Rebels, No. 13 Gators Clash In Oxford
Andy Kennedy (AP photo)

Jan. 24, 2012

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Kennedy Press Conference Video

GAME 20: Ole Miss (13-6, 3-2 SEC) vs. #13/14 Florida (15-4, 3-1 SEC)
Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 | 6:00 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)


MEDIA
Television: ESPN2 (Rece Davis, play-by-play; Kara Lawson, analyst).
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 220, XM 199
Live Video: ESPN3.com
Live Audio: RebelVision
Gametracker

QUICK HITS

• Ole Miss is currently tied for fourth in the SEC Standings at 3-2.
• Three SEC teams are undefeated at home this season - Kentucky (13-0), Florida (10-0) and Ole Miss (8-0).
Andy Kennedy has the most wins by a Rebel coach in his first six years (118).
• The Rebels are 80-15 (.842 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy’s tenure.
• The Rebels are 1-1 against nationally ranked opponents this season.
• As a team, Ole Miss ranks 15th in the most recent NCAA rankings with 5.7 blocks/game.
• In league play, the Rebels lead all SEC teams in rebounding (43.6) and rebounding margin (+8.2).
• The Rebels are 8-1 when they win the turnover battle and 5-5 when they have more turnovers than the opponent.
• Ole Miss is 11-2 when its opponent shoots below 40 percent from the field.
• Junior F Murphy Holloway returned from a 3-game absence (sprained ankle) with a monster game against Arkansas (19 points, 14 rebounds). Ole Miss is 12-3 this year when Holloway plays the whole game.
• Junior F Reginald Buckner broke the school’s all-time career blocks record at Southern Miss. He now leads all active SEC players with 203 career blocks. He ranks 22nd nationally with 2.6 blocks/game.
Jarvis Summers ranks 8th among SEC freshmen in scoring, 3rd in assists and 2nd in free-throw attempts.

REBELS, GATORS CLASH IN OXFORD
Thursday’s game in Oxford features a pair of teams near the top of the SEC standings with third-place Florida visiting fourth-place Ole Miss. The 13th-ranked Gators will face a Rebel squad coming off two straight wins and three victories in its last four outings. Ole Miss has defended its home court with a perfect 8-0 mark this season, while Florida is 1-4 on the road.

SCOUTING THE GATORS
Florida is ranked No. 13 in this week’s Coaches poll and No. 14 in the AP. The Gators are 15-4 overall with a 3-1 league record and current third-place standing. After falling at Tennessee in the SEC opener, the Gators have reeled off three straight wins. The Gators boast a 14-0 record in home and neutral games, but are just 1-4 in true road contests. Billy Donovan’s team leads the SEC in scoring (82.2), assists (16.6), assist-turnover ratio (1.5) and 3-pointers per game (10.6). All five regular starters average double-figure points, led by a trio of guards in Kenny Boynton (18.3 ppg), Bradley Beal (14.1 ppg) and Erving Walker (12.9 ppg). Center Patric Young adds 11.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg, while Erik Murphy chips in 10.6 ppg.

OLE MISS-FLORIDA SERIES
Thursday’s game will be the 102nd meeting between the two schools. Florida holds a 59-42 lead in the series, which began in 1940. Ole Miss owns a 28-20 advantage in Oxford. Three of the past four games in the series have been decided by six points or less. The last Rebel win over the Gators was in 2008 (89-87 in Oxford). The teams squared off in the SEC Opener last year in Gainesville, with Florida claiming a 77-71 win despite strong games from Chris Warren (20 points) and Reginald Buckner (13 points, 10 rebounds). Andy Kennedy is 1-5 against Florida in his career, including a 1-1 record in Oxford.

IN THE RPI
Ole Miss has moved up to No. 34 in the nation in the latest NCAA RPI rankings (Florida is No. 36 this week). Ole Miss has played the nation’s No. 30th ranked schedule and has faced nine teams with RPIs of 100 or better (4-5 in those games).

DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy’s squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 80-15 (.842 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy’s tenure, including an 8-0 record this season. Only three SEC teams are undefeated at home this season - Kentucky (13-0), Florida (10-0) and Ole Miss (8-0). Ole Miss has won 211 of its last 258 games (.818 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 444-194 (.696 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.

REBELS VERSUS RANKED FOES
This is the third game Ole Miss has played against a ranked team this season. They have gone 1-1 so far, losing to No. 19 Marquette at the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam and beating No. 15 Mississippi State in Oxford. The Rebels are 6-16 against top-25 opponents under head coach Andy Kennedy. They went 1-2 in such games last season, including a 71-69 win over No. 10 Kentucky on Feb. 1 in Oxford.

MOST WINS IN FIRST SIX SEASONS
With the victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, Andy Kennedy surpassed Rod Barnes for the most wins (114) in the first six seasons as Ole Miss head coach. Now with 118 wins, Kennedy already ranks third in school history behind B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 seasons) and Barnes (141 wins in 8 seasons).

