Men's Hoops Opens 2018 with Trip to Georgia
Jan. 2, 2018


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GAME 14
Matchup: Ole Miss (8-5, 1-0 SEC) at Georgia (9-3, 0-1 SEC)
Date: Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Time: 5:30 p.m. CT
Location: Athens, Ga.
Arena: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
Television: SEC Network
    Mike Morgan, play-by-play
    Pat Bradley, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Kessinger, analyst
Series: Georgia leads 72-42
Last Meeting: January 11, 2017
    Georgia won 69-47
    Oxford, Miss.

TIPOFF TIDBITS
- Ole Miss is riding a three-game winning streak, including a 74-69 win over South Carolina on New Year’s Eve to open up SEC play; the Rebels made 20 of 23 free throws in the second half to hold on for the victory.
- The Rebels are looking to start 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since the 2012-13 season when they advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Round of 32.
- With 99 victories in regular season conference games, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is seeking to become 23rd coach in SEC history to record triple digits in SEC wins.
- Ole Miss has posted conference records over .500 in each of the last three seasons, the first time they have done that since 1936-1938.
- The Rebels are 6-1 in games played on Jan. 3 over the last 20 years.   
- Ole Miss just wrapped up a five-game homestand to end the 2017 calendar year, going 4-1 during the stretch.
- Ole Miss averaged 10.2 threes made per game over the last five games; averaging 9.1 threes per game for the year, the Rebels sit fourth in the SEC.
- The Rebels rank top 25 nationally in assist/turnover ratio (22nd-1.5) and blocks per game (25th-5.7).
- Ole Miss has used eight different starting lineups in 13 games, one of nine teams nationally to have done that.
- Ten different players have started games this year for Ole Miss.
- Guards are accounting for 71.1 percent of the Rebels’ scoring.
- The Ole Miss bench is averaging 30.5 points per game.
- Senior Deandre Burnett ranks second in the SEC and 25th nationally with a 3.0 assist/turnover ratio; Burnett is coming off a game in which he led the Rebels with 18 points and six assists.
- With two blocks versus South Carolina senior Marcanvis Hymon reached 90 for his career to break into the top 10 on the school’s all-time list.
- Terence Davis has scored double digits in 25 of the last 28 games dating back to last season.
- Ole Miss is in the 12th season of the Andy Kennedy era; Kennedy, the Dean of the SEC, is the winningest coach in school history with 242 victories.
- The Rebels are over .500 as a program (1,289-1,287) for the first time since 1959; Ole Miss was 95 games under .500 when Kennedy took over in Oxford.
- Only 12 games into this season, Kennedy already has the fifth-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first 12 years in the league at one school.

PARTY LIKE IT’S 1959
Playing their 108th season of college basketball, the Rebels are 1,289-1,287 all-time. After a win over Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 13) earlier this season, Ole Miss moved its all-time winning percentage over .500 for the first time since Jan. 12, 1959 when they were 441-440 overall. To put that in perspective, a gallon of gas cost 25 cents, while 1959 was also the year that Alaska and Hawaii became states. As a program, Ole Miss was 95 games under .500 when Andy Kennedy took over in Oxford prior to the 2006-07 season.

SCOUTING GEORGIA
Georgia enters Wednesday’s matchup at 9-3 coming off a loss at Kentucky to start SEC play. In non-conference action, the Bulldogs lost to San Diego State and UMass; however, they won all six of their home games. UGA is led by senior Yante Maten, who nearly averages a double-double. Ranking second in the SEC with 19.9 ppg and leading the conference in rebounding (9.5 per game), Maten has produced an SEC-best six double-doubles this season. Pulling down 4.2 offensive boards per game, he ranks seventh in the country. Junior guard William Jackson II follows Maten with 11.5 ppg, while leading the Bulldogs in assists (46) and three-point shooting (25 of 60). UGA is coached by Mark Fox, who is in his sixth season at the helm of the program.

SERIES HISTORY
Wednesday’s game will be the 115th meeting between the two schools, with Georgia holding a 72-42 lead in the series. The series has been close as of late with the Bulldogs having a slight 9-8 edge over the last 17 meetings. Georgia also has a 40-12 advantage when facing Ole Miss in Athens. The Rebels are looking for their first win in Athens since Jan. 21, 2012. Head coach Andy Kennedy owns a 7-8 record against UGA.

LAST TIME WE MET
The Rebels and Bulldogs last met just less than one year ago (Jan. 11, 2017). Terence Davis scored 12 points and Sebastian Saiz added 11, but Ole Miss dropped a home matchup to Georgia 69-47. It was the lowest scoring output ever for the Rebels in The Pavilion at Ole Miss, which opened in January 2016. Georgia jumped out to a 30-18 halftime lead after the Rebels shot just 5 of 30 (16.7 percent) from the field. The Ole Miss offense was hobbled when Deandre Burnett, who is the team’s leading scorer at the time with 19 points per game, sprained his ankle in the first half and didn’t return.

