow as a team. From that standpoint, it's been a process that we have all enjoyed.
On the locker room after the win over LSU:
It was typical. The kids were certainly excited. They had a sense of accomplishment for winning the game because LSU is a good team, and it was a good win. It was typical of a scene after a conference road win. It was not more than that. When you win a road game in this league, it's very hard to do, and so they were excited like they would be for most conference road victories.
On the coach's control of team chemistry:
Coaches do their best to manage the personality of the group, but the one thing that you can't control -- and you can in some instances as you recruit -- is the quality of character. You really have to have people that have great character to strive and achieve, and sometimes you can't control that. You don't know exactly -- even though there is some communication in recruiting -- until you go to battle with someone how they're wired. Fortunately, we have a really good chemistry and some really good character on our team that has allowed us to continue to grow.
On the team entering conference play:
That was a tough time. We had played George Washington in our last nonconference game, and I learned right before that game that my dad was about to pass, and so right before conference play started, I was away from the team for a day or two. I don't know if at that time we had a grasp on what we could accomplish. From day one this year, we felt like we could have a good team. Even though Kentavious left, and we knew there would be some growing pains getting used to his absence, they didn't waver from thinking we could have a good team. It just took a little while to figure out how to do that.
On NCAA Tournament standing entering SEC Tournament:
For the first time, yesterday, since I didn't know whom we would be playing, I took a minute to look at it. I don't know if we will have to win it, but it sure takes the stress out of it if you could do. We would have to advance. To have a legitimate at-large chance, we would have to advance. If you advance, you might as well win it.
THE SEASON: Ole Miss Basketball (2014) - Episode 7 from Ole Miss Rebels on Vimeo.
In case you missed it, here are each of the first six episodes of The Season: Ole Miss Basketball:
Episode 1 (Season overview, Auburn, Mississippi State games)
Episode 2 (LSU, South Carolina)
Episode 3 (Vanderbilt, Mississippi State)
Episode 4 (Tennessee, South Carolina)
Episode 5 (Missouri, Alabama, Georgia)
Episode 6 (Kentucky, Florida)
Ole Miss and Arkansas are both looking to improve their Southeastern Conference standing and possibly play their way into a top-four seed and a double bye to the quarterfinals of the conference tournament next week in Atlanta.
The Rebels are tied for sixth in the league standings with LSU, Missouri and Texas A&M and would be the No. 7 seed if the season ended today. Ole Miss is 2-6 on the road in conference play, having lost five straight road games including a 71-60 loss at Texas A&M this past Saturday.
"We're not playing as well as I would have hoped," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We have struggled in a number of different areas. When we put our finger in one hole, another one opens up, whether it's offensive inefficiency or our inability to rebound. We have really struggled, especially on the road, and that continued in our last outing against A&M.
"We have to come in understanding that there are two games left in the regular season, and there is still somewhat of a logjam in the middle of the pack. We're in the middle of that and we have to try to find a way to win some games and put ourselves in the best possible position heading into Atlanta."
Historically, Kennedy and Ole Miss have had success on the road at Arkansas. The Rebels have won four straight at Arkansas' Bud Walton Arena and have taken nine of their last 10 meetings with the Razorbacks.
"I would like to tell you that those prior four games would have some influence on our game Wednesday night, but unfortunately for us, they will not," Kennedy said. "It's a different set of circumstances, different players and different timing. Arkansas is playing as well as anybody in our league, having won five straight. They are playing with a great deal of confidence and a real sense of urgency that you would expect as they are closing in on trying to get into the NCAA Tournament and we know we will have our hands full."
Arkansas has won five straight games, including a 71-67 win at No. 15 Kentucky this past Thursday to complete the regular-season sweep of the Wildcats. The Razorbacks have moved into a tie with Tennessee for fourth in the league standings, but the Volunteers won the only head-to-head meeting and would be the No. 4 seed if the season ended today.
"It should be a great game and a great atmosphere," Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson said. "It's Senior Night for our players, so we're looking forward to that challenge against Ole Miss. Everyone is trying to jockey for position at this time of year. We're no different than Ole Miss and everybody else in our conference."
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review
Feb. 24-March 2, 2014
- Ole Miss posted four straight walk-off wins this past week on the way to two wins over ULM and a sweep of UCF.
- Junior right-handed pitcher Chris Ellis has not allowed an earned run through three starts, and only one run total in 22.0 innings.
- Sophomore left-handed pitcher Christian Trent has not allowed a walk through three starts and 20.1 innings of work.
- The Rebels continue to play at home with a midweek game against Memphis and a weekend series against UALR.
- Ole Miss split a pair of games last week, knocking off Alabama 79-67 at home Wednesday before falling to Texas A&M 71-60 on the road Sunday.
- Sophomore Martavious Newby posted his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, as Ole Miss rolled Alabama. Jarvis Summers scored 20 points and sparked a decisive first-half surge to help lift the Rebels to the win.
- Senior Marshall Henderson broke Pat Bradley's Southeastern Conference record with his 61st consecutive game with a 3-point shot, breaking the mark on his first attempt from the field vs. Alabama. Henderson now has hit a 3-pointer in 62 straight games and has at least two 3-pointers in 61 of his 62 career games with the Rebels.
- The win over Alabama was Andy Kennedy's 169th career win at Ole Miss, which moved him into a tie with Billy Donovan and Wimp Sanderson for the third-most wins by a coach in their first eight seasons in the league at one school.
- Summers had a team-high 18 points and Henderson added 16 points in the Rebels' road loss at Texas A&M on Saturday. Ole Miss travels to Arkansas Wednesday before hosting Vanderbilt on Saturday.
- The Ole Miss women's basketball team closed out the regular season with a 73-71 overtime win over Auburn on Senior Day.
- The Rebels' win snapped a nine-game losing streak and gave the Rebels a 9-7 record at the Tad Smith Coliseum this season.
- Ole Miss is the No. 14 seed for this week's SEC Tournament held in Duluth, Ga. Ole Miss will face the No. 11 seed Arkansas on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. CT. Ole Miss is making its first appearance in the SEC Tournament since 2011-12.
Track & Field
- The Ole Miss men claimed SEC titles in the pole vault and distance medley relay to highlight a seventh-place team performance at the SEC Indoor Track & Field Championships, hosted by Texas A&M.
- Sam Kendricks, a junior from Oxford, Miss., won his first SEC title in the pole vault with a clearance of 18-2 to score 10 team points. It was the second SEC indoor pole vault title in school history (Baker Vinci, 1985), and Kendricks added one more accolade to his list that already included an NCAA outdoor title and three All-America honors.
- Ole Miss also won an SEC crown in the distance medley relay, with a squad composed of three freshmen (Robert Domanic, Will Spiers, Sean Tobin) and a senior (Montez Griffin). Tobin ran an amazing anchor leg for the victory in 9:39.54, which nearly broke the SEC meet record of 9:39.06 set by Alabama in 2011. It was the Rebels' first ever SEC title in the distance medley relay.
- Other top performances at the SEC meet included Tobin's runner-up finish in the mile and freshman Jalen Miller's third-place effort in the 60 meters.
- Ole Miss now awaits for the final declaration of athletes for the NCAA Championships (March 14-15 in Albuquerque, N.M.). Those expected to receive invites include Kendricks (pole vault) and Miller (60 meters).
- Ole Miss traveled west to compete in San Diego for the San Diego Classic I, but rain intervened while the Rebels were in the Golden State and washed out all five scheduled games.
- Thanks to a flight cancelation while in Salt Lake City, Ole Miss will play a doubleheader against Utah State and Utah on Monday.
- The Rebels also have a home doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday, followed by their first SEC series of the year at Florida on Friday-Sunday.
- The Rebels dropped both opening SEC matches this past weekend falling to No. 23 Auburn and No. 10 Alabama on the road.
- Julia Jones went 3-1 in singles and doubles, including an 8-0 win over the 35th-ranked team from Alabama at No. 3 doubles.
- Jones and freshman Zalina Khairudinova improved to 9-1 overall, 7-1 in dual matches with both wins at No. 3 doubles this past weekend. They are 2-0 in the SEC.
- The Rebels begin a five-match home stand this weekend with Tennessee on Friday at 3 p.m. and No. 12 Georgia Sunday at 1 p.m. CT.
- The Rebels lost both of their SEC matches last weekend to fall to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in league play.
- Ricardo Jorge made his home debut last weekend and went 2-2 in singles and doubles.
- William Kallberg rallied to knock off 75th-ranked Becker O'Shaughnessey of Alabama 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.
- The Rebels travel to No. 11 Tennessee and Georgia this weekend.
- Ole Miss hosted the Great American Rifle Conference Championships this past weekend. Senior Melissa Quartarone shot a 591 in air rifle to make the finals, and then her 182.3 total landed her in third place.
- Freshman Alison Weisz qualified for the NCAA Championships in air rifle. She became the first freshman in program history to qualify for the NCAAs. She finished the regular season leading the team in air rifle with an average of 586.5. In her last seven matches, she averaged 590.1. Weisz also earned All-Conference Honorable Mention honors in air rifle. She became the first freshman in program history to earn all-conference honors.
-The Rebels kicked off the 2014 spring season at the AllState Sugar Bowl Classic last week.
- Ole Miss closed the two-day tournament in 17th place with a three-round score of 894 (294-302-298--894).
- Abby Newton was Ole Miss' top individual finishing in 49th place with a three-day score of 222.
- Ole Miss will next be in action at the Notre Dame Clover Cup at Longbow Country Club March 14-16. The Rebels host the Rebel Intercollegiate April 4-6 at the Ole Miss Golf Course.
Highlights of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings. The Rebels close out the regular season with a road game at Arkansas on Wednesday (7 p.m., ESPN3) and then host Vanderbilt for Senior Day on Saturday (12:30 p.m., SEC Network).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
On Ole Miss' four-game winning streak at Arkansas' Bud Walton Arena:
I would like to tell you that those prior four games would have some influence on our game Wednesday night, but unfortunately for us, they will not. It's a different set of circumstances, different players and different timing. Arkansas is playing as well as anybody in our league, having won five straight. They are playing with a great deal of confidence and a real sense of urgency that you would expect as they are closing in on trying to get into the NCAA Tournament and we know we will have our hands full.
On how Ole Miss is playing of late:
We're not playing as well as I would have hoped. We have struggled in a number of different areas. When we put our finger in one hole, another one opens up, whether it's offensive inefficiency or our inability to rebound. We have really struggled, especially on the road, and that continued in our last outing against A&M.
We have to come in understanding that there are two games left in the regular season, and there is still somewhat of a logjam in the middle of the pack. We're in the middle of that and we have to try to find a way to win some games and put ourselves in the best possible position heading into Atlanta.
On the disparity in how teams play at home versus on the road:
That's probably typical of most team in college basketball. For whatever reason, teams don't seem to play as well on the road. I can just speak personally about our group. We have some inexperienced guys at a number of different positions, and even the guys we had returning are playing expanded roles.
With that comes a little bit of hesitancy and not playing with the same swagger you play with at home, when you can feed off the emotion of the crowd and you're more in the your comfort zone, and as a result, you don't play as confidently as you need to play on the road to make the plays that ultimately decide winning and losing.
On Marshall Henderson's season:
He's certainly been a marked man. His numbers are about the same. He's a volume guy. He broke the record for most threes attempted in a season, and he's leading the nation in 3-pointers attempted again. He's the same guy. He's a volume guy who we need to make shots. He's been more focused this year, and his game has developed as it relates to understanding and staying within the lines and playing with the right sort of focus. He hasn't varied a lot.
Our biggest problem is we have lost two guys up front who were pillars in our program for a number of years, and we have replaced them with younger and inexperience guys, and as a result, we're not being productive up front.
On Arkansas' roster and depth:
It shows that they have depth and quality of depth. Ky Madden has developed into an all-league level player that everybody envisioned him having the opportunity to be. Michael Qualls has made that huge transformation from freshman to sophomore. They had (Alandise) Harris sitting out and you add a Bobby Portis to that.
And then all of sudden, Mardracus Wade, who has played a lot of minutes in that program, (Anthlon) Bell, who didn't play as much last year, are now more seasoned and playing with a sense of urgency simply because they obviously want to get on the floor, and Mike (Anderson) has them playing at a very high level.
Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson
As we get ready to finish up with conference, we face an Ole Miss team that everyone knows is a very explosive team. They have great guard play with Henderson, and I have always been impressed with Jarvis Summers. He's the head of that basketball team, and Henderson is an outstanding player.
It should be a great game and a great atmosphere. It's Senior Night for our players, so we're looking forward to that challenge against Ole Miss. Everyone is trying to jockey for position at this time of year. We're no different than Ole Miss and everybody else in our conference.
On Coty Clarke earning SEC Player of the Week honors:
It's good to see his emergence. Being a junior college player, he now feels a lot more comfortable. He's a glue guy and does so many things for our basketball team. He's taken a leadership role, and now we see him doing a lot more things offensively and playing explosively.
There's a reason why we recruited this young man coming out of junior college. He was one of the better rebounders in the country. He has nose for the ball and the game. To see him have an opportunity to be recognized as a Player of the Week tells you know how well he's playing at this point with our basketball team.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings
We had a tough week last week. We played fairly well in one game and very poorly in the other. We have a few days here since we don't play until Thursday to hopefully, maybe fix ourselves a little bit.
Nevertheless, we had a difficult against LSU the first time. We got whipped pretty good. We will have to certainly make some adjustments and play a lot better this time around. They have a very talented team and a very good team. We look forward to the week and hopefully we can play better and have better success than we did last week certainly.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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."
