Jan. 11, 2011
Complete Ole Miss Game Notes
SEC HOME OPENER: Ole Miss (12-4, 0-1 SEC) vs. Mississippi State (8-7, 0-1 SEC)
Thursday 1.13.11 | 8:00 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
Live TV: ESPN2 (Brad Nessler, play-by-play; Mark Gottfried, analyst)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 214, XM 199
Live Video: ESPN3.com
BATTLE OF DEFENDING SEC WEST CHAMPS
As if being in-state rivals and owning the most-played series in the SEC isn’t enough, Ole Miss and Mississippi State will also square off Thursday as the defending SEC West co-champs. Both schools finished with a 9-7 league record to top the division last year. Ole Miss dropped its SEC opener at Florida 77-71 on Saturday, but has won nine of its last 11 games entering the contest. Mississippi State fell to Alabama 75-57 in its league opener Saturday in Starkville despite the return of point guard Dee Bost and forward Renardo Sidney to the lineup. This is the second straight year for Ole Miss to open the league home schedule with Mississippi State.
- Ole Miss claimed the 2010 SEC Western Division title and was picked by the media to finish second in the West this year.
- The Rebels have a 37-40 record in SEC home openers and have won three of the last five.
- Thursday’s game will be the 242nd meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 136-105 in the SEC’s most-played rivalry.
- Andy Kennedy has led Ole Miss to a 67-12 record at home during his tenure.
- Ole Miss leads all SEC teams with a 47.5 FG percentage and a 74.6 FT percentage.
- The Rebels rank third in the league and 35th in the country with a 77.6 scoring average.
- National awards candidate Chris Warren has tied the Ole Miss career 3-pointers record with 278. He is the active SEC leader in points, assists, 3-pointers and 20-point games.
- Sophomore forward Reginald Buckner leads the SEC with a 67.6 FG percentage, which would lead the nation if he had enough attempts to qualify.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Rick Stansbury’s Mississippi State Bulldogs enter the contest with an 8-7 overall record. They have lost five of the last six games, including Saturday’s SEC opener against Alabama (75-57). The defending co-SEC West champs have been without starting point guard Dee Bost throughout non-league play (academics, NCAA suspension). Highly touted newcomer Renardo Sidney has played three games since coming off an NCAA suspension. MSU averages 68.2 ppg and allows 69.6 ppg. Senior Ravern Johnson is the SEC’s leading scorer at 19.2 ppg. He also leads the league in minutes played (36.1/game) and ranks third with 3.1 3s per game. Bost scored 14 points with five assists in his return against Alabama. Kodi Augustus averages 12.3 ppg and a team-best 8.3 rpg. Sidney is posting 11.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg in three contests.
OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES
Thursday’s game will be the 242nd meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 136-105 in the SEC’s most-played rivalry. Mississippi State swept Ole Miss last year after the teams had split the season series each of the previous four years. MSU won 80-75 in last year’s SEC opener in Oxford and then prevailed 71-63 in Starkville behind Ravern Johnson’s game-high 18 points. The Rebels hold a 77-42 series advantage in games played in Oxford and have taken nine of the last 15 and three of the last five at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Ole Miss assistant coach Owen Miller will be countering a familiar program on Thursday. Miller served the same position at Mississippi State from 1994-95 until 1996-97. In his first coaching experience, he helped Richard Williams’ Bulldogs to an NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 1995 and a Final Four trip the following year. MSU won the SEC West crown twice in his tenure and captured the league tournament title in 1996. Miller was an assistant alongside then-assistant Rick Stansbury.
OLE MISS IN SEC HOME OPENERS
The Rebels have an overall record of 37-40 in their first SEC home game of the year. Ole Miss has won three of the last five, but fell to Mississippi State, 80-75, last year.
Ole Miss concluded regular-season, non-conference play with the SEC West’s best record at 12-3, fourth-best overall in the league this year. The Rebels boast a 65-16 record (.802 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, including a 45-2 mark at home.