KENNEDY SEEKS 100TH SEC WIN
A win against Georgia Wednesday would give head coach Andy Kennedy his 100th win in SEC regular season games, becoming the 23rd coach in conference history to accomplish the feat. Kennedy, the winningest coach in Ole Miss history, is already ranked 23rd all-time in winning percentage for SEC regular season games at .529 (99-88). Currently, Kentucky head coach John Calipari is the only active SEC coach with 100 conference victories.

ON THIS DATE
Ole Miss has been successful over the past two decades when it plays on Jan. 3. The Rebels are 6-1 on Jan. 3 over the last 20 years, the only setback occurring last year in a 70-63 loss at then-No. 24 Florida. Prior to the loss to the Gators, Ole Miss rattled off Jan. 3 wins versus Austin Peay (2015), SMU (2012), Nicholls (2009), Western Carolina (2006), East Carolina (2004) and then-No. 11 South Carolina (1998).

FREE THROWS LEAD REBELS PAST GAMECOCKS
For the first time in four seasons, Ole Miss did not open SEC play against Kentucky. However, the Rebels still faced a foe that made the Final Four a season ago. Ole Miss converted 20 of its 23 free throws in the second half to hold off South Carolina 74-69 in a hard-fought SEC opener on New Year’s Eve at The Pavilion. The Rebels got 35 points between seniors Deandre Burnett and Markel Crawford to increase their winning streak to three games heading into the 2018 calendar year. Ole Miss held South Carolina under 70 points on 22 of 58 shooting and forced the Gamecocks to turn the basketball over 14 times.

BLOCK PARTY
Averaging 5.7 blocks per game, Ole Miss ranks 25th in the country. Four Rebels have reached double digits in blocks, led by 19 from senior Marcanvis Hymon. With two rejections in the win over South Carolina on Sunday, Hymon reached 90 blocks for his career to move to 10th all-time in program history. Junior guard Terence Davis is second on the team in blocks (15), while senior forward Justas Furmanavicius has recorded 12 of his own. In his first season as a Rebel, Bruce Stevens has 10 blocks. With seven blocks in the last three games, seven-footer Dominik Olejniczak is one block away from reaching double figures.

RAINING THREES
During the five-game homestand that just ended, Ole Miss averaged 10.2 made three-pointers per game. The storm from beyond the arc has increased the team’s average to 9.1 made threes per contest, which ranks fourth in the SEC. Against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 19), Ole Miss hit 14 from long distance, one off the school record set against Syracuse (March 18, 2017) and Oregon (Dec. 8, 2013). The Rebels started out 9 of 15 (60 percent) from three in the first half before finishing the game 14 of 30 (46.7 percent). The shooting barrage marked the fifth time in program history that the Rebels sank 14 threes, the first time since a 76-73 win at Missouri (Feb. 8, 2014). Against Bradley, Ole Miss made 12 of 27 from long range.

REBELS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
Ole Miss ranks in the top 30 in three different categories. Second in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (1.5) and blocks per game (5.7), the Rebels rank 22nd and 25th in the country, respectively. Averaging 17.6 assists per game, Ole Miss is 30th nationally.

FAVORING LARGE MARGINS
Ole Miss is 6-1 in games decided by double digits. When the margin is less than 10, the Rebels are only 2-4. Three of those single-digit setbacks occurred in overtime, and the close encounters have hindered a better record. In half of their wins, the Rebels have never had to face a deficit. Ole Miss led throughout in victories over Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 13), Sam Houston State (Dec. 13) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 19).  

BENCH POINTS
The Ole Miss bench has played a prominent role in scoring through the early part of the 2017-18 campaign, averaging 30.5 points per game. In five of the Rebels’ 13 games, the bench has scored at least 40 points. The season high for bench points occurred against Utah (Nov. 20) in Las Vegas, as the reserves tallied 46 of the team’s 74 points. During a win over Bradley (Dec. 22), the Ole Miss bench accounted for 50 percent of the scoring (41 of 82).

GREEN LIGHT GUARDS
Andy Kennedy has proven to develop guards during his time at Ole Miss. Over Kennedy’s 11 seasons in Oxford, 12 guards have earned All-SEC accolades to rank third among conference teams. This season, the depth at guard shows in terms of scoring. Ole Miss guards have accounted for 71.1 percent of the Rebels’ points. The top three scorers on the team are guards led by Terence Davis (15.2 ppg), Deandre Burnett (14.7 ppg) and Markel Crawford (11.0 ppg). Freshman Devontae Shuler adds 8.8 ppg (fourth on the team), while Breein Tyree contributes 8.5 ppg (sixth on team).

