GAME NOTES: Rebels Return Home For Gamecocks
GAME 18: #22/24 Ole Miss (13-4, 1-2 SEC) vs. South Carolina (11-6, 2-1 SEC)
REBELS RETURN HOME FOR GAMECOCKS
Ole Miss returns home for Wednesday's matchup with South Carolina after going 1-1 on its SEC East road trip this past week. The Rebels earned an 80-76 win at Georgia on Wednesday behind a very balanced scoring effort. Chris Warren led four Rebels with 12 points, and all nine Ole Miss players to see the floor had at least six points. The Rebels fought tooth and nail with No. 9 Tennessee in Knoxville on Saturday, but a pair of late turnovers contributed to a 71-69 overtime loss. Warren had 19 points to lead the way. Terrico White added 17 and Zach Graham had 16. Four of Ole Miss' first six league contests occur on the road. After the Gamecocks come to Oxford, the Rebels travel to LSU and Auburn this coming Saturday and Thursday, respectively.
- Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the seventh straight week, coming in at No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
- Wednesday is the 26th meeting all-time between Ole Miss and South Carolina, with the Gamecocks holding a 13-12 lead in the series.
- Ole Miss is one of four schools in the country whose football, men's basketball and baseball teams are currently ranked in their respective top 25 polls.
- Each of the Rebels' first three SEC games have been decided by five or fewer points.
- At 82.5 ppg, Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 12th in the nation in scoring offense.
- The Rebels rank second in the SEC and 13th in the nation with with 8.9 3-pointers per contest. They have drained eight or more treys in 10 of the last 11 outings.
- Ole Miss has won the turnover battle in 12 of its 17 games and is 10-2 when committing an equal number or less turnovers than its opponent.
- Junior guard Chris Warren ranks sixth in the SEC in scoring at 16.6 ppg, and sophomore guard Terrico White is eighth with 16.2 points per game.
SCOUTING THE GAMECOCKS
South Carolina enters the week with an 11-6 overall record and 2-1 mark in SEC play. The Gamecocks began league action with a win at Auburn (80-71) and a home win over LSU (67-58) before dropping its most recent outing against Vanderbilt (79-89). In his second year at the helm, Darrin Horn has his team out-scoring opponents by an average of 7.3 points (77.0-69.7). South Carolina leads the SEC in steals (9.8/game) and ranks second in blocks (7.4/game) and turnover margin (+5.3). Devan Downey has been on fire in SEC play with games of 33, 29 and 35 points thus far. He averages an SEC-best 20.9 ppg on the season and also leads the league with 3.2 steals/game.
OLE MISS-SOUTH CAROLINA SERIES
Wednesday's game will be the 26th time the two schools have faced each other on the hardwood. South Carolina leads the series 13-12 and has won each of the last three meetings. SC won last year's meeting in Columbia 82-71 despite a game-high 27 points from David Huertas (see recap on page 5). The Rebels enjoy an 8-1 advantage in games played in Oxford, with the lone loss coming in the last meeting at the Tad Pad, 80-77, in 2008. Andy Kennedy is looking for his first win over the Gamecocks, as his Cincinnati and Ole Miss teams are a combined 0-4.
The story of the Ole Miss-Carolina series has been a matter of location, location, location. The home team has prevailed in 16-of-18 meetings between the Rebels and Gamecocks on non-neutral courts. The lone road wins in the series were Ole Miss' 67-61 win in Columbia in 2000-01 and South Carolina's 80-77 victory in 2007-08 in Oxford.
Andy Kennedy's final game as Cincinnati head coach occurred against South Carolina. The Bearcats lost 65-62 in the 2006 NIT quarterfinals. Mere moments after the game, Kennedy accepted the head coaching position at Ole Miss. A pupil of Kennedy on that UC squad was point guard Devan Downey, an All-SEC senior now for the Gamecocks.
HOLLOWAY FACES HOMETOWN TEAM
Sophomore forward Murphy Holloway, a former South Carolina Mr. Basketball selection, will face off against his hometown college team for the second time in his career on Wednesday. The Irmo native was also selected after his senior season of high school as the state's Gatorade Player of the Year and 4A Player of the Year. He played with current Gamecock Devan Downey in AAU ball.
IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the seventh straight week, coming in at No. 22 in the AP poll and No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. It's the longest stretch of being ranked since the Rebels made it 14 straight weeks in the polls during the 2000-01 season.
REBELS RULE RANKINGS
For the first time in school history, the Ole Miss football, men's basketball and baseball teams are all ranked in their respective national polls at the same time. The football team finished at No. 20 in the final AP poll and No. 21 in the coaches poll, while the Diamond Rebs are No. 22 in Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll. Ole Miss is one of only four schools currently ranked in the top 25 in all three sports (Clemson, Georgia Tech, Texas).
DOWN TO THE WIRE
Each of Ole Miss' three SEC contests have been decided by five points or less, including the most recent 2-point overtime loss at Tennessee (71-69). Both the Mississippi State and Georgia games also featured a 2-point game at some point within the final 2 minutes.
POLYNICE'S PLAY MAKES SPORTSCENTER TOP 10
Holding on to a 2-point advantage with 12 seconds left on the road, Eniel Polynice made one of the Rebels' biggest plays of the season when he bounced his in-bounds pass off the back of Georgia's Travis Leslie, caught it and layed it up in traffic to send Ole Miss to an 80-76 win in the Rebels' SEC road opener. Polynice's play made No. 9 on Sportscenter's Top 10 Plays that night.
WARREN JOINS 1,000-POINT CLUB
With 14 points against UCF, junior point guard Chris Warren became the 31st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Warren enters the South Carolina game with 1,052 career points, 28th-most in school history. He reached 1,000 points in his 60th career game, which was tied for the fifth-fastest pace in school history with all-time leading scorer John Stroud. Gerald Glass is the fastest Rebel to reach the milestone, doing so in 37 games.
WARREN NAMED FINALIST FOR COUSY AWARD
Junior Chris Warren is one of 20 finalists for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award (nation's top point guard), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Jan. 5. The list will be narrowed down to a final 10 by Feb. 1 and final five by March 1.
Ole Miss ranks first in the SEC and 12th in the country with an average of 82.5 points per game. Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to such a prolific offense. The team has put up 80+ points 11 times, 90+ in five contests and a season-high 108 against Centenary. Ole Miss has posted a 40+ point half in all but one game this season. Four players average 10 or more ppg, led by Chris Warren's 16.6 and Terrico White's 16.2.
IT'S RAINING THREE'S
With an abundance of shooters in its backcourt-heavy lineup, Ole Miss is getting plenty of production from behind the arc this season. The Rebels rank second among SEC teams and entered last weekend 13th in the nation with 8.9 three's made per game. They have drained 8 or more three's in 10 of their last 11 outings. They tied the school record with 14 treys against Jacksonville State and have drained 12 against Southern Miss and UTEP.
Individually, Chris Warren leads the way with 53 3-pointers, ranking second in the SEC with 3.1/game. Terrico White has drained 34 shots from downtown and ranks ninth in the SEC with 2.0/game. Zach Graham has added 30 triples, including a career-high four in back-to-back outings at Arkansas State and vs. Southern Miss.
REBELS VALUE THE BALL
Ole Miss has shown itself to be one of the better SEC teams at limiting its turnovers this season. The Rebels average 12.6 turnovers per game, second-fewest in the SEC. They rank second in the SEC with a 1.2 assist-turnover ratio and third with a +3.4 turnover margin. They have had fewer turnovers than their opponent in 12 of 17 games. Ole Miss had just five turnovers in the season opener vs. UALR and gave up the ball six times vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Jacksonville State.
SULTANS OF SWAT
There's a new strength on this year's team that the Rebels have not featured much in years past - the blocked shot. The presence of freshman Reginald Buckner, who ranks third in the SEC and entered last weekend 43rd in the nation with 2.2 blocks per game, has helped the Rebels average 6.1 swats per contest, fourth-best among SEC teams and 18th in the country entering last weekend. The team's 12 blocks against Indiana were one shy of a school record.
