Men's Hoops Travels to Texas for Big 12/SEC Challenge
Jan. 25, 2018

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Matchup: Ole Miss (11-9, 4-4 SEC) at Texas (13-7, 4-4 Big 12)
Date: Saturday, January 27, 2018
Time: 1 p.m. CT
Location: Austin, Texas
Arena: Frank Erwin Center (16,540)
Television: ESPN2
    Dave Pasch, play-by-play
    Robbie Hummel, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Carter, analyst
Series: Texas leads 8-6
Last Meeting: Dec. 6, 1975
    Texas won 67-65
    Austin, Texas

- Ole Miss and Texas will meet for the first time in over 37 years (11,423 days to be exact).
- The Rebels have won five of the past six matchups against Texas.
- The Rebels are 3-1 against teams from the Lone Star State this season.
- Ole Miss will be one of four SEC schools to play in all five Big 12/SEC Challenges; SEC teams must be in the top 10 of the conference standings at season’s end in order to play in the challenge the following year.
- The Rebels are one of two SEC teams to have a .500-or-better SEC record in each of the last six seasons.
- Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 23rd nationally in assist/turnover ratio (1.4).
- The Rebels are coming off a 78-66 win over Alabama on Tuesday.
- Senior Deandre Burnett scored a season-high 24 points in the win over the Crimson Tide.
- The Rebels are 84th in the RPI; Ole Miss has finished in the top 100 of the RPI in all 11 seasons under Andy Kennedy, one of 20 programs to do that.  
- Eight of the Rebels’ 11 remaining regular season games are against teams in the RPI top 50.
- The Rebels are 10-2 when shooting over 30 percent from beyond the arc.
- When he starts, junior Bruce Stevens averages 14.4 ppg; he is averaging 15.3 ppg over the last four contests.
- Guards are accounting for 71.1 percent of the Rebels’ scoring; they scored 63 of the team’s 78 points in Tuesday’s victory over Alabama
- Junior guard Terence Davis is averaging 19.0 ppg over the last three games.
- 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 245 victories. With 102 SEC wins, he is one of only 23 coaches all-time with 100 SEC victories.
- Senior Marcanvis Hymon ranks 10th in school history with 91 career blocks.
- Ole Miss is one of eight teams nationwide to have at least 11 different starting lineups this season.  
- Ten different players have started games this year for Ole Miss, one of six schools nationally to have done that.
- This season, the Rebels went over .500 as a program (1,292-1,291) for the first time since 1959; Ole Miss was 95 games under .500 when Kennedy took over in Oxford.

Playing their 108th season of college basketball, the Rebels are 1,292-1,291 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.

Texas enters Saturday’s Big 12/SEC Challenge with a 13-7 record, including a 4-4 mark in Big 12 play. The Longhorns have alternated wins and losses over their past nine games, including a 73-57 win over Iowa State in their latest contest Monday night. Texas has faced one SEC team this season, Alabama, the team Ole Miss beat Tuesday night. The Longhorns went into Tuscaloosa and emerged with a 66-50 victory (Dec. 22). Allowing only 66.0 ppg, Texas relies on its defense by leading the Big 12 in blocks per game (5.9) which ranks 13th nationally. Opponents are only shooting 39.9 percent versus the Longhorns, a mark that is the 25th-best field goal percentage defense in the country. Leading the block party is freshman Mohamed Bamba, who ranks second in the nation with 84 blocks this season. Bamba is a double-double machine averaging 12.4 ppg and 10.7 rebounds per game (12th nationally). Junior forward Dylan Osetkowski is the team’s leading scorer at 14.4 ppg. Shaka Smart is in his third season as Texas head coach after spending six seasons building VCU into a mid-major powerhouse.

Saturday’s game will be the 15th meeting between Ole Miss and Texas, although the schools have not faced each other since 1975. The Longhorns hold a 8-6 advantage overall, including 4-2 in Austin and 3-0 in neutral site battles, while the Rebels are 4-1 in Oxford. The series began in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama. Beginning with the 1964-65 campaign, Ole Miss and Texas played once each year for 12 straight seasons. During that annual matchup, the series was even at 6-6. When the series went into the 1970s, the Rebels won five straight before the Longhorns broke the streak which ended up being the last matchup (Dec. 6, 1975).