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."
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."
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.
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."
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Ole Miss looks for the season sweep of South Carolina as the Rebels host the Gamecocks on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Tad Smith Coliseum. In their first meeting, Ole Miss held on to win 75-74 in Columbia, S.C., behind a career-high 22 points from Anthony Perez.
Ole Miss is 5-2 in Southeastern Conference play and tied for second in the league standings with Kentucky, two games behind league-leading Florida. A win over South Carolina would tie last year's team and the 1937-38 team for the best start to SEC play through eight games.
The team's two leading scorers, Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers, combined for 42 points while the rest of the team combined for 28 points, with no other Rebels in double figures in Wednesday's 86-70 loss at Tennessee. The Volunteers also held a decisive edge in rebounding (45-27), points in the paint (36-24) and second-chance points (19-4).
"We didn't get a lot of production from anyone other than those two," said head coach Andy Kennedy after Wednesday's loss. "You know Marshall was a volume guy tonight, but he made a few and kept us in it. Jarvis got in some early foul trouble and that took away from his aggressiveness. Those two guys have been pretty steady for us, we obviously have to get contributions from others, and that's really what's allowed us to get off to a 5-1 start, we were getting contributions from other people. Tonight, that wasn't the case."
South Carolina won its first league game Wednesday, an 80-52 home win over Texas A&M, having dropped its first six league games. The Gamecocks shot 52.2 percent from the field while limiting the Aggies to 35.6 shooting. Four players scored in double figures, led by a pair of freshmen in Duane Notice and Sindarius Thornwell with 19 points each.
"It feels good to win," said South Carolina head coach Frank Martin after Wednesday's win. "As a coach, you sleep a little bit better after a win. If we were 6-0 and got beat today, I would have been miserable. I can't pay attention to the record. I'm happy for our kids. They deserved to win. They went out and earned it. They have stayed positive even though results haven't gone their way. We have to feel good about it, but we can't celebrate that we won because then we will go in there on Saturday and not play well. We have to embrace the process of what we have done."
to reserve tickets for Ole Miss men's basketball remaining SEC home games:
Saturday, Feb. 1 vs. South Carolina, 12:30 p.m. CT
Saturday, Feb. 8 vs. Missouri, 4 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 18 vs. Kentucky, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22 vs. Florida, 11 a.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 26 vs. Alabama, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 vs. Vanderbilt, 12:30 p.m.
Ole Miss carries its four-game winning streak into Wednesday night's game at Tennessee (7 p.m. CT, SEC Network), where the Rebels routed the Volunteers, 92-74, in last year's meeting.
As of Tuesday, Ole Miss is No. 57 in the RPI, according to ESPN.com. The Rebels are 2-4 against the RPI top 100, with wins over LSU and Vanderbilt and losses to Kansas State, Oregon, Mercer and Dayton. A win over Tennessee, currently rated No. 53 in the RPI, would be the their fifth road win and their best RPI win of the season, with LSU currently the highest rated win at No. 65 in the RPI.
"We're a pretty confident group," said head coach Andy Kennedy in Monday's media opportunity. "We have won four straight. It's just the next game for us. It's obviously a huge opportunity anytime you get a chance to play a team in the top 60 in the RPI. We all know how the RPI is balanced where they give you a lot more weight if you find a way to break through on the road because everyone realizes how difficult that is."
Different Tennessee Team From Last Year
With the return of Jeronne Maymon from injury and the addition of Memphis transfer Antonio Barton, it's a different Tennessee team from last year's two meetings, which were both Ole Miss wins. Jordan McRae leads the team, averaging 18.5 points per game, while Maymon and Jarnell Stokes combine for 24.6 points and 17.8 rebounds per game.
Stokes and Maymon are ranked second and third, respectively, in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding. As a team, Tennessee ranks second in the SEC in rebounding margin at +8.9 rebounds per game, and leads the league limiting opponents to 30.6 rebounds per game. The Volunteers also lead the league in defensive rebound percentage (71.5 percent), and rank second in offensive rebound percentage (41.7 percent).
"This (Tennessee) group has experienced a lot, and they're big and physical, so we have to make sure we buckle that chinstrap and understand that there will be nothing easy in Knoxville," Kennedy said.
Ole Miss' Formula For Success
For Ole Miss, the formula for success, as Kennedy said Monday, is pretty simple. It starts with Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers, who are both ranked in the top eight among scorers in the SEC.
Henderson leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation averaging 4.19 3-pointers per game, and has hit a 3-pointer in a school record 52-straight games. Summers has increased his scoring by 8.9 points per game from last season, and ranks in the top five in the SEC in both assists (3.6 assists/game) and field goal percentage (51.7 percent).
"Marshall and Jarvis are playing as well as any guards not only in the SEC but in college basketball," said Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin on Monday's SEC teleconference. "Jarvis is putting up tremendous numbers, as far as 55 percent from 3-point line and 50 percent from the field at the point guard position. He's physically strong. Marshall does what he's good at doing, which is making shots, getting open and making plays."
Ole Miss also has to get contributions from a number of different guys, particularly in the frontcourt. Anthony Perez has averaged 14.7 points per game over the last three games, including a career-high 22 points at South Carolina.
Aaron Jones is ranked third in the SEC with 2.6 blocks per game, and has pulled down double-digit rebounds in three of the last four games, while Sebastian Saiz has averaged 8.0 rebounds per game over the last four games.
Martavious Newby, another one of those contributors, will be out at least this week as he recovers from a hand injury suffered in Saturday's win over Mississippi State. With Newby's injury, LaDarius White, Derrick Millinghaus and Janari Joesaar will have expanded roles on the perimeter, and it could also mean more minutes for the players in the frontcourt.
"There's an opportunity there," said Kennedy on Monday's SEC teleconference. "And as we discussed after the (Mississippi State) game, even though his numbers don't jump off the page at you, people who cover us understand the importance of Newby and the energy and toughness that he brings. He's probably our best on-ball defender on the perimeter, so there are a number of different areas that he was very helpful to us. We will have to do it by committee, whether that's a guy playing a few more minutes here or there in different combinations, or opportunities for new guys. That will all be determined moving forward."
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy met with members of the media Monday, ahead of the Rebels traveling to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Tennessee Volunteers on Wednesday night (7 p.m. CT, SEC Network).
On Tennessee being comparable to Ole Miss:
They're a little different that us. They're really physical up front. Last year, they didn't have (Jeronne) Maymon, and now he's back. When you talk about him and (Jarnell) Stokes, that's a heck of a tag team. They're both built, physical kids. They're skilled. It's a little different matchup for us, as it relates to the physicality that they're going to present up front.
And then when you throw in Jordan McRae in there, you're talking about two of those guys are seniors and a junior who has played a lot of minutes. Jordan McRae is probably as explosive a scorer from the wing as there is in our league. He's a guy who has a chance to be Player of the Year in the league. They picked up a fifth-year guy in Antonio Barton, who transferred from Memphis. He's experienced and has played in big games before.
They have a number of different weapons. They have size off their bench. We had success in there last year simply because we went in and made a bunch of baskets. We scored 92 points, and if we can do that again this year, I would feel better about our chances, but that remains to be seen.
On what Florida did to limit Tennessee offensively in the Gators' 67-41 win on Saturday:
They really struggled shooting the ball. Florida is the best defensive team in our league and one of the best in the country. They don't lose many in Gator Alley. The best of the best have been in there and left with their heads down simply because they take you out of offense and they don't give you second-chance opportunities. Tennessee is very good off the offensive glass, so Florida was good in their first-shot defense, limiting them getting any second-chance opportunities and kept them out of rhythm the whole game.
On defending Tennessee compared to defending LSU:
It's different based on the physical makeup of their team. When you think LSU, I think long and athletic. They have smaller guards, but their frontline with Jordan Mickey, (Johnny O'Bryant) and Jerrell Martin are all very long and athletic, and really inexperienced with two of those kids being freshmen. This (Tennessee) group has experienced a lot, and they're big and physical, so we have to make sure we buckle that chinstrap and understand that there will be nothing easy in Knoxville.
On what a win at Tennessee would do for the team's confidence:
We're a pretty confident group. We have won four straight. It's just the next game for us. It's obviously a huge opportunity anytime you get a chance to play a team in the top 60 in the RPI. We all know how the RPI is balanced where they give you a lot more weight if you find a way to break through on the road because everyone realizes how difficult that is.
Florida and us are the only two teams in the league with multiple road wins to this point. That again speaks to how difficult it is to go in and win on the road. We'll formulate a game plan, and hopefully when the moments arise, our players will rise up and make a play and that will ultimately decide it.
On the four-game winning streak dating back to the win over LSU:
Our formula is pretty simple, and you will hear me say this all year. Jarvis has established himself as one of the best guards in the league, and he's playing that way. He's playing with a lot of confidence, and we have a lot of confidence in him. He's given us leadership that is above and beyond. Marshall is Marshall. Marshall is the only guy in the country who can go 4-for-15 and be the lead story. He's the only guy can go 2-for-12 and be the MVP of the game. He's a different guy. He has an ability to make shots, and he made a lot of them in there last year, so I'm sure a lot of attention will be paid toward him, and we have to do a good job of playing off that. He has to make his share, and then we have to play the way the defense determines.
We have to get contributions from a number of different guys, and we're getting those. Anthony Perez has put together the best three-game run of his early career. Sebas(tian) (Saiz) is continuing to produce for us. AJ (Aaron Jones) is getting more and more confident as we approach the year anniversary of his knee injury. He's getting more confident in understanding his role, not as a spot guy, but a guy who is instrumental in us winning or losing. Dwight Coleby is starting to help us a little bit more. Bear (Demarco Cox) is showing he's certainly capable. We got to get Snoop (White), Derrick (Millinghaus), and Janari (Joesaar) will have an expanded role with the injury to Newby, so we have to continue to get contributions from a number of different guys.
On any discipline for Marshall Henderson from his exchange of words with Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray:
Rick, at the end of the game in the hallway, when I was done with the media, he came up to me and apologized and said that he had said something to Marshall. I didn't even know what he was talking about. I see it on the tape, and the camera caught him mouthing something. That's not an issue for us. I don't foresee anything happening moving forward from our standpoint.
On players' awareness of the RPI:
I got the United Nations in my locker room. I hit them with the APR, GPA, and I'm not even sure they know what NCAA is, most of them. You're inundated with it. They watch college basketball like we watch college basketball, and it's talked about 24/7. They obviously understand. Now, they probably don't get the formula; I don't get the formula. Sometimes I think I figured it out, and then something happens, and the line shifts on me sporadically.
We're through a third of the SEC season. That's hard to believe, and it's easier to break it down that way. We're through 6 of the 18 (league games). We went 5-1, and if we can do that in the next two quadrants, we'll be in pretty good shape. We understand the importance of the game. The guys know that Tennessee is a good basketball team, and they will know it exponentially after we go through it the next 48 hours.
On Sebastian Saiz and Aaron Jones being more assertive and physical inside:
We are getting more physical. AJ is becoming more confident in his ability to bounce up and get out-of-area rebounds, which is something we needs to do for us. Sebas is getting more experienced in understanding what he needs to do to grab them at this level. Our guards are getting better. Anthony is helping us in that regard. Sometimes we play him at the 3, and sometimes we play him at the 4. Marshall and Jarvis's rebounding numbers have gone up since we have gotten into league play. We're second in the league -- one blocked shot behind LSU -- for the blocked shots lead in the league in SEC play and leading the league in field goal percentage defense, from an efficiency standpoint, in league play. We're doing a lot of good things on that side of the ball with turnover margin, and rebounding percentages have gone up.
We were trying to block too many shots and taking ourselves out of position. We didn't understand when to go and when not to go. Many times you get blocked shots off the ball. If it's an off-the-ball big, and he doesn't get it, then you're pretty naked on the other side of the rim, and that's where we were really getting hurt with second shots. Our guys are doing a better job of understanding when to go, and we have really tried to emphasize guards getting to the level of the ball, so when they do go to block a shot, we have bodies on bodies on the other side of the ball.
On Dwight Coleby's minutes changing with the injury to Martavious Newby:
I'm trying to get more out of him because he gives us an athleticism and a big physical body who's probably more similar to Reggie, from his ability to block a shot than even AJ, even though AJ blocks a lot of shots. Coleby gives us more of that Reggie basket protector, and so I'm trying to get him to go. He's a freshman, and these are high-level games, and I'm not quite as patient as I am right now.
On Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon being a measuring stick for the Ole Miss frontcourt:
It's going to be a challenge. They're two of the best in the league, and they're going to present some issues for us. Through six games, we know who we are, and we have to do a better job of being disciplined and playing to our strengths.
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review (Jan. 20-26)
Jan. 20-26, 2014
- Men's hoops ran its record to 5-1 in SEC play with a pair of wins over Vanderbilt and Mississippi State last week.
- The Rebels have won four in a row in conference play and are now 25-8 in their last 33 games against SEC foes dating back to 2012.
- Ole Miss' 19-point, blowout win over MSU was the largest margin of victory over the Bulldogs since downing MSU 84-61 in Oxford in 1997.
- The win at Vanderbilt marked the first time in school history the Rebels have won games at Memorial Gym in back-to-back seasons.
- Jarvis Summers scored 19 points against MSU and became the 35th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark in his Ole Miss career.