RIVALRY WIN SPARKS OLE MISS
Ole Miss used intensity and enthusiasm to defeat in-state rival and No. 15-ranked Mississippi State last Wednesday. Behind Reginald Buckner’s career-high 19 points and his 15 rebounds and three blocks, Ole Miss put on a show in front of a rowdy Tad Pad crowd. Nick Williams added 17 points, and the Rebels piled up 14 assists with a season-low five turnovers (had committed no less than 10 in any previous game). Ole Miss shot 50 percent from the field (27-54) and held the Bulldogs to 38 percent (23-61) on the night.

LOCKING DOWN ON “D”
Ole Miss has played some impressive defensive games this season. Six different times the Rebels have held their opponent below 60 points, including a pair of games under 40. The Rebels rank third in the SEC (and 27th in the NCAA) in field goal percentage defense at 39.1. Ole Miss is 11-2 when its opponent shoots below 40 percent from the field.

SIZE ADVANTAGE
Ole Miss is taking advantage of its significant height and length advantage against the majority of its opponents this year. No scholarship player on the roster is listed shorter than 6-4, while six Rebels who see significant minutes are listed at 6-7 or taller. Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams in rebounding average (39.9) and rebounding margin (+4.4). In SEC play, Ole Miss leads all teams with 43.6 rebounds per game and a +8.2 rebounding margin. Through five league games, Reginald Buckner and Murphy Holloway rank first and third in rebounding at 11.0 rpg and 9.8 rpg, respectively. In all games, the Rebels block 5.7 shots per game, ranking third in the league and 15th in the NCAA.

TURNOVERS MATTER
Ole Miss has an 8-1 record when it records the same or fewer turnovers than its opponent, while the Rebels are 5-5 when they lose the turnover battle.

BALANCED ATTACK
Eight different players have led Ole Miss in scoring at least once this year, topped by Terrance Henry’s total of six times. Four current Rebels average 9+ points per outing - Henry (11.5), Jarvis Summers (10.6), Murphy Holloway (10.4) and Nick Williams (9.7). Ten different players are averaging 8+ minutes per game at this juncture, while eight players average 14+ minutes per outing.

HOLLOWAY RETURNS WITH BIG NUMBERS
Junior F Murphy Holloway has posted some big numbers in his return to Ole Miss this year (following a one-year stint in South Carolina) and averages 10.4 ppg and 9.6 rpg (3rd in SEC, 28th in NCAA). He is third among SEC players with six double-doubles this year and ranks second among active league players with 20 in his career. In league play, he leads all SEC players with a 60.6 field goal percentage. He was the SEC Player of the Week after helping Ole Miss to wins over TCU and Miami.

THE HOLLOWAY FACTOR
Ole Miss really missed the presence of junior F Murphy Holloway after he sprained his ankle in the second half against Middle Tennessee (Dec. 21). The Rebels went on to drop that contest and two of the next three without him. He returned against Arkansas to score 19 points, grab 14 rebounds and effectively energize his teammates in leading the Rebels to victory. Ole Miss is 12-3 this year when Holloway plays the whole game.

BUCKNER SETS OLE MISS RECORD, MOVES UP IN SEC CAREER BLOCKS LIST
With four blocks at Southern Miss, junior F Reginald Buckner surpassed Sean Murphy as the Rebels’ all-time career leader in blocked shots. In just 81 games, the Memphis native now has accumulated 203 blocks, making him the 21st player in SEC history with 200 or more. The school record was previously held by Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner’s 2.6 blocks average this season ranks fourth among SEC players and 22nd in the most recent NCAA rankings. He now holds the school record for blocks in a career, season and game.

IN THE “NICK” OF TIME
Junior G Nick Williams has stepped up his game in SEC play, averaging a team-best 13.2 ppg in league games (16th in SEC). The Mobile, Ala., native has dropped in 12 or more points in each of the last four contests. He tallied a season-high 18 points and tied a career high with 8 rebounds to help the Rebels to a victory over Arkansas. Coming off the bench for the first time this season, his tenacity was evident in each of his successful drives to the hoop, and the Rebels’ top free-throw shooter knocked down 4 of 5 from the line, as well. At Auburn, he came up big with a game-tying 3-pointer to help erase a 12-point second half deficit and force overtime. He poured in 17 points (7-9 FTs) in the win over 15th-ranked Mississippi State. He had 12 points at Georgia.

SUMMERS NOT AFRAID OF CRUNCH TIME
Freshman PG Jarvis Summers has shown no fear in the face of critical situations this year. It was his 27 points and crunch-time heroics that gave the Rebels an early victory at Penn State and his late free throws to seal an overtime win over Miami. Against Auburn, he directed a comeback from 12 down in the final nine minutes to force overtime, hitting all four of his 3-pointers after the nine-minute mark. He scored 22 against the Tigers to become the first Rebel with multiple 20-point games this year. He ranks eighth among SEC freshmen in scoring with 10.6 ppg, third with 3.1 assists per game and second with 93 free throws attempted. Among SEC freshmen in league play, he ranks sixth in scoring and third in assists.


 

 

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