It’s been over 37 years (11,423 days to be exact when the two teams take the court Satuday) since the Rebels and Longhorns have met on the hardwood. On Dec. 6, 1975, Ole Miss traveled to Austin and fell in a tight matchup to Texas 67-65. Walter Actwood tallied 22 points for the Rebels, while Ronnie Davis (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Eugene Harris (11 points, 14 rebounds) each recorded double-doubles to help Ole Miss control the boards 47-39. Texas jumped out to a 38-29 halftime lead before the Rebels rallied in the second half, but it was the Longhorns that held on to the two-point win.

Ole Miss is 16-21 all-time versus current members of the Big 12, having faced every current member. The Rebels have faced Texas most often, owning a 6-8 record against the Longhorns. Andy Kennedy is 3-4 vs. the Big 12 as Ole Miss head coach. The Rebels are 0-4 in the Big 12/SEC Challenge, including a narrow 78-75 loss to No. 5 Baylor last season at The Pavilion. Ole Miss will be one of four SEC schools to play in all five Big 12/SEC Challenges, joining Florida, Kentucky and Vanderbilt. SEC teams must be in the top 10 of the conference standings at season’s end in order to play in the challenge the following year.

The Rebels have played four games against teams from Texas and have been outscoring them by an average of 78.8-66.3. Ole Miss is 3-1 versus Lone Star State opponents with wins over Rice (79-62), Sam Houston State (82-69) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (85-63). The lone setback occurred at Texas A&M (Jan. 16), where Breein Tyree’s game-winning three rattled twice around the rim before rolling out to give the Aggies a 71-69 victory.

Guard play has been the name of the game for the Ole Miss, and that’s exactly what catalyzed them to a 78-66 win over Alabama Tuesday night to improve to 4-0 at home in SEC play. Deandre Burnett led all scorers with 24 points. Terence Davis and Markel Crawford complimented him with 15 each. The Rebel backcourt combined for 63 points on the night. A rather up-and-down first half was largely defined by scoring droughts and long runs. Ole Miss jumped out to an 18-9 lead in the game’s first seven minutes before Alabama fired off an 18-0 run that saw the Rebels go scoreless for nearly eight minutes of game time. Ole Miss responded by finishing the half on a 23-4 run and snagged a 41-31 lead going into the locker room. Burnett had 16 first half points on a nifty 6 of 8 shooting. Alabama came into the game as the number one rated team in the SEC in defensive efficiency, but Ole Miss shot 50 percent from the field on the night.

So far this season, Ole Miss has six victories over RPI top 100 teams, including three over opponents ranked in the top 50. Comparing to last year’s run to the NIT Quarterfinals, Ole Miss had only three top 100 wins. With 11 regular season games remaining, the Rebels still have a plethora of opportunities in front of them to build their résumé. Eight of the 11 games left come against teams in the top 50 of the RPI, including four on the road. Texas enters Saturday’s contest ranked 42nd in the RPI, which is a Quadrant 1 opportunity for the Rebels. Ole Miss still has to play five games against RPI top 25 teams.

Last week, playing back-to-back road games for the first time this season, the Rebels fought hard against two top-35 RPI teams before falling by a combined six points. First, Breein Tyree’s three-pointer at the buzzer spun around the hoop twice and was halfway down before it rolled off the rim, giving Ole Miss a heartbreaking 71-69 loss at Texas A&M Tuesday. Trailing by seven with less than three minutes remaining, the Rebels tied the game courtesy of a Terence Davis three with only 49 seconds left. However, an offensive putback by Tyler Davis proved to be the winning bucket for the Aggies. Junior Bruce Stevens scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and fell one rebound shy of his first career double-double, reaching the 20-point plateau for the second consecutive game. Looking to rebound Saturday, Ole Miss turned a 12-point halftime deficit into a one-possession game in the final seconds. However, the Razorbacks emerged with a 97-93 decision. Davis tallied 30 points, the most scored by a Rebel this season, while Tyree added 16. Stevens and Deandre Burnett had 15 points apiece. Shooting better than 30 percent from beyond the arc (11 of 29) and making 24 of 29 free throws usually serves as a winning formula, but Arkansas’ offensive output (29 of 53 from the field, 11 of 22 from beyond the arc and 28 of 35 at the line) proved to be just enough to hold off Ole Miss.

Despite coming up short in a 97-93 high-scoring affair at Arkansas, the Rebels were able to stick with the Razorbacks by scoring their most points in a road game since March 4, 2009. Coincidentally, that contest nine years ago was a 98-91 overtime win at Arkansas. The 93 points were the most scored on the road in regulation in 27 years; Ole Miss won 93-88 at Tennessee, Feb. 27, 1991. The last time the Rebels scored at least 93 points on the road and lost was the 104-102 setback to MSU in 4OT (Jan. 25, 1990), the longest game in program history. A 130-112 loss at Vanderbilt (Dec. 22, 1970) was the last time the Rebels scored at least 93 points on the road and fell in regulation.