- The Rebels went 1-1 on the week, highlighted by a thrilling 87-85 overtime win over in-state rival Mississippi State. Kenyotta Jenkins scored on a putback with just one second left on the clock to give the Rebels (10-11, 1-6 SEC) their first SEC win. The win was also the first SEC victory for first-year head coach Matt Insell.
- Tia Faleru picked up her 10th double-double of the season with 29 points and 15 rebounds against Mississippi State. Faleru's 10 double-doubles lead the SEC and are the most for an Ole Miss player since Nikki Byrd had 12 during the 2011-12 season.
- Valencia McFarland posted her third consecutive game of 20+ points with 27 against Mississippi State. She also tied her career high with 12 assists. She played her third consecutive game of 40 or more points against the Bulldogs. She averaged 26.6 points during that span.
- McFarland is now 48 points away from her 1,500th career point. She will become the seventh 1,500-point scorer in program history. Faleru is also nearing her 1,000th point, as she is just 204 points away from the milestone. She will become the 17th 1,000-point scorer in program history.
- Shequila Joseph nailed five triples against the Bulldogs, a career-best and season-best for the Rebels against Mississippi State.
Track & Field
- Ole Miss athletes collected three event wins, two facility records, one school record and more than 30 indoor personal-best marks over the two-day Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational.
- Competing against a couple of nationally ranked teams and several SEC squads, the No. 16 Ole Miss men were led by Sam Kendricks' facility record 18-2.75 in the pole vault, Daniel Bulmer's school-record 4:02.80 mile (in his first-ever race as a Rebel), and Robert Domanic's 3,000-meter title in 8:12.04.
- Freshman sprinter Jalen Miller also shined for the Rebel men, posting the best 60-meter time among collegians in Nashville with his 6.69, and placing second in the 200 meters with a personal-best 21.41.
- Ole Miss athletes who rank among the top 25 nationally in their events include Kendricks (No. 1 pole vault - 18-4.75), Phillip Young (No. 6 triple jump - 52-2.5), Bulmer (No. 13 mile - 4:02.80), Miller (No. 14 60m - 6.67), Mike Granger (No. 17 60m - 6.69), Robert Semien (No. 23 60m hurdles - 7.91), Fabia McDonald (No. 5 pentathlon - 3,989; No. 11 long jump - 20-3.5) and Kierra White (No. 21 long jump - 20-0.25).
- The Rebels went 1-1 at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Tuscaloosa, Ala., to finish 2-1 for the week, after a season-opening 7-0 win over Jackson State. In the loss to No. 34 Oklahoma in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off, the match was much closer than the final score. The doubles point came down to a tiebreaker at No. 2. When the Sooners clinched, the Rebels were winning in two of the three remaining singles matches.
- The Rebels rebounded from the disappointing loss to Oklahoma to dominate No. 40 William & Mary 4-0 in the consolation match of the ITA Kick-Off. In the win, the Rebels did not drop a set in avenging a 4-3 loss to the Tribe last year. In fact, the Rebels only lost 10 games total in the two doubles and three singles matches they won to clinch the victory.
- Freshman Zalina Khairudinova made her dual match debut last week and finished 5-1 in singles and doubles in three matches. Her only loss in singles came down to a third-set supertiebreaker against Oklahoma. In the other two matches, she only lost five games total in singles and doubles. Khairudinova and junior Julia Jones are off to a 5-0 start this spring, including 3-0 in dual matches at No. 3 doubles. They have lost only five games total in the five matches they've played together this spring.
- The Rebels begin a four-match homestand this Saturday, Feb. 1 with Jacksonville State at 10 a.m. Fans can enjoy free pizza between doubles and singles.
- The Rebels went 0-2 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, losing two tight matches to No. 26 Michigan and No. 25 Clemson. It marked the first time the Rebels did not advance to the National Team Indoor Final 16 when hosting the first and second rounds.
- Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 nationally, won both his singles matches in straight sets to improve to 11-5 on the year. Scholtz will be competing for his home country, South Africa, this weekend in Davis Cup play in Pretoria, SA. It marks the third time for him to represent his country in the Davis Cup.
- Senior Johan Backstrom also won both his singles matches in straight sets to improve to 34-27 in dual matches for his career.
- The Rebels have annually ranked among the nation's attendance leaders. Saturday they had 575 fans for their opening round match of the ITA Kick-Off.
- The Rebels competed in the Withrow Invitational this past weekend in Murray, Ky. The team shot a 4623 aggregate, including 2284 in smallbore and 2239 in air rifle.
- Freshman Ali Weisz continues to pace the Rebels, as she led the team with an aggregate of 1162, including a 588 in air rifle and 574 in smallbore.
- The Rebels are back in action Feb. 5 at Memphis, before hosting Navy on Feb. 8.
Men's basketball at Tennessee - 7:00 p.m.
Women's basketball at South Carolina - 6:00 p.m.
Women's tennis vs. Jacksonville State - 10:00 a.m.
Men's basketball vs. South Carolina - 12:30 p.m.
Women's basketball vs. Florida - 1:00 p.m.
Full transcript of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin and South Carolina head coach Frank Martin. The Rebels travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Volunteers on Wednesday (7 p.m., SEC Network) and then return home to play the Gamecocks on Saturday (12:30 p.m., SEC Network).
Ole Miss Head Coach Andy Kennedy
It's a big challenge going into Knoxville Wednesday night. Cuonzo has a very good basketball team, anchored by those two big boys up front. Jordan McRae is having a Player of the Year-type season to this point, so we know there will be a number of challenges that we will have to face.
On Martavious Newby's surgery and timetable for his return:
We don't know as far as timetable. The surgery was successful. They put a plate in his hand. If it was a football player, they would tape it up, pad it, and he could probably play within a week or so based on pain tolerance. With it involving the ability to catch the ball, that's not an option for us. It will be a day-to-day thing. He will certainly be out this week, and honestly it will be week-to-week depending on how quickly he responds to the procedure.
On replacing Martavious Newby:
There's an opportunity there. And as we discussed after the (Mississippi State) game, even though his numbers don't jump off the page at you, people who cover us understand the importance of Newby and the energy and toughness that he brings. He's probably our best on-ball defender on the perimeter, so there are a number of different areas that he was very helpful to us. We will have to do it by committee, whether that's a guy playing a few more minutes here or there in different combinations, or opportunities for new guys. That will all be determined moving forward.
On Ole Miss leading the SEC with 7.1 blocked shots per game:
Last year, we lost the all-time leading shot-blocker in the history of our program and a guy who I think finished in the top five in the SEC's history in Reginald Buckner. This year, it's a little different. We're doing it by committee. Aaron Jones is leading our team. He is very active, he has quick hands, and he is long. He's a different shot-blocker than Reg, though, in that he probably does as much on the perimeter as he does at the basket. He's really quick off his feet and he has the ability to get his hand on a lot of balls.
And then the rest of our guys, everybody just has that skill set. Juan Sebastian Saiz, one of our true freshmen, is really long and has good timing. Dwight Coleby is starting to round into shape after an early season injury, and he's athletic at the basket. Demarco Cox, our other big, has length and size at the rim. It's just really who we are. We have to make good decisions, as to when do we try to block the shot and when to stay in rebounding position. We had some real issues leading into conference play. We have gotten a little better once we have gotten in league play about taking ourselves out of rebounding position by trying to block too many shots. As we have garnered more experience, because we're relatively young up front, guys are having a better of sense in when to go try to block the shot.
On riding a wave of momentum with four straight wins:
The numbers say that we have won four in a row, so I certainly like those numbers. Other than that, we're just trying to get a little better. We're getting contributions from different guys, whether it is some of the young guys I just mentioned or Anthony Perez, who played very little last year. He's probably had his best three-game stretch in his career, as he's garnering more confidence. He's being more productive. As a whole, we're getting contributions from new guys, and as a result, we're playing a little better.
Tennessee Head Coach Cuonzo Martin
We play a very talented Ole Miss team. They're playing very well, 5-1 in league play. They're shooting the ball well. Marshall and Jarvis are playing as well as any guards not only in the SEC but in college basketball. Jarvis is putting up tremendous numbers, as far at 55 percent from 3-point line and 50 percent from the field at the point guard position. He's physical strong. Marshall does what he's good at doing, which is making shots, getting open and making plays. They are a very talented team and do a great job of using their big guys diving to the basket and making plays.
On Jarnell Stokes:
He's done a great job. He comes in and watches film. He was in the gym this morning working out. He's seeing the floor a lot better and making plays. He's better off the dribble. He's aggressive in making moves to the basket. He's rebounding the ball well on both ends of the floor. He's always been a good offensive rebounder, but he's doing a better of getting defensive rebounds and boxing out. He's playing good basketball overall.
South Carolina Head Coach Frank Martin
Once again, we're excited to play at home. It feels like we have played at home one time all month. Getting around our fans will be great for our players. We play (Texas) A&M, which we just went head-to-head with here shortly ago and then have to turn around, travel again and play at Ole Miss. I'm coaching against two guys with whom I have great personal relationships with and respect tremendously. Both have really good teams. It's an exciting week for us, as every day is, when we realize how lucky we are with what we get to do every day.
On the team's sense of urgency with a 0-6 SEC record:
That is what my job title is directly tied to. I can't put winning games above winning people. Right now, we have to continue to make our guys understand that we're trying to win people. If we can figure out a way to keep our kids excited and connected with who we are, and that we're not that far off, rather than solely focused in on winning and losing games, then that will happen. And eventually, when you win one, your kids feel better because we're so young that you don't them to get discouraged because everyone who reaches out to them in social media is probably discouraged that we're not winning.
My job is to make sure that our guys continue to stay encouraged because we are close. You're at Missouri, and you are down two possessions with 50 seconds to go, so you're right there. You get a stop, make a shot, and now it's a one-possession game, but it didn't happen. We're fighting our tails off to put ourselves in the same place where we could have two, three or four conference wins right now, so we have to keep our kids focused on that.
On progress when looking at the game within the game:
I'm extremely proud of my kids. I have been unhappy after one game, and that was the Georgia game. We did not fight and we never gave ourselves a chance to win. That's the only game that I have been unhappy about. Early in the year, we went into Oklahoma State, and they made the run in the first half, and we fell apart. We just went into Missouri, which is very comparable and very similar to Oklahoma State, and an equal home-court environment. We got down I think 11-0, and next you thing know, it's 20-16, so we have grown as a team.
That's my job. It's to keep my guys focused. My kids are really young, and they don't understand anything yet. I don't have any upperclassmen to make them understand reality. It's my job to get them connected with the fact that even though we might not be getting the results from a win-loss standpoint that we are a better basketball team and these are the reasons why. That way they stay excited about what we're doing, which they are right now, and we can continue to progress.
Ole Miss avenged its 76-72 loss to Mississippi State earlier this season, as the Rebels routed the Bulldogs 82-63 Saturday in Oxford. With the win, Ole Miss improves to 14-5 overall and 5-1 in Southeastern Conference play.
"We have to do a good job of protecting home floor," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We let three get away from us, one possession here and one possession there, and those are things that still sting. The challenge was to come in and do what you're supposed to do and that's protect home floor."
The Rebels' two leading scorers, Marshall Henderson and Jarvis Summers, each finished with 19 points, but it's the contributions from the supporting cast that have lifted the Rebels during the current four-game winning streak dating back to their win over LSU on Jan. 15.
LaDarius White joined Henderson and Summers in double figures with 11 points, his fourth game in doubles figures since the start of SEC play. Sebastian Saiz and Aaron Jones each finished with double-digit rebounds, while Anthony Perez added nine points and seven rebounds.
"We need Marshall and Jarvis to be all-league caliber players, and to this point, they're both playing as such," Kennedy said. "And then we have to get contributions from different people. We knew coming into the year that the biggest void was along our frontline.
"We're having to do it by committee, and Anthony is getting more comfortable, and as those freshmen get more minutes, we will see more production."
Moving forward, however, Ole Miss will be without Martavious Newby, who suffered a broken hand and will have surgery Monday. Kennedy was unsure if it was a season-ending injury.
"He's a difference-maker," Kennedy said. "We have nobody on our team now that can fill the role that Martavious Newby did. He was starting to emerge and help us in that role.
"Everybody talked about Anthony and the 22 points he had at South Carolina. Martavious Newby came in and changed the entire flow of the game in the second half by having three steals and keeping two balls alive, which led to baskets that got us back in it. That's the energy and toughness on the ball that he brings."
The Rebels return to action next Wednesday, as they travel to Knoxville, Tenn., to play the Tennessee Volunteers. Ole Miss is currently No. 61 in the RPI, while Tennessee is No. 50, according to ESPN. It marks the first of four games against an opponent with an RPI in the top 50, with Missouri just outside at No 53.
QUOTABLE: "This is not a popular answer, because when people think Mississippi State-Ole Miss, they think Egg Bowl and it's the season-ender. And regardless of what happens in that game, both teams have an opportunity to exhale and then prepare for whatever is next.
"For us, you can't put that much emphasis on it. It's important to me. A lot of people get a little more excited about this game than they do for the others. For us, it has to be a workman-like approach because we play every three days, and at the end of the day, this is one of 31. I'm certainly glad for Rebel Nation that we gave them something to be excited about." -- Andy Kennedy, on the Ole Miss-Mississippi State rivalry
Ole Miss meets Mississippi State for the 249th time Saturday in the Southeastern Conference's most-played rivalry, as the Rebels look to avenge their lone SEC loss of the season on their home court. In their last meeting, Mississippi State (13-5, 3-2 SEC) defeated Ole Miss 76-72 in Starkville, Miss., but the Rebels (13-5, 4-1 SEC) were without leading scorer Marshall Henderson (18.7 points per game).