The Rebels have been sharing the ball at a high rate this season and rank third among SEC teams with 15.4 assists per game. Eniel Polynice tops the squad with 4.4 dimes per game, and Chris Warren adds 3.5 per contest. Ole Miss finished one shy of a school record with 32 assists in its 108-64 rout of Centenary.
CLIMBING THE TREY CHART
Junior guard Chris Warren has climbed the Ole Miss career 3-point chart at a record pace and has moved into fourth place all-time with 181 treys in 63 career outings (2.9 per game).
CONSISTENCY FROM DOWNTOWN
Junior guard Chris Warren and sophomore guard Terrico White have entered rare territory with their streaks of consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal. Against Tennessee, Warren extended his streak to 27 straight games, the second-longest such streak in school history. White had his streak of 23 straight games end when he missed all seven attempts from downtown at West Virginia.
WARREN BACK TO HIS OLD WAYS
He set the Ole Miss record for 3-pointers in a season as a freshman and then averaged 19.6 ppg as a sophomore before being injured. Now, Chris Warren is providing his magic again. The junior point guard currently ranks sixth in the SEC with 16.6 ppg and second with 3.1 3-pointers per game (30th in NCAA). He dropped in 19 points (including 5 3-pointers) at Tennessee. He led the Rebels with 12 points at Georgia and 15 points against MSU. He reached 1,000 career points when he scored 14 (with 4 3-pointers) against UCF. He posted his third straight 20-point game with a career-high 32 (5-of-10 3's, 13-of-15 FT's) - with 11 points in overtime - in the win over UTEP. He poured in 20 points, including a clutch pair of three's in the final minute, in the comeback win over Southern Miss, while adding six assists. He was named to the Puerto Rico Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after he led all scorers in San Juan with a 22.3 average. He had 16 in the win over Indiana before putting together back-to-back 20-point games against Kansas State (27) and No. 5 Villanova (24).
WHITE MAKES SCORING LOOK EASY
With his laid-back, smooth approach on offense, sometimes Terrico White's eye-popping scoring totals can take a person by surprise. The sophomore guard is averaging 16.2 ppg, which is eighth-best among SEC players. He had 17 points - including a big 4-point play in OT - at Tennessee. He poured in 21 points with 5 3-pointers against UCF. He tied a career high with 29 points vs. Jacksonville State, draining a career-high 7 3's and grabbing 7 boards. He led all scorers with 17 points in a rout of Centenary. He tallied 19 points, including 8-of-10 from the foul line, in the OT win over UTEP. He had 15 points with a pair of treys against Southern Miss. He poured in 25 points in a win over Kansas State and dropped in 19 points three times (vs. Alabama State, vs. Texas A&M-CC and at Arkansas State). He posted 14 points and a career-high 9 rebounds vs. No. 5 Villanova.
Junior guard Zach Graham has turned into one of the Rebels' most consistent and dependable weapons on the offensive and defensive end. The Suwanee, Ga., native has tallied 11 or more points in 10 of the last 11 games. For the season, he is shooting 46.1 percent from the field (59-128) and 46.2 percent from downtown (30-65), while also playing lock-down defense on the perimeter. He scored 16 points (6-7 FTs) at Tennessee. He had 11 points (3-5 FGs, 4-4 FTs) at Georgia. He posted 14 points, 7 rebounds and a career-high 4 steals vs. MSU. He had 14 points and 4 assists against Jacksonville State. He scored a team-high 14 at West Virginia. He had 12 points vs. Centenary, while also dishing out a career-high 5 assists. Had 14 points to go with 7 boards in OT win over UTEP. He contributed 12 points and 5 rebounds vs. McNeese State. He tied a career high with 4 3-pointers en route to 15 points vs. Southern Miss. He dropped in a season-high 17 points in the win at Arkansas State, connecting on a career-high 4 3-pointers.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Third among SEC players and tops among league freshmen with 2.2 blocks per game (43rd in NCAA) ... His 37 blocks through 17 games are nine shy of Sean Murphy's school freshman record (46 in 1987-88) and 19 shy of David Dean's school record (56 in 1992-93) ... 8 points (4-5 FGs), 5 boards vs. MSU ... 9 points, 8 rebounds, 4 blocks vs. Jacksonville State ... Season-high 11 points (5-of-6 FG's) with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in the OT win over UTEP ... Made his first career start vs. A&M-Corpus Christi and scored 8 points ... Season-high 12 rebounds with 3 blocks vs. Indiana ... Posted 7 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks vs. Alabama State ... Had 4 blocks and 4 rebounds in collegiate debut vs. UALR ... Tennessee high school record holder for career blocked shots.