When the Rebels get to the line often and convert their free throws, they usually come out on top. Ole Miss is 4-2 when making at least 20 free throws in a game. The two losses occurred versus Illinois State (Dec. 16), when the Rebels sank 28 free throws, and at Arkansas (24 of 29). In the win versus Florida (Jan. 13), Ole Miss went 22 of 26 (84.6 percent) from the line to help knock off the Gators.

Ole Miss has relied on the long ball this season, making 8.5 threes per game (fourth in the SEC). The Rebels are 10-2 when they shoot over 30 percent from beyond the arc. The only times Ole Miss lost while shooting over 30 percent from three-point land was against Utah (Nov. 20) and Arkansas (Jan. 20); the Rebels went 8 of 24 (33.3 percent) from long distance versus the Utes before knocking down 11 of 19 (37.9 percent) against the Razorbacks.

Sophomore Breein Tyree enjoys playing SEC opponents. As a freshman last year, he averaged 7.3 ppg throughout the season but increased his scoring output to 9.3 ppg in conference play. This year has been no different. Tyree scored 8.6 ppg in non-conference play before bumping the scoring average to 12.9 ppg in the first eight SEC games. On the road versus Georgia (Jan. 3), Tyree came off the bench and scored a team-high 17 points with the help of making 3 of 4 from long distance. Versus Mississippi State (Jan. 6), Tyree led the Rebels’ comeback by scoring all 16 of his points in the second half. Trailing by as many as 11 in the second half, Ole Miss ended the game on a 20-5 run. Tyree scored seven of the team’s final 11 points, including two buckets in the final minute to help the Rebels maintain the lead. At No. 22 Auburn (Jan. 9), Tyree tied his career high with a game-best 24 points. He knocked down a career-high four three-pointers and went 6 of 6 at the free throw line.     

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. Five of the top six scorers on the team are guards led by Deandre Burnett (14.8 ppg), Terence Davis (14.1 ppg), Breein Tyree (10.3 ppg) and Markel Crawford (10.1 ppg). Freshman Devontae Shuler adds 7.5 ppg (sixth on team).

Ole Miss has taken care of the basketball this season. The Rebels have coughed up the rock only 228 times, ranking 34th nationally in fewest turnovers surrendered. Averaging only 11.4 turnovers per game, Ole Miss is 31st in the nation. Also, the Rebels’ 1.4 assist/turnover ratio leads the SEC and ranks 23rd in the country. Senior guard Deandre Burnett holds the fourth-best individual assist/turnover ratio in the SEC at 2.8, which ranks 28th nationwide.

With more depth than last year’s squad, head coach Andy Kennedy has experimented with starting lineups to try to find the best starting five. Through 20 games, the Rebels have sent out 11 different starting lineups. Ole Miss is one of eight teams nationally that has had at least 11 different starting lineups this season. Ten Rebels have started at least one game this season, and only six teams nationwide have had at least 10 different players start at any point of the year.  

A first team preseason all-conference selection, senior Deandre Burnett is embracing his role as a leader. Burnett is averaging a team-high 14.8 ppg, while also leading the Rebels with 4.7 assists per game (fourth in the SEC). Not only does he pace Ole Miss in assists, but Burnett takes care of the ball by ranking fourth in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (2.8). In the Rebels’ conference wins, he is averaging 20.8 ppg. The Miami Gardens, Florida, native tallied team highs in points (18) and assists (6) in a victorious SEC opener versus South Carolina (Dec. 31). Against Mississippi State (Jan. 6), Burnett scored 13 in the first half to keep Ole Miss in the game before he finished with 21 to help his squad rally to victory. After missing the previous game at Auburn with the flu, Burnett returned to the court and recorded 20 points versus Florida (Jan. 13). On Tuesday, he tallied a season-high 24 points to lead the Rebels to a win over Alabama. As an 86.3 percent shooter at the line for his career, Burnett 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). A transfer from Miami, where he scored 195 points, Burnett went over 1,000 points for his career Tuesday night versus Alabama. He scored the first five points of the game, all in the first minute, to reach the historic mark and now has increased his total to 1,020 (825 at Ole Miss).

Senior guard Deandre Burnett ranks fourth in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (2.8) and assists per game (4.7). He also is fifth in free throws made (92). He sits top 100 nationally in all of those categories, including 28th in assist/turnover ratio.  