"For us, we have a better feel having played them," head coach Andy Kennedy said on Monday's SEC teleconference. "It's crazy how the schedule works -- you don't play some teams until the end of the season, and we play our in-state rival twice in a two-week period -- but we will do what we do.
"Marshall was a part of our team through 12 of our first 13 games, and then he had to sit out the first two league games, but now he's back and he will have had three games under his belt heading into that game, so infusing him into what we do will not be any different."
The reigning SEC Player of the Week, Henderson is averaging 18.3 points per game over the three games since his return from suspension -- all Ole Miss wins, including a pair of road wins at South Carolina and Vanderbilt.
"Well we just look at it one game at a time, but it's good for us," said Kennedy after Wednesday's 63-52 win at Vanderbilt. "It's never easy on the road, and for us to win two of our first three shows that this team is maturing. Every game is close for us, and every game is hard, and I think our guys are starting to do a better job of that."
Henderson ranks seventh in the SEC in scoring and leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation averaging 4.33 3-pointers per game. Henderson also became the fourth player in school history to join the 1,000-point club in just two seasons.
"It changes their team because you got a guy who's a vocal point of their offense now," said Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray of Henderson after the Bulldogs' 82-74 win over Auburn Wednesday night. "And the thing that is amazing about Marshall Henderson, no matter what people think about him, he cuts so hard 30 to 35 minutes a game.
"It's really amazing that he can cut that hard for 30 to 35 minutes like that and still make shots. And that changes the perspective of their team. And now you have a guy like (Jarvis) Summers, who's a really good player but he becomes a secondary guy, so it becomes a pick your poison as far as far as how you're going to defend them."
Summers is second on the team and ranks eighth in the SEC in scoring, (17.9 points per game), having increased his scoring 8.8 ppg over his average last season. The Rebels have also gotten increased production from their frontcourt.
Aaron Jones leads the team and ranks ninth in the SEC in rebounding, averaging 7.2 boards per game. He posted his second career double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds against LSU, and then posted eight points, 10 boards, five blocked shots and three steals against Vanderbilt.
Sebastian Saiz scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds against LSU, while Anthony Perez has scored in double figures back-to-back games, including a career-high 22 points against South Carolina.
For Mississippi State (13-5, 3-2 SEC), Craig Sword leads the team in scoring, averaging 14.5 points per game. Sword scored all 15 of his points in the two teams' last meeting from the free-throw line, having made more free throws than Ole Miss had attempted as a team.
On Jan. 15, 2013, senior guard Marshall Henderson entered the college basketball consciousness and put Ole Miss basketball back on the map.
Vanderbilt had hit a go-ahead 3 to give the Commodores a 78-75 lead over Ole Miss with 3.2 seconds left in regulation. Moments later, Henderson threw in a 35-footer at the buzzer to send the game to overtime, as Ole Miss downed Vanderbilt 89-79, the third of six-straight wins to open Southeastern Conference play last year.
"We didn't call a timeout," head coach Andy Kennedy said of the play. "We got the ball in the guy's hands that we wanted. I would give Jarvis (Summers) more credit than I would give anybody else because he was the one that didn't panic and got Marshall to at least where he was square to the basket. And then he knocked down a shot at the end of a crazy game.
"As we're preparing for (Vanderbilt), I always go back to the last time we were in the venue, and they hit a Memorial Gym record number of 3s. It was one after another after another after another. For us to withstand that and still find a way to win and still to garner some momentum in our 6-0 start was huge."
It was the first of many memorable moments for Henderson and last year's team, as the Rebels returned to Nashville and won the Southeastern Conference tournament championship to clinch the program's first NCAA Tournament bid since 2001.
"It was just one game, but honestly it was probably the jump-off to this phenomenon that has continued 365 days later: Marshall Henderson phenomenon," Kennedy said. "That was closely followed up by us winning at Auburn and the jersey popping, and this thing took on a life of its own."
A year later, the phenomenon continues, and Henderson ranks second in the SEC in scoring averaging 19.2 points per game. He also leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation averaging 4.43 3-pointers per game and has hit a 3-pointer in a school record 50-straight games.
The Hurst, Texas native was named SEC Player of the Week, the league office announced Monday. He averaged 22.0 points and 3.5 assists per game in wins over LSU and South Carolina, and now he returns to where the phenomenon started: Memorial Gym and a Wednesday night matchup with the Vanderbilt Commodores.
"He presents unusual challenges because of his shot-making ability," Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings said. "He has such great ability to make difficult shots. Most great scorers just know how to get themselves -- or their coaches get them -- to the shots that they can make time after time.
"The deal with Henderson is he can just make more difficult shots. They run really good screening action for him, and he is a very fast cutter. He's unique in the way that he can score and really score in bunches. He can get them in flurries -- two, three or four in a row. I would say that he's unique in the way that he goes about it."
Ole Miss Athletics Week In Review
Jan. 13-19, 2014
This is a new feature we're going to do each week on the blog. Each Monday we will recap everything that has happened in the past week in Ole Miss athletics, and we will also list a schedule of upcoming games, matches and meets.
- Senior guard Marshall Henderson was named SEC Player of the Week after posting 22.0 points and 3.5 assists in a pair of wins last week.
- Sophomore forward Anthony Perez scored a career-high 22 points in a road win at South Carolina. It was the Rebels' first win in Columbia since 2001.
- Freshman forward Sebastian Saiz scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the overtime win over LSU on Wednesday. Ole Miss outscored the Tigers 19-5 in the overtime period to blow past LSU.
Track & Field
- The No. 16 Ole Miss men and the Rebel women performed well against high-level indoor track & field competition at last weekend's Auburn Invitational in Birmingham, Ala., led by another meet record by pole vaulter Sam Kendricks.
- Kendricks set a meet record and bested the next closest vaulter by a foot and a half with his winning clearance of 18-0.5. It was the second straight weekend that he set a meet record, as he established the nation's best vault of the indoor season a week earlier with his school-record 18-4.75 at the UAB Blazer Invitational en route to SEC Men's Field Athlete of the Week honors.
- Other highlights included senior Phillip Young in the triple jump (52-2.5), freshman Jalen Miller in the 60 meters (6.67) and 200 meters (21.45), sophomore Onyi Afoaku in the weight throw (62-10.75), and freshman Robert Domanic in the mile (4:07.20), all of which rank highly in the NCAA this year.
- For the women, senior Fabia McDonald had a strong pentathlon score of 3,989 (just off her school record of 4,005) that ranks her second nationally this year.
- The No. 11 ranked Rebels participated in the MLK Invitational hosted by Georgia Tech Jan. 18-20.
- The round robin format included doubles and singles against Georgia Tech, No. 3 Georgia and No. 21 Memphis. No team scoring was in effect.
- Nik Scholtz, ranked No. 15 nationally, went 2-1 in singles to lead the Rebels. Scholtz also teamed up with Johan Backstrom in doubles for the first time − after two years with former All-American Jonas Lutjen − and the pair defeated 12th-ranked Hernus Pieters and Ben Wagland from Georgia.
- Ole Miss hosts the ITA Kickoff Weekend Jan. 25-26. The Rebels face No. 26 Michigan Saturday at 10 a.m. The regional also includes No. 22 Illinois and No. 23 Clemson.
- The Rebels participated in the Michigan Invitational Jan. 18-20 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The team played singles and doubles against No. 11 Michigan, No. 21 Georgia Tech and South Florida.
- Junior Julia Jones and sophomore Marija Milutinovic went 2-1 in singles. Jones improved to 11-4 on the year and Milutinovic improved to 8-4.
- Freshman Zalina Khairudinova made her debut for the Rebels, going 1-1 in singles and 2-0 in doubles with Julia Jones.
- The Rebels host Jackson State Wednesday, Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. at the Gillom Sports Center in their home and dual match opener. Admission is free and fans will receive an Ole Miss tennis t-shirt and enjoy popcorn between doubles and singles.
- Ole Miss went 0-2 on the week with an 80-74 loss to No. 24/25 Vanderbilt, and a heartbreaking 68-65 road loss to Arkansas. Ole Miss is now 9-10 on the year and 0-5 in SEC play.
- Valencia McFarland set a new career-high against Vanderbilt with 28 points, besting her previous mark of 25 set against Alabama in 2010-11
- Tia Faleru picked up her fifth game or 20 or more points with 20 points against Vanderbilt, she has reached the 20+ mark six times in her career.
- Faleru is nearing the 1,000-point mark, as she is just 245 points from the milestone. She would become Ole Miss' 17th 1,000-point scorer.
- Monique Jackson posted her first game in double-figures this season with a career-high 11 points and six rebounds, going 5-of-5 from the field against Arkansas.
- After an almost two-month break, the Rebels began the spring season hosting No. 4 Jacksonville State and No. 5 Nebraska.
- The Rebels posted a season-high aggregate of 4637, falling to Nebraska (4643) by just six shots. Jacksonville State finished with a 4655.
- Senior Alivia Yeager shot a season-high 577 in smallbore to lead the Rebels. She finished with a season-high aggregate of 1157.
- Freshman Alison Weisz tied her season-best with a 591 in air rifle. Weisz, with a 567 in smallbore, eclipsed her season average in aggregate with a season-high total of 1158.
- Senior Abbey Stanec scored above her average in total aggregate with an 1165.
Men's tennis - Georgia Tech Invitational - All Day
Women's tennis - Michigan Invitational - All Day
Women's tennis vs. Jackson State - 2:00 p.m.
Men's basketball at Vanderbilt - 8:00 p.m.
Women's basketball vs. Mississippi State - 6:00 p.m.
Track & Field - Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational - All Day
Men's tennis vs. Michigan - 10:00 a.m.
Women's tennis vs. Oklahoma - 2:00 p.m. (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Men's basketball vs. Mississippi State - 3:00 p.m.
Track & Field - Vanderbilt Indoor Invitational - All Day
Rifle - Withrow Invitational - 8:00 a.m. (Murray, Ky.)
Women's basketball vs. LSU - 1:00 p.m.
Men's tennis vs. Clemson/Illinois - TBA (Oxford, Miss.)
Women's tennis vs. Alabama/William & Mary - TBA (Tuscaloosa, Ala.)
Head coach Andy Kennedy and sophomore forward Anthony Perez met with members of the media Monday to preview Wednesday's night game at Vanderbilt.
Head coach Andy Kennedy looked back on Saturday's 75-74 win at South Carolina and looked ahead to Wednesday night's game at Vanderbilt, as well as discussed senior guard Marshall Henderson's last-second shot to force overtime at Vanderbilt last year and the emergence of sophomore forward Anthony Perez.
Sophomore forward Anthony Perez talked about his career-high 22 points in Saturday's 75-74 win at South Carolina. It was his first career 20-point game, having averaged 4.5 points per game entering the game.
Selected questions and answers from Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings and Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray. The Rebels travel to Nashville, Tenn., to play the Commodores on Wednesday night (8 p.m., CSS) and then return home to host the Bulldogs on Saturday (3 p.m., SEC Network).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
It's week three of the SEC grind going into a very difficult place to play at Vanderbilt Wednesday night and then following up against Mississippi State, who we just faced a couple of weeks ago, at home on Saturday. It's two more challenges for us.
On close and overtime games:
For us, it's ultimately a window into who we are. We have played 17 games and we are over halfway through our season, and we have played a lot of close games. Not only did we play the three overtime games, but almost every game we play is a one possession here or there that is going to determine winning and losing.
We better be comfortable in the chaos, which are close games, because that's who we are. A team does grow in the more times you're in a tight situation, and you would hope that guys learn from it and be able to use it to their advantage as the season continues.
On playing Mississippi State for the second time:
For us, we have a better feel having played them. It's crazy how the schedule works -- you don't play some teams until the end of the season, and we play our in-state rival twice in a two-week period -- but we will do what we do.
Marshall was a part of our team through 12 of our first 13 games, and then he had to sit out the first two league games, but now he's back and he will have had three games under his belt heading into that games, so infusing him into what we do will not be any different.
Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings
We had a good win and got our butts kicked, so we had an up-and-down week last week, and we're still trying to strive to achieve some consistency, but we're relatively healthy.
It's a big week. Mississippi seems to be playing very well right now, and we have had some really close, competitive games with them. We'll have to be very, very read in all phases to play them. They can really score it. They are big and athletic inside. (Jarvis) Summers looks like he's having a terrific year. We know that we have our hands full, but we look forward to getting back into action on Wednesday.
On Marshall Henderson and Texas A&M's Jamal Jones as scorers:
The big thing is having a constant awareness as to where they are at, their proximity to the ball and maybe the angles and the paths that they like to take to get to their shots. It's just a heightened awareness to where great scorers are at all times because that's what makes them great scorers. It is their ability to get to their spot and shot quickly and create a good result from it.
More than anything else, it's a terrific awareness on everybody's part as to where guys like that are.
On Marshall Henderson as an X-Factor for Ole Miss:
He presents unusual challenges because of his shot-making ability. He has such great ability to make difficult shots. Most great scorers just know how to get themselves -- or their coaches get them -- to the shots that they can make time after time.
The deal with Henderson is he can just make more difficult shots. They run really good screening action for him, and he is a very fast cutter. He's unique in the way that he can score and really score in bunches. He can get them in flurries -- two, three or four in a row. I would say that he's unique in the way that he goes about it.