KENNEDY NEARS 100 WINS AT OLE MISS
With 97 wins in his fifth season as the Ole Miss head coach, Andy Kennedy is three shy of becoming the third coach in school history with 100 career victories. He trails only B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 years) and Rod Barnes (141 wins in eight years) on the school’s career coaching victories chart. Kennedy’s .642 winning percentage (97-54) is significantly better than Graham’s (.462) or Barnes’ (.564). Kennedy is 118-67 in his sixth year overall as a head coach (includes one season at Cincinnati).
There are two Mississippi natives running the floor for the Rebels this year in freshmen Demarco Cox (Yazoo City) and Dundrecous Nelson (Jackson). They are the first scholarship players from the Magnolia State to suit up for the Rebels since Oxford native Kendrick Fox roamed the court from 2002-05. In addition, Ole Miss signed three more Mississippians to join the Rebels next season: Aaron Jones (Pascagoula), Jarvis Summers (Jackson) and Ladarius White (McComb).
Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams (and 35th in nation) with 77.6 ppg. The Rebels have eclipsed 80 points six times this year and have reached triple digits twice (101 vs. Mississippi Valley State, 100 vs. Alcorn State).
As the season has progressed, so has the Rebels’ field-goal percentage. The Rebels lead the SEC and rank 43rd in the country, making 47.5 percent of their shots from the field. They have shot better than 40 percent in all but one game and better than 50 percent in five outings. That includes a season-best 59.6 percent at UALR, which was the highest mark ever allowed by the Trojans at the Jack Stephens Center. Reginald Buckner leads the league with a 67.6 FG percentage and would lead the nation if he had enough attempts. Terrance Henry ranks ninth in the league at 52.4 percent. Every regular in the Rebels’ lineup is hitting shots at better than a 40 percent clip.
Ole Miss has displayed some impressive bursts of scoring this season. With feats of athleticism and sharp outside shooting, the Rebels have posted at least one 40-point half in all but one game this season, including a high of 52 in the first half against Mississippi Valley State. The Rebels have a pair of 100-point games for the first time since the 2007-08 season. The last time Ole Miss reached triple digits three times in a season was in 1998-99.
CRASHING THE BOARDS
Ole Miss has vastly improved its rebounding numbers in the last few outings. The Rebels came into the Cancun Governor’s Cup with a -0.6 rebounding margin (which was worst in the SEC) through their first nine games. But in the last seven outings, Ole Miss has out-rebounded its foes by an average of 13.7 boards, including a 45-22 advantage vs. Texas State, 42-23 vs. Saint Louis and 47-27 vs. Alcorn State. The season rebounding margin has vaulted all the way to +5.7, which is fourth-best among SEC teams. Reginald Buckner is averaging 9.7 boards over his last six games, while Terrance Henry is pulling down 9.0 per game over the last four and Zach Graham is getting 7.7 per game in the last six.
FREEBIES FALLING AT HIGH RATE
The Rebels lead all SEC teams and rank 28th in the nation with a 74.6 FT percentage. They have shot 80 percent or better in five games this season. Their 95.7 FT percentage against Murray State (22-of-23) was the second-best mark in school history for a game with at least 20 attempts. Chris Warren leads the SEC and ranks fourth in the nation with a 94.4 FT percentage. He has made 84 of 89 attempts on the season and has converted 42 of his last 43 from the line. Zach Graham is third in the league at 84.6 percent.
Chris Warren LEADS THE WAY
For the 2010-11 Rebels, most things run through senior point guard Chris Warren. A candidate for numerous accolades, he currently ranks second in the SEC in scoring (18.6), third in assists (4.3), first in FT percentage (94.4), fourth in 3-pointers made (2.4), fourth in assist-turnover ratio (1.8) and fourth in minutes (33.9). He has scored 20+ points in eight games (most among SEC players) and has led the Rebels in scoring 10 times. He has led the team in assists in all but two games, with a season-high of seven at UALR.
