GAME 17: Ole Miss (10-6, 1-1) vs. LSU (13-3, 1-1)
Saturday 01.17.09 | 3 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
Live TV: Raycom (Tom Hammond, play-by-play; Joe Dean, analyst)
Pay-per-view TV: ESPN Full Court
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Listen Online through RebelVision
Live Video: ESPN360.com (Free on-campus viewing at all U.S. colleges and universities)
XM Radio: Channel 200
REBELS HOST SECOND STRAIGHT DIVISION FOE
Despite not having the services of three key players due to season-ending injuries, Ole Miss won its SEC home opener Wednesday against Arkansas, 74-65, and hosts a second straight Western Division foe when LSU comes to Oxford on Saturday. The Rebels are 1-1 in league play after opening with a 78-68 road loss to Florida. Freshman Terrico White, seeing his most minutes at point guard this season, tied a career high with 18 points off the bench to lead a balanced team effort against the Razorbacks. David Huertas scored 16, Zach Graham added 12 and Murphy Holloway 11. Malcolm White posted a solid game down low with eight points and nine rebounds. Ole Miss owns a 40-4 record at home in three seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy. The LSU Tigers won their league home opener 85-68 over South Carolina to also move to 1-1.
COTTON BOWL CHAMPS TO BE HONORED
Ole Miss' Cotton Bowl Champion football team will be honored during Saturday’s game vs. LSU. Bowl representatives will be presenting the trophy to head coach Houston Nutt at halftime. The Rebels earned a final national ranking of 14th after upending Texas Tech 47-34 in the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic. Ole Miss defeated eventual national champion Florida on the road and ended the year on a six-game win streak.
INJURIES PILING UP IN UNPRECEDENTED FASHION
To call the 2008-09 Ole Miss basketball season “injury-plagued” would be an understatement. Before conference play began, the Rebels were already down three key members of the backcourt to season-ending knee injuries. In an 11-day stretch during the first two weeks of play, the Rebels lost sophomore Trevor Gaskins (torn ACL in left knee) and junior Eniel Polynice (extensive cartilage damage and loose fragments in left knee). And then on Dec. 18, sophomore point guard Chris Warren suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on the Rebels’ last offensive possession of the 77-68 loss to No. 9 Louisville.
Gaskins and Polynice are both in the midst of their rehab programs, while Warren underwent a successful surgery on Tuesday. All three are expected to be ready before the start of next season.
The team is applying for, and expects to be granted, medical hardship waivers for Gaskins and Polynice, which would give each an extra year of eligibility, while it is doubtful that Warren will be eligible for the medical redshirt based on the number of games he has already played.
SCOUTING THE BAYOU BENGALS
In its first season under head coach Trent Johnson, LSU owns a 13-3 record and 1-1 mark in Southeastern Conference action entering Saturday’s contest. The Tigers dropped their SEC opener on the road by a 65-59 count to Alabama before winning at home 85-68 over South Carolina. They have won all 13 games at home, but are 0-3 away from the PMAC. LSU had built up a 12-1 record prior to a 91-61 defeat at Utah in its final tuneup before league play. Johnson’s club sports the third-rated defense in the league, allowing just 62.0 points per game, while the offense averages 75.3 per contest. Senior sharpshooter Marcus Thornton leads the team with 17.9 ppg, while Tasmin Mitchell adds 15.1 ppg and Bo Spencer 12.2. Chris Johnson is the team’s top rebounder (7.1/game) and the third-ranked shot blocker in the league (2.2/game).
OLE MISS-LSU SERIES
The series with the Tigers, which began in 1909, is the second-longest in Ole Miss basketball history. LSU leads the all-time series 114-80, although the Rebels hold a 14-12 edge in the last 26 meetings. Ole Miss has won three of the last five encounters. The teams split last year’s series with each winning on its home court. The Rebels hold a 50-32 lead in games played in Oxford and have won 11 of the last 15 at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Third-year Ole Miss mentor Andy Kennedy owns a 4-2 record against LSU in his career. He faced the Bayou Bengals as Cincinnati head coach in 2005-06, earning a 75-72 victory at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.
The Rebel roster features two Louisiana natives in freshman forward Terrance Henry (Monroe) and sophomore forward Malcolm White (Baton Rouge). In addition, Ole Miss assistant coach and former point guard Michael White spent his prep days at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, under coach Chris Jennings. During Michael's youth in Louisiana, his father Kevin White served as Athletic Director at Tulane. He is currently in that same position at Duke University.
DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy’s squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. The 80-78 loss to West Virginia snapped a 25-game home win streak over non-league foes and a nine-game overall home win streak, but Ole Miss has come back to win each of its last four at home. Ole Miss is now 40-4 in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum over the last three seasons.
FREE-THROW SHOOTING EXPLOITS
Ole Miss ranks second among Southeastern Conference teams and 17th in the nation with a 75.6 free-throw percentage. The Rebels set a school record with a 22-for-22 performance at the line against South Alabama and shot 93.8 percent (15-of-16) from the stripe against Morgan State and 93.3 percent (14-15) vs. Florida A&M. David Huertas ranks fifth in the SEC at 79.1 percent (87-of-110), while Zach Graham has only missed two free throws in 30 attempts (93.3 percent) and Terrance Henry is hitting at a 79.3 percent clip (23-of-29).
It is a marked improvement from a year ago, when the Rebels made just 65.1 percent of their attempts. In fact, Ole Miss has already doubled the games in which it shot 80 percent or better from the charity stripe this year (6) compared to all of last season (3).
IMPROVING ON THE GLASS
Ole Miss struggled in its rebounding game throughout much of non-conference play after the Rebels ranked 12th in the nation a year ago when led by a senior-laden frontcourt. However, after two SEC games Ole Miss ranks first in the conference in rebounding offense (41.0/game), rebounding defense (28.0/game) and therefore, rebounding margin (+13.0) in league contests. Ole Miss dominated Florida on the glass with a 46-22 advantage. That rebounding margin of 24 was the second-largest by a Rebel squad this season (25 vs. Florida A&M on 12/22).
Freshman forward Murphy Holloway leads the team with 5.8 rebounds per game and is averaging 7.3 over the last seven contests. He had a monster game on the glass vs. Florida A&M as he posted the Rebels’ first double-double of the year with 15 points and 16 boards. Sophomore forward Malcolm White, junior forward DeAundre Cranston and junior guard David Huertas have each had games with at least nine boards.
Ole Miss had already been forced to make backcourt adjustments after sophomore Trevor Gaskins and junior Eniel Polynice went down with season-ending injuries in the first two weeks of the season, but all-star point guard Chris Warren’s injury means even more changes have been needed. Only four scholarship guards remain on the roster - junior David Huertas, sophomore Zach Graham and freshmen Will Bogan and Terrico White. Bogan has earned his first career starts at the point in the last five games. White has played more minutes at the 1 position in the past two league games, and senior non-scholarship Patrick Spach has also seen some minutes as the primary ballhandler.
LIFE WITHOUT CHRIS WARREN
Ole Miss has responded to the loss of its preseason all-league point guard with three wins in the five games since his season ended with a torn ACL. With the loss of Chris Warren’s 19.6 points per game and league-high 34.4 minutes per game, the Rebels were looking for that production to come from somewhere. In the five games without Warren, freshman Terrico White has started to emerge as an offensive force at both point guard and shooting guard. He is averaging 11.2 points per game over that span and hit for a career high-tying 18 in the win over Arkansas Wednesday night. Freshman forward Murphy Holloway has stepped up with 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per contest, while sophomore forward Malcolm White has averaged 9.6 points and sophomore guard Zach Graham 9.4 points over that span.