On the defenses Marshall Henderson faces being a compliment to him as an offensive player:
The defenses that he probably sees in every game that they play is a compliment to his scoring prowess because people try all sorts of different things, but he still gets his shots and points. A lot of times when you have a great scorer like that, the more you keep it out of their hands, the better chance you feel like you have.
He's going to get his touches and shots, and thus he's going to get his points because he's going to make shots.
On Marshall Henderson's last-second shot to force overtime at Vanderbilt last year
I was thinking about refraining from doing what my instincts were telling me to do to one of own players for making the mistake to let him get to that shot, which was completely unnecessary and uncalled for, but nevertheless, I wasn't surprised that it went in because he's a great shot-maker.
As far as him being on the move, he doesn't get many shots standing still because people key on him so heavily. I don't know that he's better on the move or better standing still. He just doesn't get to shoot a lot of shots standing still because there is such an awareness of him on the part of the defense that he's having to make great and difficult cuts to get to the shots that he attempts.
But again, it speaks to his great shot-making ability because he doesn't get very many easy looks, and he puts up great numbers at a good percentage. There's a lot to admire there relative to the task that he has to get himself open, or to utilize screens to get open, and then to convert.
Mississippi State head coach Rick Ray
It was a huge win for us against Texas A&M. They came in SEC play leading in field-goal percentage and scoring defense, and I knew it was going to be a grind-out ball game, and I was really disappointed in our team at Alabama in how we shot the ball so early in the shot clock and didn't share the ball.
It was imperative that our guys realized that with the way Texas A&M plays, it was going to be a grind, and it was. To pull off that win, we had to have that mindset. I'm looking forward to more SEC play.
Three takeaways from Ole Miss' 88-74 overtime win over LSU on Wednesday night:
1. Rebels Finish The Drill
Ole Miss had lost its previous two overtime games and each of its three other losses were by four points or less, but Wednesday night against LSU, the Rebels made the plays down the stretch to force overtime and then outscored the Tigers 19-5 in overtime.
"It was an overall pretty solid performance out of our guys, and it sets a new standard," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "This is what we're capable of, if we take the right approach, so now it's my job to make I hold them to that standard."
"All of the games have been so close," Marshall Henderson said. It's unbelievable. Every single one of our losses, we could have won, a play here or a play there. It's so frustrating, but we know that we're right there. Anything can happen still; there are 15 SEC games left. We're hoping this is one that we can string it together."
LaDarius White hit a three-pointer with 2:16 left to cut LSU's lead to 67-65. And then in the final minute of regulation, Jarvis Summers hit a jumper in the lane to tie the game at 69-69. On the other end, senior guard Marshall Henderson forced a missed shot by Anthony Hickey in the closing seconds, and White grabbed the defensive rebound to force overtime.
In overtime, the Rebels scored the first 11 points, including a five-point swing to extend the lead to 76-69 with an offensive rebound and put-back by Sebastian Saiz, who was fouled, followed by a 3-pointer by Henderson off the missed free throw.
"We made shots," Kennedy said of overtime. "We were always in attack mode. When you go 5-for-6, you got to like your chances. We did a good job defensively coming up with some loose balls at the end."
2. Henderson Makes Splash In Return
Marshall Henderson returned to action after missing the first two Southeastern Conference games against Auburn and Mississippi State.
After just six first-half points, he scored 19 points in the second half and overtime to finish with a game-high 25 points, to go along with a career-high seven assists. He was 7-of-16 from the field, including 6-of-12 from 3-point range, and 5-of-5 from the free throw line.
A couple of those made shots by Henderson, Kennedy described simply as "Marshall shots," later adding that he's the one guy on the team who can take high-risk shots.
"Do you know what's sick? Is I expect them to go in, and that's sick," Kennedy said. "Of course, I'm the one who lets him shoot them all, so if I don't expect them to go in. I'm crazier than I look. We expect them to go in. Everyone expects them to go in."
Henderson also played with more noticeable emotion, particularly in the second half and overtime, as he made some of those "Marshall shots" and other key plays down the stretch for the Rebels.
"I was there sitting there and I was thinking about it, watching those games, and I was like, 'I can't do this anymore. I can't just be calm. It's hurting me,' which is weird," Henderson said. "I can't do it anymore. I'm sorry; I'm going back to me because we need it."
3. Saiz Breaks Out With Career-High Points
Henderson led all scorers with 25 points, but Kennedy said Sebastian Saiz was the difference in the game. The freshman from Madrid, Spain, scored a career-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, to go along with nine rebounds, which was one rebound shy of his first career double-double.
"It felt great," Saiz said. "I was thinking before the game that I haven't showed up the whole year, and I was thinking, 'When I was going to do it.' It's time. SEC play is here."
"He was making moves tonight that I haven't seen him make those moves," Henderson said. "He was spinning and slamming on people. I know that it's going to be good for his confidence, and confidence really for everyone in him. Maybe he's about to get on a roll."
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy meets with members of the media to discuss Wednesday night's game vs. LSU.
Three things from the SEC teleconference on Monday and the Ole Miss media opportunity on Tuesday, previewing Wednesday night's game vs. LSU:
1. The Return Of 'Batman'
Senior Marshall Henderson, the Rebels' leading scorer and the fourth-leading scorer in the Southeastern Conference, returns to action after missing the first two league games last week. He has made a 3-pointer in a school-record 48 straight games and ranks third in the NCAA with 4.42 3-pointers per game.
"The advantage with Marshall returning on Wednesday is first and foremost his ability to put the ball in the basket," head coach Andy Kennedy said Monday. "Secondly, it's his ability to be the focal point of LSU's scouting report. I guarantee there will be a lot of Marshall Henderson conversation, and when you don't have him, then the focus shifts to others.
"Sometimes guys are second or third options for a reason. There are a lot of people who want to be Batman, but they need to be Robin, and we need to get Batman back, so then we can play off the spacing that Marshall creates, and he will be back with us on Wednesday, and I'm sure he will be excited to start SEC play his senior year."
Henderson came off the bench in his first seven games this season. That, Kenendy said, won't be the case Wednesday night against LSU.
"He goes right back into the starting lineup," Kennedy said Tuesday. "We're going to play our best players."
2. Winning The Battle Up Front
Kennedy said LSU has as long, athletic and talented a frontline as there is in the SEC, led by sophomore forward and Cleveland, Miss., native Johnny O'Bryant. He leads the team in scoring (14.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.4 rig), followed by freshman forward Jordan Mickey, who averages 13.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg. Another freshman forward, Jarell Martin, is fourth on the team in scoring (8.6 ppg) and third in rebounding (3.7 rpg).
"It's a tremendous challenge," Kennedy said Monday. "We have to be very physical and keep our bodies on them. We can't come into this game thinking that we're just going to out-jump them or out-reach them. They're all long and athletic.
"We have to be very physical at the point of attack. We call it first blood. We have to try to get to the ball first because of their tremendous athleticism, and they are very versatile. When you play those three guys together, with Martin playing the three, it's a long, athletic frontline, so we know they're going to pose a number of different challenges for us."
3. Finding A Third Scorer
Henderson leads the team in scoring (18.8 ppg), followed by junior guard Jarvis Summers (17.9 ppg), who has increased his scoring by 8.8 ppg over last season's average.
When asked about finding a consistent third scorer, Kennedy specifically mentioned junior guard LaDarius White, who is fourth on team in scoring (7.7 ppg). He is averaging 13.0 points per game through two conference games after averaging 7.7 ppg in nonconference play.
"If there's any silver lining through the first two (SEC games) without Marshall it's that Snoop had to be more aggressive and make some plays," Kennedy said Tuesday. "In the second half in Starkville, when we were making a run and developing a lead, Snoop was the one making the plays for us. If he can carry that confidence moving forward, now that we're into league play, which is when he started playing better for us last year, that would be an added bonus."
Full transcript of Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy's time on the SEC teleconference Monday, as well as selected questions and answers from LSU head coach Johnny Jones and South Carolina head coach Frank Martin. The Rebels host the Tigers on Wednesday night (8 p.m., CSS) and then travel to Columbia, S.C. to play the Gamecocks on Saturday (3:30 p.m., FSN).
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy
It's week two of the SEC grind, and we're looking forward to having the opportunity to come back home Wednesday against a very good LSU team.
On playing younger players more, particularly in the frontcourt:
We're still evaluating that. I have not been as pleased with our production as we need to be as a frontline unit. In the second half, we got production out of a number of our young guys, namely Dwight Coleby, who's just not getting back into form after an early leg injury that set him behind. Anthony Perez helped us some at the four. We have played Anthony in a number of different positions in his two years here. We have played him some on the wing. We felt like his ability at the four position gives us more versatility, not only offensively, but he was very active with six rebounds as well. It will be something we continue to experiment with.
On Jarvis Summers' improvement in the mid-range game:
Jarvis has unquestionably been our MVP to this point in the season. He has evolved into a junior in our program. First and foremost, having been in the program for three years, physically he's stronger he has ever been, which enables him to make the plays both physically, and from an experience standpoint, having gone through the battles that he has endured, we're starting to see him play like the all-league player that he's capable of being. Percentage-wise, he's taking better shots. He's stronger, so that he can finish through contact. And he really worked in the offseason at knocking down open looks. When he plays with Marshall, one thing that we missed in our first two SEC games was the spacing that Marshall creates while he's on the floor, not only as our leading scorer at about 19 points per game and shooting close to 40 percent from 3, which are pretty effective numbers, but the spacing that he creates because of his presence and his ability to stretch the defense. Jarvis has done a good job of playing in those gaps.
On Jarvis Summers' role with Marshall Henderson returning to the mix:
We play Jarvis in a number of different spots. When Marshall is not here, he plays predominantly off the ball and Derrick Millinghaus' numbers go up tremendous en lieu of Marshall's absence. With Marshall back, we will continue to play Jarvis off the ball at times when Derrick is in the game, but he will go back more of a lead-guard mentality when he's with Marshall, setting the floor for our team, running our team, and continuing to be aggressive offensively. We have played three games without Marshall, and we have played 12 with Marshall, so he will be able to come back pretty seamlessly and fit right back into what we were doing prior to his absence.
On LSU's Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey:
They are really, really talented, maybe as talented a frontline as there is in our league, with those two combined with Johnny O'Bryant, who's probably the best back-to-basket scorer in our league. It's a tremendous challenge. We have to be very physical and keep our bodies on them. We can't come into this game thinking that we're just going to out-jump them or out-reach them. They're all long and athletic. We have to be very physical at the point of attack. We call it first blood. We have to try to get to the ball first because of their tremendous athleticism, and they are very versatile. When you play those three guys together, with Martin playing the three, it's a long, athletic frontline, so we know they're going to pose a number of difference challenges for us.
On missing out on Cleveland, Miss., native Johnny O'Bryant in recruiting:
We spent a lot of time and energy recruiting Johnny. He's just up the road from us. We knew he was going to be a tremendous talent, and nothing that he has done at LSU has been surprising to me. He was going to come in and have a chance to make an immediate impact, which he did as a freshman. As he evolved into his sophomore season, he was an all-league-caliber player as we anticipated, and now he's one of the best frontcourt guys in all of college basketball. I'm proud to see him develop. He's a good kid from a good family. I certainly wish he was wearing the red, white and blue on Wednesday.
On balancing shots in the backcourt between Derrick Millinghaus, Jarvis Summers and Marshall Henderson:
You take what the game gives you. Sometimes we want to try to predetermine who's going to do what when and where. Basketball doesn't work like that. You have to put yourself into position, you always have to be ready, and you have to take the game gives you. Derrick, for instance, makes three of his first four field goals in Starkville on Saturday and was in a very good rhythm, and as a result, we took an early lead. Those same shots appeared late in the game, and we weren't able to knock them down, and that ultimately is the difference between winning and losing. He finishes the game 5-for-17 from the floor after starting 3-for-4. He wasn't as efficient at the end as we would have hoped.
On the impact of Marshall Henderson:
I challenge the guys every day that the fire needs to burn internally. If they're waiting for me to motivate them every day, then we are all missing the boat. The advantage with Marshall returning on Wednesday is first and foremost his ability to put the ball in the basket. Secondly, it's his ability to be the focal point of LSU's scouting report. I guarantee there will be a lot of Marshall Henderson conversation, and when you don't have him, then the focus shifts to others. Sometimes guys are second or third options for a reason. There are a lot of people who want to be Batman, but they need to be Robin, and we need to get Batman back, so then we can play off the spacing that Marshall creates, and he will be back with us on Wednesday, and I'm sure he will be excited to start SEC play his senior year.
LSU head coach Johnny Jones
We're looking forward to great challenges this week, one there at Ole Miss, and we're excited about having the opportunity to be back at home against a team that's playing very well in Vanderbilt on Saturday. Obviously, with Henderson returning, it presents a great challenge for us, the great player that he is, and we look forward to that challenge there at Ole Miss Wednesday night.
On preparing for Ole Miss without seeing Marshall Henderson the last two games:
It's tough preparation because it's hard to simulate what he's capable of doing out there on the floor. He's really quick at catching-and-shooting and rising up and making difficult shots and making plays. You have to go back and probably know that he's going to be screened for, and you have to prepare for getting off screens and try to make sure that you're there on the catch with him. It's one of those games that you know you're going to be in a battle all night long, and you're hopeful -- knowing that he's going to score -- that you can contest and contain him most of the night.