WARREN SOARING UP CAREER POINTS LIST
Chris Warren continues to fly up the Ole Miss career points list. Entering the Mississippi State game, he has 1,669 career points, seventh-most in school history. He needs 14 points to pass current Ole Miss Radio analyst Keith Carter, who ranks sixth with 1,682. If Warren can reach 2,000 points and 400 assists for his career, he will be only the fourth player in SEC history to do so (LSU’s Pete Maravich, Tennessee’s Allan Houston and Georgia’s Litterial Green are the others).
WARREN MATCHES CAREER 3-POINT RECORD
With four 3-pointers at Florida, Chris Warren tied Aaron Harper’s school record of 278 for a career, which is tied for 10th-most all-time in the SEC. Barry Stewart (MSU) ranks ninth in SEC history with 280. Warren also has passed Harper for the school record for career 3-point attempts.
WARREN PASSES HIS WAY INTO TOP FIVE
With six assists against Alcorn State, Chris Warren moved into the top five in school history with 380 career assists. He is now up to 392 dimes in his career. Next up is Jason Harrison, who ranks fourth with 427.
GRAHAM REACHES 1,000 POINTS
Zach Graham became the 32nd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau when he scored 13 points at SMU. He enters the MSU game in 32nd place with 1,014 career points. The Suwanee, Ga., native has accomplished the feat with steady improvement every year (averaged 5.9 ppg as a freshman, 8.5 as a sophomore, 9.2 as a junior and 14.1 as a senior). He joins Chris Warren as current 1,000-point scorers at Ole Miss.
GRAHAM EXCELS AS A SENIOR
Senior guard Zach Graham has been solid and steady in his final campaign. He ranks 16th in the SEC with a 13.9 scoring average and third with an 84.6 free-throw percentage. He averages 4.4 rebounds per game, including 7.7 over the last six. He posted a career-high 22 points against Murray State and led the Rebels with 16 vs. Dayton. He posted his first career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 13 boards vs. Colorado State. Graham averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in three games in Mexico and was named to the Cancun Governor’s Cup All-Tournament team. He put up 18 points and 8 boards vs. Alcorn State and scored 14 against Southeastern La. He tallied 13 points and 8 boards at SMU. He had 11 points, 5 boards and 2 blocks in the SEC opener at Florida.
Zach Graham = WINNER
Senior guard Zach Graham has done nothing but win since he arrived in Oxford. With 76 career wins, he needs 11 more to become the winningest player in school history. Jason Flanigan (1998-2001) currently holds the record with 87 career victories.
BUCKNER DOMINATING THE GLASS
Reginald Buckner has started to make himself a force to reckon with on the glass. The 6-9 sophomore is pulling down 9.7 rebounds per game over his last six contests, including totals of 13 (vs. Texas State), 12 (vs. Colorado State), 11 (vs. Southeastern La.) and 10 (at Florida). He has three double-doubles on the year, including his first career SEC double-double with 13 points and 10 boards at Florida. He is tied for 13th in the SEC with 6.9 rpg for the season.
BLOCKING SHOTS, BUCKNER STYLE
Already one of the most prolific shot-blockers in school history, sophomore forward Reginald Buckner recently became the fifth player in school history to reach 100 career blocks. Buckner enters the MSU game with 110 blocks in his career and needs four more to match Johnnie Rogers’ third-place total of 114. Against Florida he set a new Ole Miss sophomore record, surpassing Malcolm White’s total of 43 in 2008-09. He ranks third in the SEC and 12th in the country with 3.1 blocks per game and has recorded five or more swats in five games this year, including a career-high seven vs. ETSU.