HUERTAS CONSISTENT FROM DOWNTOWN
Junior guard David Huertas is entering rare territory with his current streak of 24 consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal. With a pair of treys against Arkansas, the Puerto Rico native moved past Joe Harvell for sole possession of the second-longest streak in Ole Miss history. He needs just two more games with a conversion from beyond the arc to tie for one of the top 20 streaks in SEC history. Listed below are the top three such streaks in school records:
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A 3-POINTER
1. 41 Aaron Harper (2000-01 to 2002-03)
2. 24 David Huertas (2007-08 to present)
3. 23 Joe Harvell (1990-91 to 1992-93)
HUERTAS TAKES GAME TO A NEW LEVEL
David Huertas has been a scoring machine for the Rebels this season, averaging 19.6 points, good for second in the SEC and 31st in the nation. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in 9 of 16 contests. He had 20 agianst No. 9 Louisville and set or tied career highs with 8 free-throws, 2 blocks and 4 steals against the Cardinals. He ranks second in the SEC in 3’s per game (2.8) and 3-point percentage (40.9). Against South Alabama, he poured in a season-high 27 points and tied his career high with 7 three’s, which is also tied for the second-highest single-game total in school history. Huertas’ production was kick-started by his finish last year, when he was instrumental in the Rebels’ run to the NIT Semifinals, averaging 16.1 points, 5.0 rebs and 4.0 three’s over the final 8 games. He ranks among the SEC leaders in several categories this year, as listed below:
Huertas’ SEC Ranks (AS OF 1/15)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 2nd/31st 19.6/game
Rebounding T-29th 4.6/game
FG Percentage 14th 45.3
FT Percentage 5th 79.1
3-pt FG Percentage 2nd/39th 40.9
3-pt FGs Made 2nd 2.8/game
Minutes Played 2nd 32.7/game
RECORDS THAT WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
In just their second season playing for the Red and Blue, Chris Warren and David Huertas have both moved up Ole Miss’ career three-point charts at a break-neck pace. With 25 treys this year, Warren eclipsed Clarence Sanders for seventh place on the all-time list with 128. Huertas has knocked down 45 from long range and is now in ninth place in the Rebel records with 120.
OLE MISS CAREER THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS
1. 278 Aaron Harper (123 games, 2001-04)
2. 249 Keith Carter (117 games, 1996-1999)
3. 214 Joe Harvell (114 games, 1990-93)
4. 163 Jason Harrison (132 games, 1999-02)
5. 158 Todd Abernethy (122 games, 2004-07)
6. 131 Joezon Darby (81 games, 1996-98)
7. 128 Chris Warren (46 games, 2008-present)
8. 127 Clarence Sanders (60 games, 2006-07)
9. 120 David Huertas (51 games, 2008-present)
REBEL “D” SHUTS DOWN NICHOLLS
Ole Miss produced one of its best defensive efforts in recent years in the 53-41 win over Nicholls on Jan. 3. The 41 points allowed was the lowest point total allowed by a Rebel team in three seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy and the fewest given up since a 71-38 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 28, 2002. The Rebels also held the Colonels to 30.6 percent shooting from the field and 19.2 percent from beyond the arc. The 30.6 field-goal percentage is tied for the second-lowest allowed by a Rebel team in Kennedy’s three years (25.5 - Miss. Valley St. on Nov. 10, 2006).
The previous low point total by a Rebel opponent in Kennedy’s tenure was 46 by UCF in a 78-46 Rebel win on Nov. 26 earlier this season.
HOLLOWAY EARNS SEC FRESHMAN HONOR
After posting career highs of 15 points and 16 boards vs. Florida A&M, forward Murphy Holloway was named the SEC Freshman of the Week by the league office on Dec. 29. His double-double against the Rattlers was the first by a Rebel this season. He is the first Rebel to receive a weekly honor from the league office this season.
WARREN WAS PLAYING AT HIGH LEVEL
Sophomore point guard Chris Warren, a preseason All-SEC first team selection by league coaches, will miss the remainder of the season after an MRI revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament (as well as a minor MCL sprain, medial meniscus tear and lateral bone contusion) to his left knee. The injury occurred on a layup attempt on the Rebels’ last offensive possession of the 77-68 loss to No. 9 Louisville in Cincinnati on Dec. 18.
Through 11 games, the Orlando native was following up a sensational rookie campaign in which he broke the school’s three-point record and set the freshman scoring record by showing further improvement in several areas and ranking fourth in the SEC with 19.6 points per game. He also ranked among the top SEC players in several other categories at the time of his injury, as listed below:
Warren’s SEC Ranks (AS OF 12/19)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 4th/50th 19.6/game
Assists T-9th 4.0/game
FT Percentage 4th/45th 85.5
Steals 2nd/38th 2.5/game
3-pt FGs Made T-8th 2.3/game
Assist-Turnover Ratio 8th 1.6
Minutes Played 1st 34.4/game
STARTING LINEUP = REVOLVING DOOR
Injuries and matchup issues have contributed to Andy Kennedy’s Ole Miss starting lineups showing many different looks from game-to-game this season. All 11 available scholarship players have earned at least one starting nod, and Kennedy has employed eight unique lineup combinations through 16 games. Junior guard David Huertas is the only Rebel to have started every contest.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
Will Bogan: Has made first five career starts, averaging 26.2 minutes per start ... Served as Chris Warren’s back-up at point guard through first 11 games ... Tied season high with 8 points at Florida ... Scored 8 points against Marshall.