On Johnny O'Bryant and his maturation:
Johnny has made some really positive strides for us. He really finished the year strong last year for us. He had a tremendous summer. Johnny is a part of everyone's scouting report now, and a lot times for the teams that we're playing, their defense has been designed to try and take Johnny away for us, and when that has happened, he has made the right decisions, in terms of making extra passes and plays. When he has had the ability to be in one-on-one situations there in the post, he's played well and shot a high percentage for us. It's just a matter of getting that balance for him. He's been terrific for us.
On added motivation for Johnny O'Bryant going home and playing against Ole Miss:
It's a normal reaction for most young men because you have an opportunity to have family and friends, most of the time, there in attendance. You're playing one of the state schools where you have grown up and you want to make sure that you have a great showing there. It's no different, I'm sure, from a lot of pro athletes who feel that same way. You have some added weight, but we try to make sure that they concentrate and focus, in terms of playing in between those lines once we throw that ball up. It's not where you're playing but how you're executing and the impact that you're able to make for your team.
On the Ole Miss frontcourt and its development:
They are really good and able to play off of those guards. Their guards are extremely quick and play really well. Their post guys have an opportunity to benefit because of the help that you have to try to give to the other perimeter guys; you allow those guys to get free, and they have done an excellent job of getting to the offensive glass and making plays around the rim.
On moving Jarell Martin to the bench this past weekend at South Carolina and the flexibility that gives the LSU frontcourt:
The beauty of our basketball team, and it's early on in conference play, is the versatility of our team. We have about eight or nine guys who we have been playing consistent minutes, and we have to make sure -- whether it's scouting report-oriented or the opponent that we are playing -- that we have the best group out there that we feel like can get us off to the best start in those games. Jarrell has the ability to play inside and out, which is certainly a great benefit for us. We have the ability to move him around.
South Carolina head coach Frank Martin
It's another great week in the SEC. We go to Texas A&M midweek, and then we host Ole Miss. At Texas A&M, Billy Kennedy is continuing to build that program and they are off to a great start with two great wins out of the shoot. And Ole Miss is a defending NCAA Tournament team and conference tournament winner. They will have Marshall Henderson back after not having him for the first couple of games.
On optimism after Saturday's 71-68 loss to LSU:
We played a really good LSU team. Look at what that team has accomplished up to this point. They lost at UMass, a top-20 team in the country, at the buzzer. They lost to Memphis, a top-20 team in the country, in an absolute dogfight. They got beat at home by Tennessee, which a top-20 team in the country, and unfortunately they lost a tough game to Rhode Island, which it happens to everybody. We went nose to nose with a really good basketball team. We just didn't do enough to win, but that should not take away from some of the really good things we did to give ourselves a chance to win.
On dealing with Marshall Henderson as an X Factor:
As the opposing coach, he's an unbelievable player. He averages 19 points per game. If you're half a step late, or half a second late, it's a 3 and a basket. He's an unbelievable competitor. I don't think anyone gives him the credit that he deserves for the competitor he is. He elevates the players around him because of his competitiveness. I have a lot of respect for what Marshall Henderson does as a player.
With just over a minute left in the game, junior guard Jarvis Summers tied the game at 72-72 with a 3-pointer. Mississippi State made one of two free throws on the other end to take a 73-72 lead.
On each of the next two possessions, the Rebels (10-5, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) ran possessions to Summers and came away with no points, as the Bulldogs (11-4, 1-1 SEC) held on for a 76-72 win Saturday night in Starkville.
"Some things have become pretty apparent about the Ole Miss Rebels through 15 games," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "There's a pattern that's been formed. We're not going to blow many people out, and we haven't been blown out. Our guys scrap and fight, and it's not always the most pleasing to watch from any vantage point, but we stay in games.
"And then it comes down to the stretch, and you have to make plays, and the games in which we have made the plays, i.e. two days ago on Thursday night (vs. Auburn), we win. The games in which we don't make the plays, and Mississippi State does, then they win."
Summers finished with a game-high 23 points, his sixth 20-point game of the season, on 7-of-15 shooting, including 3-of-7 from 3-point range.
On the first of those two possessions, he was whistled for traveling on a questionable call. On the second possession, after Mississippi State made two free throws on the other end, Summers drove to the basket, and there was a collision at the ball, but no foul was called.
"Jarvis has been our steadiest player," Kennedy said. "We have said that a lot. At the end, we ran both possessions to him in a one-possession game."
Junior guard LaDarius White (16 points) and sophomore guard Derrick Millinghaus (15 points) joined Summers in double figures for the Rebels. They each knocked down three 3-pointers, as did Summers, and Ole Miss was 10-of-29 from 3-point range for the game.
It was the second straight game in double figures for White and Millinghaus, and it marked a season high for White.
"Snoop had maybe his best four or five-minute period where he was making shots and being aggressive, and we certainly need production out of him," Kennedy said.
Four underclassmen -- sophomores Anthony Perez and Martavious Newby and freshmen Sebastian Saiz and Martavious Newby -- played double-digit minutes off the bench, and it marked a season-high for minutes played for Perez with 21 minutes. Kennedy credited the Rebels' rebounding edge (47-37) in part to their aggressiveness and energy.
"The advantage to having a veteran team is the kids plays like they have experience," Kennedy said. "It does you no good if you're a veteran and you play as if it's the first time you have been in a college basketball game, and then you're going to opt to play a younger kid to give him the same opportunity that you have given the veteran.
"We may have to turn the page to some of our younger guys and give them the same opportunity as we're giving some of our older guys because we're not playing as experienced as I would hope our upperclassmen would."
Tomorrow will be an off day and a much-needed rest after a Thursday-Saturday swing, especially for Millinghaus and Summers, who logged 72 and 68 minutes, respectively, over the last two games.
Leading scorer and senior guard Marshall Henderson will also return to action, as Ole Miss hosts LSU next Wednesday (8 p.m., CSS). The Tigers (10-4, 1-1 SEC) are coming off a 71-68 win at South Carolina, having lost their SEC opener at home to Tennessee 68-50.
"I'll give them tomorrow off because we're a little battle fatigued playing guys heavy minutes," Kennedy said. "We had a quick turnaround from Thursday to Saturday to start league play. We have a tough LSU team coming into Oxford on Wednesday, so you have put it behind you and try to get ready for the next challenge."
Ole Miss hung its 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament Champions banner from the rafters before the game, and the Rebels (10-4, 1-0 SEC) began their title defense with a 65-62 win over Auburn (8-4, 0-1 SEC) in the league opener Thursday night.
Without leading scorer and senior guard Marshall Henderson, four Rebels scored in double figures, led by sophomore guard Derrick Millinghaus with 16 points, followed by junior guard Jarvis Summers with 14.
"We found a way to win," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "Ultimately, that's what we were trying to do and were fortunate enough to do. I played guys heavy minutes.
"Jarvis has been our MVP from day one this season, and he certainly didn't have his best game. He looked a little battle-fatigued. Derrick Millinghaus played 35 minutes. That's a lot. He made some big plays for us."
Ole Miss trailed 21-16 with 8:25 left in the first half when freshman forward Janari Joesaar checked into the game, his first action since the North Carolina A&T game on Nov. 26.
Joesaar sparked a 9-0 run, hitting a 3-pointer and then scoring on a put-back, as the Rebels took a 31-28 lead into halftime. The Tartu, Estonia, native finished with five points and three rebounds in nine minutes, all career highs.
"It was an opportunity for him," Kennedy said. "With Anthony being down, and we had Snoop pick up two early fouls, so we went deeper into the bench than we have been.
"They're zoning us, and the one thing Janari can do is make open shots. He gave us great minutes and good energy. I told the team that I thought he was the MVP of the game because when we were stagnant offensively, he gave us a big lift."
Early in the second half, Auburn went on a 10-0 run to take 38-33 lead before junior LaDarius White answered with a 3-pointer, his first points of the game. He then hit his second 3-pointer to tie the game at 41-41 with 10:39 left. He finished with 10 points, his first game scoring in double figures since the Louisiana-Monroe game on Dec. 18.
"Snoop stepped up," Kennedy said. "He missed a couple of big free throws. It would have been easy for him to drop his head, and then he stepped up and hit a huge three. He had a couple of really strong drives to the basket and was able to make some plays."
Down the stretch, junior forward Aaron Jones played big for the Rebels. He hit a jumper and then threw down a dunk to extend the lead to 62-57 with 1:46 left. He also grabbed a defensive rebound after a missed Auburn three-pointer when the Tigers were within three at 62-59. He filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, seven rebounds, five steals and five blocks.
Auburn had the ball down 65-62 with 16 seconds left, but the Tigers missed a three-pointer and were unable to corral the offensive rebound.
"The only guy on this year's team who had the same role as last year's team is Marshall Henderson, and he was not dressed out tonight," Kennedy said. "Everybody else has an expanded role, and with that comes more responsibility. You can't look around and think somebody is going to bail you out. Now, you're the guy, and you have to accept that responsibility, but that is a process"
Ole Miss continues SEC play on the road at Mississippi State on Saturday (3 p.m., ESPNU). The Bulldogs (10-4, 0-1 SEC) are coming off an 85-63 loss at No. 14 Kentucky in the SEC opener, having led 40-37 at halftime.
"They have the same cast as last year," Kennedy said. "Those guys have gotten older in Craig Sword, Fred Thomas, Gavin Ware, and Colin Borchert is a senior, so I know they have a number of different weapons. That place has never been very friendly to the Rebels."
Ole Miss finishes nonconference play with a 9-4 record, as Dayton hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to knock off Ole Miss 83-80 in overtime Saturday. The nonconference included three home losses to Oregon, Mercer and Dayton, as well as a road loss to Kansas State. Two were in overtime, and the other two were one-possession games.
"A tried and true formula is you have to protect your home floor, if you're going to have any aspirations of doing anything meaningful at the end of the season, and we haven't done a good job of that," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "We have lost two overtimes games and another on a last-second shot. We have been in every game, but our inability to make the play has cost us.
"We have also been in situations where it's helped us. Our non-league schedule has been competitive, and it will pay us dividends down the road. And so, every game is going to a be possession here or a possession there, and unfortunately tonight, we did not make the play."
Ole Miss had one of those such possessions at the end of regulation. Junior guard Jarvis Summers, who finished with a career-high 29 points, had the ball in his hands, but he was tied up driving to the basket, and the jump ball gave Dayton the ball.
It was Summers' fourth 20-point game in five games, his fifth 20-point game overall this season, as he shot 9-of-15 from the field and 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. Senior guard Marshall Henderson was second on the team with 15 points, all in the second half.
"Jarvis is our best player," Kennedy said. "He's not our most-hyped player, but he is our best player, and he has been all season. Marshall does what Marshall does, and he has the ability to knock down shots. Dayton's mindset, I think, was not to allow Marshall Henderson to beat them, and so when they do that, it takes other players out of the action.
"We have to be able to take advantage of that, and that's where we're falling short. We got to have other guys step up and make plays because he draws so much attention off that screening action. Jarvis was the one guy who made plays, but to beat Dayton, you better have more than one of those. You got to have more players who step up and make plays. There were opportunities there tonight, and we didn't get it done."
In overtime, the Rebels took an 80-76 lead with 1:11 left after a dunk by junior forward Aaron Jones off a missed three-pointer by sophomore guard Derrick Millinghaus. Two scores in two possessions for Dayton, and two turnovers in two possessions for Ole Miss, gave the Flyers the ball tied 80-80 with five seconds left.
"The thing that is disheartening is that the last two possessions, we don't get a shot," Kennedy said.
The Rebels entered Saturday with an RPI of No. 66 according to ESPN.com, and with the loss to Dayton, they are now 1-4 against the RPI Top 100. Ole Miss has a top-100 RPI win over Penn State, with top-100 RPI losses to Kansas State, Oregon, Mercer and Dayton.
Ole Miss opens Southeastern Conference play at home against Auburn Thursday, followed by a road game at Mississippi State Saturday. The Rebels will be without Henderson for both games.
"As quickly as possible, we have to put this behind us and get our focus on the first week of conference play," Kennedy said. "We have a Thursday-Saturday swing with travel in between, and without Marshall, so we'll have to get back in the gym tomorrow and evaluate the things that we did poorly. We did some good things as well, and we had our opportunities, but again, our inability to make the play cost us. We have to shore up some areas that we're deficient, namely rebounding and defense."
Junior guard Jarvis Summers scored a game-high 25 points and senior guard Marshall Henderson added 15 points in his first start of the season, as Ole Miss outlasted Middle Tennessee State 72-63 on Saturday.
"This was the most quality of the wins that we have had because of the way they play and what they have accomplished," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "A lot of those guys have been a part of a banner run for Middle, and so I knew it was going to be a fistfight, and that's exactly what is was. Those are the type of games that prepare you for SEC play. That was an SEC-type feel for me."
It was Summers' second-highest point total of the season and his eighth game in double figures in nine games this season. He had 13 of his 25 points in the second half on 4-for-4 shooting, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, and 3-for-5 from the free throw line.
"Jarvis Summers continues to be our MVP and make big plays for us throughout the course of the game," Kennedy said.
"Coach (Kennedy) came to me after the exhibition game and told me I had to be more aggressive, and we were going to need more scoring," Summers said. "When he told me that, I got in the gym and tried to get more aggressive."
Middle Tennessee used a 10-0 run to take a 54-48 lead with 9:05 left in the game. Ole Miss answered with a 10-6 run, and minutes later, senior guard Marshall Henderson hit his third 3-pointer to give Ole Miss a 61-60 lead with 5:33 left, and the Rebels did not trail the rest of the game.