Nick Williams MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT
After transferring from Indiana and sitting out last season due to NCAA rules, sophomore guard Nick Williams has been a key addition on the court this year. A starter in all 16 games, he is averaging 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds and has been an instrumental vocal leader on the floor. His 21 points against Murray State were a career high (including Indiana and Ole Miss). Against Penn State, he scored 15 points with career highs of three treys and four assists. He grabbed a season-high 8 rebounds vs. Texas State and Colorado State and scored 13 point against the Rams. He scored 7 points with 3 boards in his SEC debut at Florida. In the preseason, he was named one of the top 25 impact transfers in the country by Athlon Sports.
FRESHMEN COMING ALONG
The Rebels’ freshman duo of Demarco Cox and Dundrecous Nelson, like most freshmen, took a few games to adjust to the college game. But now they are coming on quickly. The 6-8, 295-pound Cox posted career highs of 11 points and 10 rebounds against Alcorn State for his first double-double. He had seven boards in the previous game vs. Saint Louis. Nelson, a 5-11, 194-pound point guard, has been brilliant of late, putting up career bests in back-to-back games with 16 points vs. Saint Louis and then 17 against Alcorn State.
OTHER PLAYER NOTES
Reginald Buckner: Has played in 15 games, with 13 starts ... Ranks 3rd in the SEC and 12th in the nation in blocks (3.1/game) ... Leads the SEC in field-goal percentage (67.6) and would lead the nation if he had enough attempts ... 13th in the league in rebounding (6.9/game) ... Averaging 8.3 points and 9.7 rebounds over his last 6 games ... Missed the Alcorn State game with a sore knee ... 5 blocks vs. Arkansas State ... 8 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks vs. Murray State ... 5 blocks vs. Penn State ... First double-double of his career with 14 points, 11 rebounds at UALR, while also blocking 5 shots ... Posted yet another 5-block game vs. MVSU ... Posted career highs with 16 points and 7 blocks vs. ETSU ... 8 points, career-high 13 rebounds vs. Texas State ... 7 points, 12 rebounds, 2 blocks vs. Colorado State ... Second double-double of the year with 12 points, 11 boards vs. SE Louisiana, adding 4 blocks ... First career SEC double-double with 13 points, 10 boards (and 4 blocks) at Florida.
Demarco Cox: Has started 4 games and played in all 16 ... Saw his first career action in the season opener vs. Arkansas State ... Scored first career basket against Dayton ... Made first career start vs. Penn State ... Posted 10 points (5-6 FGs) and 6 boards vs. MVSU ... Made second career start vs. Saint Louis and grabbed 7 boards ... Started against Alcorn State and posted season bests of 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double.
Trevor Gaskins: Has played in 13 games with 8 starts ... Returned from a three-game absence to play 19 minutes at SMU ... Averaged 13.5 points and 5.3 rebounds over 4 games prior to injuring his hamstring in the Colorado State game ... Scored 8 points with 7 rebounds vs. Arkansas State ... Had 8 points, 4 boards and 3 steals vs. Murray State ... Poured in career-high 24 points vs. Penn State, making 9-of-14 FGs and 6-of-11 3s ... Scored 11 points (4-5 FGs) and grabbed a career-high 8 rebounds at UALR ... Tallied 15 points, 4 assists, no turnovers, 3 rebounds and 3 steals vs. MVSU ... 7 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals vs. ETSU ... Led the Rebels with 21 points, 4 assists and 3 steals vs. Texas State.
Zach Graham: Has appeared in all 16 games with 8 starts ... Ranks 16th in the SEC in scoring (13.9) and third in free-throw percentage (84.6) ... Posted double-figure points in each of first three games (12 vs. Arkansas State, 22 vs. Murray State, 16 vs. Dayton) ... Scored 19 off the bench at Miami ... Posted 16 points off the bench vs. Southern Miss (8-8 FTs) ... Had 17 points off the bench at UALR ... 14 points off the bench vs. ETSU ... 10 points off the bench vs. Texas State ... Posted his first career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 13 boards vs. Colorado State ... Averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds at the Cancun Governor’s Cup and was named to the All-Tournament team ... 18 points, 8 rebounds vs. Alcorn State ... 14 points vs. SE Louisiana ... 13 points, 8 boards at SMU ... 11 points, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks at Florida.