- DeAundre Cranston: Season-high 11 rebounds at Tennessee ... 8 points, 4 rebounds at Georgia ... 8 points, 6 rebounds vs. Centenary ... Posted 8 points and 5 rebounds vs. McNeese State ... Career-high 21 points (8-9 FGs, 3-4 3-pters) with 7 boards in season opener.
- Trevor Gaskins: Season-high 11 points (3-3 from downtown) in just 9 minutes at Georgia ... Career-high 7 rebounds vs. Jacksonville State ... Set a career high with 4 steals at West Virginia ... 7 points and 4 assists vs. Centenary ... Played in his first game since 2007-08 after missing last year with injury and scored 7 points with 3 boards and 3 assists in opener.
- Terrance Henry: Shooting a team-best 66.7 percent from the field (26-39) and 58.8 percent from three (10-17) ... 8 points, 4 boards at Georgia ... Tied season high with 12 points (4-6 FGs, 2-3 3's) to go with 6 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. MSU ... Near double-double with 9 points and 8 boards vs. UCF .... Blocked six shots against the Knights, a career high and tied for the fourth-highest game total in school history ... Had 9 points and 6 boards vs. Centenary ... Made his first 10 field-goal attempts of the season, including 3-of-3 from downtown, before missing a trey against McNeese State ... Career-high 12 points (5-of-5 FGs) vs. Texas A&M-CC ... Returned from injury to post 2 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 5 minutes of play in his first action of the season vs. Indiana ... Injured his hand slipping on stairs on campus and missed the first two games.
- Murphy Holloway: Shooting 60.5 percent from the field ... Ranks 10th in the SEC with 6.8 rebounds/game ... 6 points, 7 rebounds at Tennessee ... 6 points, 9 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals at Georgia ... Posted his third double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds vs. UCF ... 13 points (6-of-7 FGs) at West Virginia ... Turned in 12 points and 5 rebounds against Centenary ... Tallied 13 points and 5 boards against McNeese State ... Missed the Texas A&M-CC game while resting an ankle injury, but returned to tally 9 points and a season-high 13 rebounds at Arkansas State ... 10 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas State, his second double-double of the year ... Posted a career-high 26 points against Indiana at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off, finishing 12-for-18 from the floor and pulling down seven rebounds ... 17 points, 10 boards in opener vs. UALR.
- Eniel Polynice: Averages 9.9 ppg, 4.2 rebounds/game, 4.4 assists/game (6th SEC) and 1.5 steals/game ... Tied season high with 9 rebounds at Tennessee ... 10 points, 3 assists at Georgia, securing the win with a nifty in-bounds pass off Travis Leslie's back and layup with 12 seconds remaining ... Reached 100 steals for his career with 2 against MSU ... 16 points, 5 assists vs. UCF ... 9 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists vs. Jacksonville State ... 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists at West Virginia ... 13 points, 6 assists vs. Centenary ... Had 8 rebounds in OT win over UTEP ... Came up big in late rally vs. McNeese State to finish with 12 points and tie career highs with 9 assists and 4 steals ... Had 15 points, 6 assists and the game-winning dunk with 1.3 seconds left vs. Southern Miss ... Against Kansas State he put up 13 points, 5 boards and 2 steals ... Against Indiana, he posted 10 points, 7 assists, 2 blocks and a steal ... Against Alabama State, he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a block.
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