The Blue Raiders got to within three at 66-63, and after an Ole Miss turnover, they had possession for a chance to tie, but junior forward Aaron Jones grabbed the defensive rebound after their first missed shot, and Henderson hit his fourth 3-pointer on the other end to extend the lead to 69-63.
"Those are hard to live with when they don't go in," Kennedy said of Henderson's fourth 3-pointer. "I understand there's give and take, and you have to allow him to have the freedom in those moments. He did a good job of playing within the team concept. He usually can score on loose ball and open-floor opportunities, and it was something late in the shot clock. They don't think he's going to shoot it, and he stepped up and knocked it down."
"Any shot Marshall takes, I feel like it's going in because he puts the work in, and we're comfortable with him taking shots," Summers said. "He did a lot for us, and he's still doing it, and everybody is comfortable with what he does."
After scoring a career-high 39 points in last Sunday's 115-105 overtime loss to Oregon, Henderson finished with 15 points on 4-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-9 from behind the arc. He also helped spark a 9-0 run in the first half to build a 37-30 halftime lead for the Rebels.
Along with Henderson, junior guard LaDarius White was entered into the starting lineup, his second start of the season, and he responded with 11 points, his second straight game in double figures and third overall this season.
"We're trying to get different guys going," Kennedy said. "I haven't been really pleased with a couple of guys and their production in the minutes that they're given. They have to produce, and we haven't been getting the production, so we wanted to change the flow. It was successful for us early, and we got a number of contributions from a number of different guys."
In Thursday night's 61-58 loss at Kansas State, senior guard Marshall Henderson was 4-for-18, including 2-for-13 from 3-point range, and finished with 13 points. Three days later, Henderson responded with a career-high 39 points and school-record 10 3-pointers in a 115-105 overtime loss to No. 13 Oregon.
"I have said this all the time from one game to the next, they go in or they don't go in," Henderson said. "Sometimes you feel it; sometimes you don't. After the Kansas State game, I was kicking myself because I put that on me. It's a two-point game, and to take a game-winning shot and shoot an air ball, a senior leader and a guy trying to make his statement in his last year of college basketball does not need to be doing that, and I know that."
His previous season high was 19 points twice earlier this season and his previous career high was 32 at Tennessee last season, as Henderson scored 39 on 11-of-27 shooting, including 10-of-23 from 3-point range.
"He shoots a lot of ball, and the other way to stop him from shooting is to sit him down, and I have tried that a few times here and there, and I will continue to try that," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "He's a volume guy; he's been a volume guy from day one, and he was a volume guy when I recruited him. I have realized that, and I have tried to put him in a position where he can help our team, and he has certainly done that."
Henderson hit his first shot, a deep three, to give Ole Miss a 12-8 lead at the 14:14 mark, and went on to equal Thursday night's point total with 13 first-half points on 4-for-8 shooting, including 3-for-6 from 3-point range, as the Rebels took a 38-37 lead into halftime.
"I had been waiting for it this year," Henderson said. "I looked at it last year -- I didn't do much at the beginning of the year. Toward the middle was when I started picking things up a lot more. I thought maybe it would be the same way this year. Tonight, I made the first shot, and after that, I missed a few but they were open, and I knew there were going to be a lot of open shots. And then one, two, three (made shots), and then I was, 'Alright, let's go.'"
"They hit some shots, and Henderson got it going," Oregon head coach Dana Altman said. "We did a poor job and gave him some good looks early, and once he got those down, his motor started running. He hit a couple of double-clutch ones, and he hit some tough ones after that, but we did a really poor job early, and he took advantage of it."
Down 86-80 with 39 seconds left, Henderson hit his seventh three, and after two Oregon made free throws, he double-clutched and knocked down his eighth three to cut the lead to 88-86 with 14 seconds left.
Junior guard Jarvis Summers hit a game-tying three with 0.8 seconds left, and after an Oregon turnover, Henderson nearly won it at the buzzer with another 3-pointer, as the teams went into overtime tied at 89-89.
Ole Miss took a 93-91 lead with 3:47 left in overtime, and Oregon answered with 11 unanswered points to take 102-93 lead. Henderson hit his ninth and 10th 3-pointers to finish with 39 points, and the Rebels got within five, but the Ducks closed out the 115-105 win.
"I thought I hit that shot at the buzzer," Henderson said. "I thought it was in. Normally that's the way it goes in basketball, when a team hits a buzzer beater and goes to overtime, the momentum rides all the way through, like last year at Vanderbilt when I hit a shot at the buzzer to go to overtime. I thought we were going to have it, but we let it slip."
Junior guard Jarvis Summers scored a career-high 28 points to lift Ole Miss past Troy, 69-54, in Saturday's season opener in the Tad Smith Coliseum. He shot 52.6 percent (10-of-19) from the field, including 5-for-10 from 3-point range.
"He was huge," Kennedy said. "When you're void of offense, you need guys to step up and he was tremendous early."
Summers scored 22 of his 28 points in the first half on 9-for-11 shooting, including 4-for-4 from 3-point range. The rest of the team was just 7-for-32 in the first half, as the Rebels took a 39-26 lead into halftime.
"Offensively, we seemed like we were out of rhythm," Kennedy said. "We had spurts where we looked pretty good with Derrick (Millinghaus) pushing the ball in the open floor. With Marshall not in the lineup, I went with my more experienced guys in Derrick and Jarvis, and I think Jarvis really responded offensively off the ball, which is something we're looking for him to do.
He got the start in the backcourt with sophomore guards Derrick Millinghaus and Martavious Newby. Millinghaus was second on the team with 13 points, including 10 in the second half.
"It's one of the reasons that I went with him and Derrick because I wanted to change his mindset initially," Kennedy said. "I have been challenging him to score and look to score more. When he has the ball at the point, he's more of a facilitator. I was trying to get him to be aggressive, and my hope is that he knows that he needs to be a double-figure scorer for us night in and night out."
"I feel like I'm capable of scoring, but most of all, I want to get my teammates involved, do what coach wants me to do and try to get the win," Summers said. "If he wants me to score and be more aggressive, then that's what I'm going to do."
As Ole Miss prepares for its exhibition game Friday night against South Carolina-Aiken and its season opener Nov. 8 versus Troy, it will be without senior guard Marshall Henderson due to suspension.
"We knew there was going to be a suspension, and as we were preparing our team, he's been on the second team the entire time simply because we wanted to get some continuity," head coach Kennedy said.
"We had a closed scrimmage against Arkansas-Little Rock last week, and I didn't play him a lot simply not knowing what to anticipate as it related to him being a part of our team early. Now we know, and we can game plan accordingly."
Henderson will also miss the Rebels' first two Southeastern Conference games Jan. 9 versus Auburn and Jan. 11 at Mississippi State, But for now, Kennedy said he is focused on preparation for the exhibition, then the season opener Nov. 8 versus Troy.
"I have never dealt with that," Kennedy said. "It's kind of unprecedented in the way that it's laid out. For us, we'll deal with it as it relates to him not being there for the opener, and then he'll be back in the mix.
"And then when we approach Auburn, by then, a lot of the guys like Anthony (Perez) and (Martavious) Newby will have gotten experience. We'll deal with it like we would if we lose anybody at that stage in the season. I don't think about it big-picture right now. We just think about him not playing Friday and not playing in our opener."
For the exhibition and three regular season games, without Henderson, the Rebels will turn to two juniors in Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White and a trio of sophomores in Perez, Newby and Derrick Millinghaus.
"We have a veteran group in our backcourt when you start talking about Jarvis (Summers) as a two-year starter, Snoop (White) who had an opportunity to emerge in his role last year, Derrick MIllinghaus, and we have seen a huge improvement, as I have said from day one, from Anthony (Perez) and Newby in year two," Kennedy said.
"I think we'll be OK. Obviously, when you lose your leading scorer, different guys are going to have to step up and fill that void."
White, who was sixth on the team in scoring (6.4), having also scored in double figures seven times with one 20-point game, will be expected to carry a larger load and be more consistent this year.
"I need him to take that next step," Kennedy said. "I thought we saw a natural progression between year one and two. He needs to that next step and be a guy we can depend on to be a double-figure scorer.
"He needs to be a lockdown defender for us on the wing. And he needs to be a rebounder and a facilitator off the dribble. I need him to be involved in every statistical category in order for him to play to his potential and help our team like we need."
For Perez and Newby, who averaged just 6.8 and 6.0 minutes per game last year, there is an opportunity for more minutes this year and to make a progression similar to White last year.
"They're more comfortable," Kennedy said. "Physically, they're stronger. The opportunity is much bigger for them now. We had Nick there last year as a fifth-year senior, and he was guy we were comfortable with because we knew we could trust him. Now, there are minutes to be had, especially early."
The second annual Square Jam will be held on the Oxford Square Friday from 6:30-7:30 p.m., as part of this weekend's Homecoming festivities. The men's and women's basketball teams will participate in variety of drills and skills competitions to unofficially kick off the start of the season.
The event started when Ole Miss decided to do something with Midnight Madness, where they wanted to take basketball where their fans were going to be, so they did that by taking a basketball court to the Square in the parking lot in front of City Hall.
"We were in this external team for men's basketball, and I showed a picture of an outdoor basketball tournament," Hudspeth said. "And we started throwing around the concept of putting a basketball court on the Square. Initially, it was just a thought. The more we talked about it, Brian Russell, one of our event managers, said 'Why not, let's look into it.'"
"And so I threw a couple of lines in the water to see what kind of response we would get, and the responses started becoming more positive, so we pursued it. We found out how much a floor would cost, and if the city would allow us to do it. When the city said they would allow us to do it, that's when it took off full speed. Within a couple of weeks, we had basically planned the entire event and had the floor ordered, and it was ready to roll."
The original plan was for the inaugural event to be held this year, but head men's basketball coach Andy Kennedy, Hudspeth said, really pushed and wanted to do it last year, and so they were able to put it all together in a short amount of time.
"Coach Kennedy, for a long time, really wanted to figure out a way to do some type of opening to basketball season," Hudspeth said. "And he felt like this was the perfect transition with us wrapping it into the Homecoming parade and a home football weekend, so people could start getting a basketball mentality into their brains."
During last year's event, Derrick Millinghaus won the knockout contest while the team of Nick Williams and Gracie Frizzell won the three-point content, and Aaron Jones won the dunk contest. Both teams will participate in all three events again this year, with a game of H-O-R-S-E as a possible addition.
Micah GInn, Director of Creative Services, will serve as the emcee, and Athletics Director Ross Bjork, women's basketball coach Matt Insell and Rebel Rewards member Colleen Haadsma (@chaadsma) will serve as the judges for the dunk contest.
This year's event will also feature a few more additions to enrich the fan experience, some more noticeable than others.
"This year, we're going to have the Ole Miss logo in the center of the court," Hudspeth said. "That will be a neat addition. This year, we're adding a video board, which we have never done. It will be right next to the court and will face back toward the fans. It is an 11 x 17 foot video board, which is a pretty big size. We're going to have a camera crew out there and be able to show videos and starting lineups."
Among the other improvements are more bleachers on the three sides surrounding the court, better lighting, and added restrooms behind City Hall are among the other improvements for this year's event. Also, particularly in the event of colder weather, both players' benches will be completely heated.
The event itself lasts an hour, and within two hours last year, Hudspeth said, the Square was back open and running. However, it's a full day for him and his staff, which will then turn around to staff Saturday's Homecoming game against Idaho, with a kickoff set for 6:30 p.m. from Vaught-Hemingway Stadium.
"We have been working on the planning process for months," he said. "On Friday, we will start probably around 11 a.m., myself and our marketing will go to the Square and set up a command center-type area where we have all the materials that we need for Square Jam, and we hang out all day."
"It will take us about three to four hours to set everything up and have it ready to roll. The Homecoming parade starts at 5:30, and it's usually over by 6:30. We'll start our event at 6:30, and it should be over by 7:30. At about 7:45, we start taking everything down, and we're usually done by 9. Last year, I remember getting in my car to go home at 9:20. It's a full day."
The Ole Miss men's basketball officially opened preseason practice on Friday, and senior guard Marshall Henderson was a full participant.
Head coach Andy Kennedy said Tuesday there has already been a determination that Henderson will miss games. How many he will miss has yet to be determined, and it's ongoing based on his progression.
"When he was suspended in early July, there was a process put into place to which he had to conform in order to be where he is today," Kennedy said. "From the second week in July until we started school at the end of August, there were things that were put in place that he had to meet.
"He met those. Therefore when we started school and preseason training -- conditioning, weights, individual development -- he was a part of those things. How he continues along this progression will determine what happens next."
Henderson, Kennedy said, has been 100 percent compliant as it relates to the plan that has been put in place.
"I see a sense of urgency as it relates to the position that he has put himself in," he said. "He's completely aware of the predicament that he has created for us, but he's owned it."
On the court, Kennedy noted that Henderson, an All-SEC performer last year and the conference's reigning leading scorer, is stronger physically and has a better understanding of the consistency with which you have to play to be successful at this level.
"Marshall's play has not changed," he said. "He's the same guy from an energy and emotional standpoint. He's taken a leadership role. He's always going to be the way he is, as it relates to passion, being engaged and playing on that edge from a basketball standpoint.
"The thing that I have been the most proud of is he's winning the sprints at the end. He's encouraging the young guys when they make mistakes. Those are the areas that I have seen a marked improvement in Marshall and his approach to the game."
When Henderson misses games, Ole Miss will be without four of its top five scorers from last season.