PROTECTING THE ROCK
Ole Miss has taken care of the basketball this season. The Rebels have coughed up the rock only 156 times, ranking 41st nationally in fewest turnovers surrendered. Also by dishing out 17.6 assists per game (30th nationally), the Rebels’ 1.5 assist/turnover ratio sits second in the SEC and 22nd in the country. Senior guard Deandre Burnett holds the second-best individual assist/turnover ratio in the SEC at 3.0, which ranks 25th nationwide.

FINDING THE RIGHT FIVE
With more depth than last year’s squad, head coach Andy Kennedy has the ability to experiment with starting lineups early on in the season to try to find the best starting five. Through 13 games, the Rebels have sent out eight different starting lineups. Ole Miss is one of nine teams nationally that has had at least eight different starting lineups this season. Ten Rebels have started at least one game this season.

TD SCORING
After a breakout sophomore season last year, averaging 14.9 points per game after only providing 1.8 points per game as a freshman (largest increase in scoring among any returning player in the conference), Terence Davis has become a go-to scorer for Ole Miss. The Southaven, Mississippi, native has scored in double figures in 25 of the last 28 games dating back to last season. Leading the Rebels with 15.2 ppg, Davis ranks ninth in the SEC. He has already reached the 20-point plateau four times, including a 25-point performance versus Bradley (Dec. 22). Davis recorded 21 in the season opener versus Louisiana (Nov. 10) before putting up 24 in a win over Georgia State one week later (Nov. 17). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Davis scored 20 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. He has also showcased his skills on the defensive end, ranking second in blocks (14) and third in steals (15). As a sophomore last year, Davis ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage (48.2) and recorded 20+ points in six different games. He became a playmaker on both sides of the floor, leading the Rebels with 50 steals as well.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT DRE
A first team preseason all-conference selection, senior Deandre Burnett is embracing his role as a leader. Burnett is averaging 14.7 ppg, ranking second on the team, while leading the Rebels with 64 assists. Not only does he pace Ole Miss in assists, but Burnett takes care of the ball by ranking second in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (3.0). Over the last nine games, he has produced 54 assists (6.0 per game). The Miami Gardens, Florida, native led Ole Miss with team highs in points (18) and assists (6) in a victorious SEC opener versus South Carolina (Dec. 31). As an 86.6 percent shooter at the line for his career, he is on pace to finish as the second-best free throw shooter in Ole Miss history. Last season, his first as a Rebel, Burnett averaged a team-high 16.5 ppg and finished fifth in the SEC in both free throw percentage (.881) and three-point percentage (.376). Finishing eighth in the league in scoring, Burnett reached double figures in 26 of 33 games, including 10 20-plus performances and a career-high 41-point output (Nov. 18, 2016 vs. Oral Roberts). He also shared the rock, providing 104 assists throughout the season (3.2 apg).

BURNETT IN THE RANKS
Despite coming off the bench in seven of the team’s 13 games, senior guard Deandre Burnett ranks in the top five of the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (2nd-2.9), assists per game (4th-4.9), total assists (4th-64), free throw attempts (5th-80) and free throws made (4th-66). He sits top 100 nationally in all of those categories, including 25th in assist/turnover ratio.  

HYMON PICKS UP WHERE SAIZ LEFT OFF
Heading into the season, a big question mark for Ole Miss was who would fill the void left by Sebastian Saiz. With the help of a school-record 409 rebounds, Saiz recorded 23 double-doubles a season ago. Senior Marcanvis Hymon has been the focal point of the front court that needs to replace Saiz. In his fourth year at Ole Miss, the Memphis, Tennessee, native is the only active player to spend all four seasons in Oxford. Through 13 games, Hymon leads the Rebels with 6.3 rpg. He has reached double digits in rebounds three times this year, including a 12-point, 13-rebound performance in the season opener versus Louisiana (Nov. 10). The big opening game marked the third double-double in Hymon’s career. Through 87 career games, Hymon is moving up the school’s career blocks chart. With a team-high 19 already this year, he ranks 10th with 90 career rejections following a team-high 40 last season.

SHULER’S STATEMENT
A 4-star guard out of perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, there was a lot of hype surrounding Devontae Shuler entering the season. The freshman is averaging 8.8 ppg in 20.8 minutes per game and swiping a team-high 18 steals (ninth in the SEC). He has converted at the free throw line, making nine of his 10 attempts for a 90.0 percent clip. Against South Dakota State, he recorded a career-high 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting to go along with a team-high three steals. In his debut, Shuler recorded 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench. The Irmo, South Carolina, native knocked down four shots from beyond the arc versus Louisiana (Nov. 10), and his offensive output was the most points by a freshman in a season opener since Trevor Gaskins recorded 21 versus Mississippi Valley State, exactly 10 years ago (Nov. 10, 2007).