Terrance Henry: Has started 15 of 16 games ... Ranks 9th in the SEC in FG percentage (52.4) ... Posted 8 points and 6 rebounds vs. Arkansas State ... Scored 12 points with a team-high 7 boards vs. Dayton ... 13 points (7-8 FTs), team-high 6 boards vs. Penn State ... 8 points, team-high 7 boards vs. Southern Miss ... Posted a season-high 14 points (3-4 FGs, 7-10 FTs) with 8 boards vs. MVSU ... 13 points (4-6 FGs, 5-5 FTs), 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks vs. Texas State ... 10 points, 5 boards vs. Saint Louis ... 9 rebounds and season-high 4 blocks vs. Alcorn State ... Scored 8 points and pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds vs. SE Louisiana ... 11 points, 8 boards at SMU ... Scored 12 points with 8 boards at Florida.
Dundrecous Nelson: Has played in all 16 games ... Ranks second on the team in 3-pointers made (20) ... Saw his first career action in the season opener vs. Arkansas State ... Scored first career basket against Murray State ... Tallied 12 points (5-8 FGs, 2-5 3-pt FGs) vs. Dayton ... 3 assists tied for the team lead at Miami ... 11 points (3-5 3-pt FGs), 3 assists vs. Southern Miss ... 9 points (3-4 3-pt FGs) at UALR ... 10 points vs. MVSU ... Dished out a career-high 6 assists vs. ETSU ... Had his first highlight-reel dunk vs. Colorado State ... Poured in 16 points (4-5 FGs, 6-6 FTs) vs. Saint Louis ... Second straight game with a career high in points, scoring 17 against Alcorn State, adding 4 assists and 2 steals.
Steadman Short: Has played in 15 games ... Saw his first action as a Rebel in the season opener vs. Arkansas State ... Pulled down 6 boards vs. Murray State and Dayton ... Had 8 points with 4 boards vs. MVSU ... Missed the ETSU game due to a sick stomach ... Best game as a Rebel with 8 points (4-4 FGs) and 10 rebounds vs. Alcorn State ... Season-high 10 points (5-6 FGs) with 5 boards at SMU ... Had a spectacular put-back dunk off a missed 3-pointer against the Mustangs.
Chris Warren: Has started all but one game in his Rebel career (did not start on Senior Day when he was a freshman) ... Has led the team in scoring 10 times and in assists all but twice this season ... Scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half vs. Arkansas State ... 20 points, 4 assists vs. Penn State ... 18 of his 23 points in second half at Miami ... 15 of his 20 points in the second half vs. Southern Miss ... 18 points, season-high 7 assists at UALR ... 18 points (9-11 FTs), 5 assists vs. MVSU ... Posted 22 points, 6 assists, 1 turnover vs. ETSU ... Scored 18 points (12-12 FTs) with 3 assists vs. Texas State ... 15 points vs. Saint Louis ... Had 24 points (8-11 FGs, 3-5 3-pt FGs, 5-5 FTs), 6 assists and no turnovers vs. Alcorn State ... 22 points, 6 assists vs. SE Louisiana ... 19 points at SMU ... Scored all 20 of his points (6-11 FGs, 4-8 3-pt FGs, 4-4 FTs) in a second-half comeback attempt at Florida.
Nick Williams: Has started his first 16 games in a Rebel uniform ... Career-high 21 points vs. Murray State ... 14 points (6-9 FGs, 2-4 3-pt FGs) vs. Dayton ... 15 points (3-4 3-pt FGs), 4 assists, 4 rebounds vs. Penn State ... 13 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists vs. Southern Miss ... 10 points, 7 rebounds vs. MVSU ... Season-high 8 rebounds vs. Texas State ... Scored 13 points and tied a season-high 8 boards vs. Colorado State.