"I am preparing every day as if he's not out there, so I'm trying to make sure that I'm doing the best that I can with the players that I know will be available for game one to give us the best chance to be successful," Kennedy said of being without Henderson.
In the backcourt, without Henderson's 20.1 points per game, more will be demanded of juniors Jarvis Summers and LaDarius White, the fourth and sixth leading scorers on last year's team, respectively, as well as sophomore Derrick Millinghaus.
The Rebels will also be tasked with replacing Murphy Holloway and Reginald Buckner in the frontcourt, who averaged a combined 25 points and 18 rebounds last year. They will also be without sophomore Terry Brutus who suffered a season-ending ACL injury in the preseason.
"We're going to ask those four guys to do it by committee, and I think they're certainly capable of doing it," Kennedy said of the frontcourt. "They just haven't done it. Until they do it, we'll all have to see how quickly they can respond."
Senior Demarco Cox (foot) has been cleared for full contact for more than a month, and junior Aaron Jones (ACL) has been cleared for about two weeks. Freshmen Dwight Coleby and Sebastian Saiz, Kennedy said, have made great contributions and will also be in the mix there.
Ole Miss freshman Sebastian Saiz, who represented his native Spain in international competition this past summer, along with fellow freshman Dwight Coleby, join four returnees on the frontline for the Rebels this season.
Senior Demarco Cox and junior Aaron Jones are coming off season-ending injuries, and sophomores Terry Brutus and Anthony Perez are entering their second year in the program.
Head coach Andy Kennedy has been really pleased with how Cox and Jones have progressed, how they have approached the offseason and how they are playing now. Kennedy said that Cox has been fully cleared, and Jones is probably a week away from being cleared for 5-on-5 full contact.
"Demarco is a big, strong, physical body who has been in our program for four years, and he's anxious to get back on the court after having sat out the year with a stress fracture," Kennedy said. "AJ is responding equally as well. He's athletic, brings energy, pursues the ball with reckless abandon, and he has not lost that despite going down with a season-ending ACL injury against Kentucky.
"Dwight Coleby is another big, physical presence at 6-foot-9, 235 pounds, and he brings a physicalness to that position that we desperately need. And then you throw in Anthony (Perez) and Terry Brutus, who have the versatility to help us in a number of spots."
Incoming Ole Miss freshman Sebastian Saiz has represented his native Spain in two international competitions this summer, the FIBA Under-19 World Championships in the Czech Republic, then the FIBA Under-20 European Championships in Estonia.
It was his fifth game of the tournament scoring in double figures and first game rebounding in double figures, with previous highs of 11 points (vs. France, Greece) and 10 rebounds (vs. Russia).
Earlier this summer, Saiz helped Spain to a fifth-place finish at the FIBA Under-19 Word Championship in the Czech Republic. He recorded four double-doubles in the tournament, including a tournament-high 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 72-68 win against Canada, as Spain claimed fifth place. He was also 7-of-9 from the field, his best shooting performance of the tournament.
In an earlier consolation game, he posted a double-double with 16 points and a tournament-high 16 rebounds in a 75-64 win against Croatia. He pulled down 10 offensive rebounds in that game and averaged 4.3 offensive rebounds, which ranked second in the tournament.
Here's a story from FIBA
, and what others are saying about Saiz, a teammate of fellow signee Janari Joesaar at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas:
Ole Miss' run to the SEC Tournament title and the Big Dance received national coverage for the team and university during the March Madness. Below is just a sampling of mountain of press the Rebels have gotten including a tweet from King James himself.
With Valentine's Day rolling in on February 14th, I Love Ole Miss week is the perfect way to show your affection for the Ole Miss Rebels. There are nine events in a five day span that are great opportunities for you to take part in cheering on the red and blue, including the home openers of Rebel Softball and Baseball. At five different events, you will be able to score a sweet I Love Ole Miss T-Shirt. Below is a schedule of events, so mark your calendars! Wednesday
Softball vs. LSU 5PM
Dollar Dogs and Popcorn for Fans
I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts for First 100 Fans
Fans who donate gently-used sports equipment for the Geaux Play
Program will receive two free general admission tickets to the baseball home opener on February 15th. Thursday
Women's Basketball vs. MSU 7PM
Free I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts to All Fans
Buy 1 Get 1 Free Facebook Voucher Russian Bar Trio
at the Half
5 Rebel Rewards Points
Date Night Package Giveaway
*1 Dozen Roses
*2 Tickets to Baseball, Men's Basketball, and Women's Basketball Games
*Gift Certificates to Malco Cinema
*Dinner at Irie
*and much more Friday
Women's Tennis vs. Oklahoma State 2PM
Iris Verboven Collectible Poster
I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts to First 100 Fans
1 Rebel Rewards Point
Baseball vs. TCU 4PM
Tanner Mathis Collectible Poster
1 Rebel Rewards PointSaturday
Baseball vs. TCU 1:30PM
I Love Ole Miss T-Shirts to first 500 fans
1 Rebel Rewards Point
Men's Basketball vs. Georgia 7PM
Roll Out Banners for first 1000 fansRussian Bar Trio
at the Half
1 Rebel Rewards PointSunday
Women's Tennis vs. Washington 11AM
Enter to win an iPod
1 Rebel Rewards Point
Baseball vs. TCU 12PM
Free Ole Miss Koozies
1 Rebel Rewards Point
Women's Basketball vs. South Carolina 1PM
1 Rebel Rewards Point
Current national team rankings:
Baseball: No. 13 (Baseball America preseason)
Men's tennis: No. 13 (ITA)
Men's basketball: No. 16 (AP/Coaches)
Men's indoor track: No. 17 (USTFCCCA)
Women's tennis: No. 19 (ITA)
Football: No. 25 (NationalChamps.net "2013 Early Bird Preview")
No. 9 (247 Sports)
No. 11 (Rivals)
No. 12 (Scout)
No. 13 (ESPN)
14 For '14,
2013 World Championships,
2014 Season Highlight,
2014 World Cup,
2014 World Cup Brazil,
2014 Year in Review,
2015 NFL Draft,
2016 Summer Olympics,
3 Things About Gameday,
3 Things You Should Know About Gameday,
38: The Chucky Mullins Effect,
A Year in Review,
Alabama Crimson Tide,
Armintie Price Herrington,
Athletics Week in Review,
BBVA Compass Bowl,
Be The Fan,
Best of the Season,
Best Seat in the House,
Billy Van Devender,
Boise State Broncos,
Boise State Football,
Bram ten Berge,
By The Numbers,
C Spire Conerly Trophy,
Cal Ripken Senior League,
California Collegiate League,
Can't Be Denied,
Cape Cod League,
Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge,
Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic,
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl,
Chucky Mullins Award,
Chucky Mullins Courage Award,
College Baseball Tournament,
College Football Hall of Fame,
College Football Live,
College Game Day,
College World Series,
Collegiate Summer Leagues,
Colorado Springs Sky Sox,
Dr. Jamil Northcutt;,
Egg Bowl Motivational,
Egg Bowl Motivational Video,
Engineers Without Border,
Episode 1 Sneak Peak,
Episode One Sneak Peak,
ESPN College Gameday,
Evan St. Laurent,
Florida State Seminoles,
Florida State Soccer,
Forward Together Campaign,
Franklin American Mortgage Company Music City Bowl,
Franklin American Music City Bowl,
From The Vault,
Georgia State Baseball,
Georgia Tech Baseball,
Give To Athletics,
Hall of Fame,
Hard Core Fighter,
Health and Sports Performance,
Home is Ole Miss,
Jackson Touchdown Club,
Jacksonville State Baseball,
Jacksonville State Gamecocks,
Jeff Scott Hugh Freeze,
Kentucky Men's Basketball,
Lafayette Super Regional,
Lock The Vaught,
Look Back Video,
Los Angeles Sparks,
LSU Men's Basketball,
Lynnette Johnson; SEC Women's Golf,
Mai El Kamash,
Mary Ashton Nall,
mary ashton nall,
Meet The Rebels Day,
Mel Kiper Jr.,
Men's Tennis Tennis,
Miss Men's Basketball,
Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum,
Mississippi State Basketball,
Mississippi State Bulldogs,
Mississippi State Episode,
Mississippi State Football,
Mississippi State Men's Basketball,
Mississippi State Volleyball,
Mississippi State Women's Basketball,
Mississippi State Women's Hoops,
Music City Bowl,
National Signing Day,
National Women's Soccer League,
NCAA Baseball Tournament,
NCAA Doubles Final Four,
NCAA Lafayette Super Regional,
NCAA Oxford Regional,
NCAA Super Regional,
NCAA Tennis Final Four,
New Basketball Arena,
New Softball Coach,
New Year's Six,
NFL Draft 2014,
NFL Draft Combine,
NFL Draft Projections,
NFL Mock Drafts,
NFL Pro Bowl,
NFL Scouting Combine,
Nike Asia Tour,
North Carolina State,
Observations from the Best Seat in the House,
Off Square Books,
Ole Miss Athletics,
Ole Miss Athletics Foundation,
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review,
Ole Miss Baseball,
Ole Miss Baseball Fans,
Ole Miss Basketball,
Ole Miss Cross Country,
Ole Miss Defense,
Ole Miss Engineering,
Ole Miss Fans,
Ole Miss Football,
Ole Miss Football 2014,
Ole Miss Football 2014 Season Highlight,
Ole Miss Football 2014: A Year in Review,
Ole Miss Football Schedules,
Ole Miss Football Top 25 2014,
Ole Miss Football Video,
Ole Miss Foundation,
Ole Miss Hoops,
Ole Miss Media Day,
Ole Miss Men's Basketball,
Ole Miss Men's Golf,
Ole Miss Men's Hoops,
Ole Miss Men's Tennis,
Ole Miss Pix,
Ole Miss Pro Day,
Ole Miss Programming,
Ole Miss Rebels,
Ole Miss Regional,
Ole Miss Rifle,
Ole Miss Soccer,
Ole Miss Softball,
Ole Miss Solo Cups,
Ole Miss Sports,
Ole Miss Sports Productions,
Ole Miss Tennis,
Ole Miss Top 25 2014,
Ole Miss Track,
Ole Miss Track & Field,
Ole Miss Track and Field,
Ole Miss Video,
Ole Miss Volleyball,
Ole Miss Week in Review,
Ole Miss Women's Basketball,
Ole Miss Women's Golf,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Dori Carter,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Kaitlin Voll,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Katie Voll,
Ole Miss Women's Golf; Katilin Voll,
Ole Miss Women's Hoops,
Ole Miss Women's Soccer,
Ole Miss Women's Tennis,
Ole Misss Rifle,
Opening Day 2014,
Postgame Press Conference,
Powder Blue Helmets,
Rebel Media Day,
Rebel Road Trip,
Rebels Choice Awards,
Rebels' Choice Awards,
Red & Blue Classic,
Red And Blue Classic,
Ricky Stenhouse Jr.,
Rifle Video Promo,
Road To Omaha,
Run On Opening Day 2014,
School of Education,
Season Highlight Video,
SEC Baseball Tournament,
SEC Basketball Teleconference,
SEC Basketball Tournament,
SEC Championship Game,
SEC East Opponents,
SEC Football Media Days,
SEC Football Schedules,
SEC Football Teleconference,
SEC Media Days,
SEC Men's Basketball,
SEC Men's Basketball Teleconference,
SEC Men's Basketball Tournament,
SEC Men's Tennis Tournament,
SEC Player of the Year,
SEC Tennis Tournament,
SEC Track and Field,
SEC Track and Field Championships,
SEC Track and Field Indoor Championships,
SEC Women's Basketball Teleconference,
SEC Women's Basketball Tournament,
Shelby Jo Fenter,
SiriusXM College Sports Nation,
SiriusXM College Sports National Camp Tour,
Soldier Returns Home,
Soldier Surprises Family,
Solo Cup Races,
South Carolina Basketball,
Southeast Athletic Trainers' Association,
Southeastern Conference Basketball,
Southeastern Conference Record,
Spain National Team,
State of Ole Miss Athletics,
Studio 18 Live,
Super Bulldog Weekend,
TCU Horned Frogs,
TD Ameritrade Park,
Texas A&M Aggies,
Texas A&M Basketball,
Texas A&M Football,
Texas Tech Baseball,
Texas Tech Red Raiders,
The Dan Patrick Show,
The Pavilion at Ole Miss,
The Season Ole Miss,
The Season Ole Miss Baseball,
The Season Ole Miss Football,
The Season Ole Miss Football Auburn Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 1,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 10,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 11,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 12,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 13,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 2,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 4,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 5,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 6,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 7,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 8,
The Season Ole Miss Football Episode 9,
The Season Ole Miss Football LSU Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Football Tennessee Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Football Texas A&M Episode,
The Season Ole Miss Soccer,
The Season Ole Miss Volleyball,
The Season: Ole Miss Football,
The University of Mississippi,
Three and Out,
Track & Field,
Under-19 World Championship,
Under-20 European Championships,
University of Mississippi,
USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships,
USA Track & Field,
Vanderbilt Men's Basketball,
Vanderbilt Women's Basketball,
Vanderbilt Women's Hoops,
Walk Out Music,
Walk Out Songs,
Way Too Early Rankings,
Way Too Early Top 25 Rankings,
We Are Ole Miss,
Week 2 SEC Football Teleconference,
Week 6 SEC Football Teleconference,
Week in Review,
What They're Saying,
William & Mary,
William Winter Institute,
Women's Basketball; Yolanda Moore,
World Cup Brazil,
Year In Review,
Year in Review,