Kevin Cantinol: Redshirt-freshman forward set career highs with 8 points (4-4 FGs), 4 rebounds and 23 minutes played in the 78-65 win at New Orleans ... Earned his first career start at New Mexico.
DeAundre Cranston: JUCO transfer had 9 rebounds against No. 9 Louisville ... Set a season high with 12 rebounds along with 8 points vs. UCF ... Started his first game as a Rebel vs. Marshall ... Had 9 points and 5 rebounds vs. South Alabama ... Despite a wide, 6-9 frame, has the ability to connect from long range.
Zach Graham: Has hit 28-of-30 free throws through the first 16 games ... Had 12 points and 5 rebounds vs. Arkansas ... Notched 14 points with 5 boards at Florida ... 8 points with season-high 7 rebounds vs. No. 9 Louisville ... Scored 12 points at New Mexico ... Contributed 9 points and 5 boards vs. UCF ... Just hours after learning that junior guard Eniel Polynice would miss the remainder of the season, Graham stepped into Polynice’s spot in the starting lineup vs. South Alabama and responded with a career-high 16 points, including 3-for-4 from the field, 2-of-3 from downtown and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw stripe.
Terrance Henry: 6-foot-9 forward is hitting free throws at a 79.3 percent clip (23-of-29) ... Tied season high with 9 points at New Mexico, also blocked 3 shots ... Had 9 points vs. Morgan State ... Season-high 8 rebounds vs. UCF ... Earned a spot in the starting lineup for the first three games of his collegiate career ... Tallied 8 points and 7 rebounds vs. Utah ... Had 8 points and 6 boards against South Alabama.
Murphy Holloway: Leads team with a 5.8 rebounding average ... Leads team and ranks seventh in SEC with 2.9 offensive boards per game ... Third-straight double-figure scoring game with 11 points vs. Arkansas ... Scored 11 points (5-7 FGs) with 7 boards at Florida ... Posted team’s first double-double of season with 15 points and 16 rebounds vs. Florida A&M ... 10 points, 5 boards vs. Nicholls ... Set career high with 15 points vs. Alabama State, including 5-5 FTs ... Earned first career start and scored 11 points with 5 rebounds vs. West Virginia ... Scored 11 points with 6 boards vs. Utah ... Picked up 4 steals vs. Marshall.
Malcolm White: Tops the team and ranks 10th in the SEC in blocked shots (1.4/game) ... Posted 8 points and 9 rebounds vs. Arkansas ... 9 points on 4-5 FGs vs. Nicholls ... Career-high 4 blocks vs. Southern Miss ... Had breakout night vs. Florida A&M, scoring career-high 18 points (8-11 FGs) with 9 rebounds and 3 blocks ... 12 points, 9 boards vs. Alabama State ... Has started 13 games as a sophomore after playing in 26 contests with no starts his rookie season.
Terrico White: Tied career high with 18 points in win over Arkansas (3-of-6 3-pt FGs), seeing his most minutes yet at the point guard position ... Tallied 18 points with 4 assists and 2 steals against Florida A&M ... Scored 13 points on 5-of-7 field goals and 3-of-4 three’s in start vs. West Virginia ... Earned his first starting nod in the 82-78 win over Marshall ... Season-high 5 assists vs. South Alabama ... First Memphis signee for Kennedy’s program.
OLE MISS ALL-CENTURY TEAM VOTING
As part of the celebration of the First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball, the athletics department will be naming an All-Century Team and are asking fans to help determine the honorees by voting online at OleMissSports.com. Click the All-Century Team link at the top right of the page.
The list of nominees includes any Rebel that earned All-SEC honors or scored 1,000 or more points in his career. Voting ends Jan. 31 at midnight. Fans must limit their selections to 10 and are asked to submit online only one ballot per person. The top 10 fan vote-getters will be guaranteed a spot on the All-Century team. The athletics department will determine any remaining members of the squad after consultation with the M-Club Alumni Chapter.
The celebration will culminate with the unveiling of the All-Century Team at the Feb. 21 game against Georgia at Tad Smith Coliseum.