MARKEL MAKING HIS MARK
As a graduate transfer, Markel Crawford is already making his mark in his only season with the Rebels. The Memphis product has started 12 of the Rebels’ 13 games and leads the team in minutes per game (30.5), which ranks 13th in the SEC. He also is second on the team in steals (17) and averages 11.0 points per game. In his first career SEC game, Crawford tallied 17 points to go along with a team-high three steals to help the Rebels secure a victory over South Carolina (Dec. 31). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Crawford scored 19 points, his most as a Rebel, on 7 of 11 shooting.  

BIG BRUCE’S BREAKOUT
When he’s inserted into the starting lineup, junior college transfer Bruce Stevens puts together his best performances as a Rebel. Coming off the bench in 10 games, Stevens has scored a total of 71 points (7.1 ppg). In three starts, he is averaging 16.7 ppg. In his first start, at Middle Tennessee (Dec. 9), he recorded 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting in 25 minutes for his first double-digit scoring game of the season. Stevens followed that game with a 13-point night in a win over Sam Houston State (Dec. 13), going 6 of 7 from the floor. Stevens was unstoppable versus Illinois State (Dec. 16), posting a career-high 27 points that included going 7 of 9 from the floor and 13 of 16 from the free throw line. It was the most points scored this season by a Rebel. Over the last four games, Stevens has made 22 of 27 free throws (81.8 percent) to increase his season percentage to .714.

SWIPE RIGHT
Ole Miss has been active with their hands on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 7.0 steals per game to rank fourth in the SEC. Through 13 games, six Rebels have recorded at least eight steals. Devontae Shuler leads the way with 18 steals, ranking ninth in the SEC, while Markel Crawford and Terence Davis are closely behind with 17 and 15, respectively. Breein Tyree has nine steals, while Justas Furmanavicius and Marcanvis Hymon has eight of their own. Against the Utes (Nov. 20), the Rebels tallied 14 steals throughout the night, a season high for the Red and Blue.

12TH YEAR OF THE KENNEDY ADMINISTRATION
With the 12th season led by Mississippi native Andy Kennedy underway, Ole Miss has a 242-145 record, one SEC Tournament championship, two SEC West championships, nine 20-win campaigns and eight postseason berths, which includes two NCAA Tournament appearances and pair of trips to the NIT Final Four, throughout Kennedy’s watch. The all-time winningest coach in school history, Kennedy has averaged more than 21 wins per season in his 11 years in Oxford after the Rebels posted just three 21-win seasons in the 96 years before his arrival.

DEAN OF SEC COACHES
In his 12th season in the league, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is the Dean of SEC basketball coaches. Kennedy has faced 38 different head coaches in the SEC during his time in Oxford. He is also the longest tenured head coach in the league in both basketball and football having entered the league prior to Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

KENNEDY’S FIRST 12 YEARS RANK AMONG ALL-TIME SEC GREATS
Andy Kennedy is also fifth on the list for most wins by a coach in their first 12 years in the league after taking over an SEC program. See the list below:

1. Bill Donovan (Florida) – 285
2. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) – 279
3. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) – 265
4. Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) – 255
5. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 242
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) – 236
7. Hugh Durham (Georgia) – 219
8. Ray Mears (Tennessee) – 218
9. Dale Brown (LSU) – 212
10. C.M. Newton (Alabama) – 211
11. Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) – 204
11. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 204

KENNEDY MOVING UP SEC COACHING WINS LIST
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is climbing the SEC coaching wins chart, ranking 18th with 242 career victories. See complete list below:

1. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) - 875
2. Billy Donovan (Florida) - 467
3. Dale Brown (LSU) - 448
4. C.M. Newtown (UA/VU) - 340
    Harry Rabenhorst (LSU) - 340
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) - 332
7. Tubby Smith (UGA/UK) - 308
8. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) - 297
    Hugh Durhman (Georgia) - 297
10. Rick Stansbury (MSU) - 293
11. Ray Mears (Tennessee) - 278
    Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) - 278
13. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) - 265
    John Mauer (UK/UT/UF) - 265
15. Hank Crisp (Alabama) - 264
16. John Calipari (Kentucky) - 259
17. Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) - 249
18. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) - 242
19. Norm Sloan (Florida) - 232
20. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) - 219
21. Joel Eaves (Auburn) - 214

NEXT ON THE HARDWOOD
After the first road trip of SEC play, the Rebels return home to host rival Mississippi State (Jan. 6). Ole Miss has won seven of the past eight matchups in the Magnolia State rivalry. Tipoff for the Saturday afternoon contest is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on SEC Network.


 

 

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