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 11 games, Stevens has scored a total of 75 points (6.8 ppg). In eight starts, he is averaging 14.4 ppg. Over the last four games, he has increased that average to 15.3 ppg. Last week at Texas A&M, Stevens made a career-high nine field goals on his way to a 20-point output to go along with nine rebounds, another mark that tied his personal best. In the win over Florida (Jan. 13), the Louin, Mississippi, native tallied a team-high 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting. 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. Over the last 11 games, Stevens has made 39 of 50 free throws (78.0 percent) to increase his season percentage to .722.

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 29 of the last 35 games dating back to last season. Averaging 14.1 ppg, Davis has already reached the 20-point plateau five times, including last weekend’s game at Arkansas (Jan. 20) in which he poured in 30 on 10 of 15 shooting. Against the Razorbacks, Davis scored at least 30 points for the third time in his career, and it was the most points scored by a Rebel this season. 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 tallied 25 versus Bradley (Dec. 22). He has also showcased his skills on the defensive end, tied for the team lead in blocks (20) and ranking third in steals (18). As a sophomore last year, Davis ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.482) 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.  

As a graduate transfer, Markel Crawford is making his mark in his only season with the Rebels. The Memphis product has started a team-high 15 games and leads the Rebels in minutes per game (30.2), which ranks 17th in the SEC. He also is second on the team in steals (23) and averages 10.1 ppg. Crawford tallied 17 points in two of the Rebels’ three SEC wins, victories over South Carolina (Dec. 31) and Florida (Jan. 13). He added 15 points to help Ole Miss take down Alabama on Tuesday. Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Crawford scored 19 points, his most as a Rebel, on 7 of 11 shooting.  

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 has made an immediate impact by averaging 7.5 ppg in 20.3 minutes per game and swiping a team-high 27 steals (10th in the SEC). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), 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).

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 part of the front court that has replaced 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 20 games, Hymon leads the Rebels in blocks (20) and ranks second in rebounds (5.7 per game). Through 94 career games, Hymon is moving up the school’s career blocks chart. He ranks 10th with 91 career rejections following a team-high 40 last season. He has led the Rebels in rebounding nine times this season, 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.

Averaging 4.7 blocks per game, Ole Miss ranks 36th in the country. Five Rebels have reached double digits in blocks, led by 20 from senior Marcanvis Hymon, who ranks 10th all-time in program history with 91 career rejections, and junior guard Terence Davis. Senior forward Justas Furmanavicius has 17. With 12 blocks in the last 10 games, seven-footer Dominik Olejniczak reached double figures with 14 rejections. In his first season as a Rebel, Bruce Stevens has 13 blocks.

Ole Miss is 7-3 in games decided by double digits. When the margin is less than 10, the Rebels are 4-6. 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).  

Ole Miss has been active with their hands on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 6.5 steals per game to rank eighth in the SEC. Through 20 games, six Rebels have recorded double figures in steals. Devontae Shuler leads the way with 27 steals, ranking 10th in the SEC. Markel Crawford follows with 23 steals, while Terence Davis and Breein Tyree have 18 and 16 steals, respectively. Justas Furmanavicius and Dominik Olejniczak have 10 steals apiece. Against Utah in Last Vegas (Nov. 20), the Rebels tallied 14 steals throughout the night, a season high for the Red and Blue.

The Ole Miss bench has played a prominent role in scoring, averaging 26.9 points per game. In five different 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).

With the 12th season led by Mississippi native Andy Kennedy underway, Ole Miss has a 245-149 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.

With a win versus Mississippi State (Jan. 6), head coach Andy Kennedy earned his 100th win in SEC regular season games to become the 23rd coach in conference history to accomplish the feat. Kennedy, the winningest coach in Ole Miss history, is also ranked 23rd all-time in winning percentage for SEC regular season games at .526 (102-92). He joined Kentucky head coach John Calipari as the only active SEC coaches with 100 SEC victories.

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.

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is climbing the SEC coaching wins chart, ranking 18th with 245 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) - 263
17. Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) - 249
18. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) - 245
19. Norm Sloan (Florida) - 232
20. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) - 219
21. Joel Eaves (Auburn) - 214

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) – 245
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

Following the Big 12/SEC Challenge at Texas, Ole Miss returns to The Pavilion to face nationally-ranked Auburn (Jan. 30). The Rebels will look to avenge a loss to the Tigers earlier this season in Auburn (Jan. 9). The midweek game will serve as the only home matchup of the week as Ole Miss travels to Tennessee, Feb. 3, for part one of the season series with the Volunteers.






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