GAME 20: Ole Miss (10-9, 1-4) vs. #24 Kentucky (16-4, 5-0)
Tuesday 01.27.09 | 6 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
Live TV: ESPN (Brad Nessler, play-by-play; Jimmy Dykes, analyst; Jeannine Edwards, sideline reporter)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Listen Online through RebelVision
XM Radio: Channel 199
OLE MISS WELCOMES UK FOR “SUPER TUESDAY”
Ole Miss returns to Tad Smith Coliseum after back-to-back road games and will host No. 24 Kentucky on Tuesday in a nationally televised contest on ESPN. The Rebels are looking to bounce back into the win column after enduring just the second three-game skid in head coach Andy Kennedy’s tenure. Despite a pair of tough road losses, junior guard David Huertas has scored 26 and 27 points in the last two games to increase his season scoring average to 19.5, third-best in the SEC. Kentucky, meanwhile, has won five straight and remains the lone unbeaten SEC team in league play at 5-0. Jodie Meeks paces the Wildcats with an SEC-best 26.1 ppg, which ranks third in the nation. Ole Miss has dropped nine straight contests to Kentucky, including last year’s 58-54 defeat at Rupp Arena when a fierce second-half Rebel rally came up just short.
FANS ASKED TO WEAR RED FOR "RED ALERT"!
All fans in attendance at Tuesday's game are asked to wear red for "Red Alert" against the Wildcats. The Ole Miss team will be wearing their red jerseys at home for the first time in several years, all in an effort to make that Kentucky Blue see Rebel Red!
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.
On Saturday, freshman guard Terrico White irritated his knee and is day-to-day with a bone bruise. Sophomore guard Zach Graham is battling through a partially torn patella tendon in his knee.
Gaskins, Polynice and Warren have had successful surgeries and are in the midst of their rehab programs. They are all 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 had already played (11).
The Rebel backcourt was touted by at least one preseason publication (Blue Ribbon Yearbook) as the best in the SEC coming into the campaign. Warren and Gaskins were both members of the SEC All-Freshman team last year, while Polynice has been regarded as the team’s best perimeter defender.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Kentucky enters Tuesday’s contest with a 16-4 overall record and first-place standing in the SEC Eastern Division with an unblemished 5-0 league record. The 24th-ranked Wildcats (Associated Press) are the only SEC team without a conference loss this season. Billy Gillespie’s team is 16-2 after dropping its first two games of the year and will arrive in Oxford having won five straight and 11 of its last 12, with the only loss during that span a 74-71 defeat at nationally ranked Louisville. UK relies on an efficient offense that ranks first in the nation with a 50.2 field-goal percentage and 11th in the country with a 15.0 scoring margin. Junior guard Jodie Meeks paces the Wildcats with a league-best 26.1 ppg, which also ranks as the third-highest scoring average in the nation. Sophomore forward Patrick Patterson averages 17.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game to make up the other half of one of the country’s best inside-out duos.
OLE MISS-KENTUCKY SERIES
Tuesday’s game will be the 107th meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats hold a 95-11 lead in the series, which began in 1925. Beginning with the 2001 SEC Tournament finals win in Nashville, Kentucky has taken nine straight in the series. In last season’s meeting, the Rebels fought back from a 17-point halftime deficit to pull within two late, but could not complete the comeback in a 58-54 defeat at Rupp Arena. Chris Warren led Ole Miss with 25 points in that contest, including 23 in the second half. Kentucky holds a 27-8 series advantage in games played in Oxford. Ole Miss last defeated Kentucky 65-55 in Oxford in 2000-01.
TWO OF LEAGUE’S TOP SCORERS SQUARE OFF
Tuesday’s Tad Smith Coliseum crowd and ESPN national television audience will be treated with a matchup of two of the SEC’s top scorers in UK guard Jodie Meeks and UM guard David Huertas. Meeks enters the week ranked first in the SEC and third in the nation with a 26.1 scoring average. The Norcross, Ga., native has topped 20 points in each of the last seven games, including a 31-point outburst against Auburn and the UK single-game scoring record of 54 at Tennessee. Huertas ranks third in the SEC and 35th nationally with 19.5 ppg. The Puerto Rico native has topped 25 points in each of the last two games (26 at Alabama, 27 at South Carolina).
REBELS LOOK TO GET BACK ON TRACK
Ole Miss is in the midst of just its second three-game losing streak in Andy Kennedy’s three-year tenure (12/30/06-1/13/07). The Rebels have not lost four straight since the 2005-06 season.
FREE-THROW SHOOTING EXPLOITS
Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams (and 14th in the nation according to the most recent NCAA stats) with a 75.4 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 fourth in the SEC at 80.2 percent (97-of-121), while Zach Graham boasts a 91.7 percent mark from the line (33-of-36) and Terrance Henry is hitting at a 78.8 percent clip (26-of-33).
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 more than doubled the games in which it shot 80 percent or better from the charity stripe this year (7) 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 five SEC games Ole Miss ranks third in the conference in rebounding margin (+3.6) 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. 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. He is tied with David Huertas for the team lead with 5.8 rpg in league play. Holloway grabbed a team-high 9 boards at South Carolina on Saturday. Sophomore forward Malcolm White is second on the squad with 4.9 boards per game. White had 9 rebounds against Arkansas and Huertas has had games of 9 (at Florida) and 8 (at Alabama).
Ole Miss has played just one team this year that was nationally ranked at the time of the meeting (No. 9 Louisville), but across the board the Rebels have faced off against one of the toughest slates of opponents in the nation. Ole Miss’ strength of schedule is rated as high as No. 17 in the nation on CBSSports.com’s RPI list. With a 10-9 record, Ole Miss ranks No. 67 on the RPI list, fifth among SEC schools. Four teams the Rebels have already seen are ranked in the top 35 - Louisville (12), West Virginia (18), Utah (26) and Florida (33).
WHAT OLE MISS IS PLAYING WITH...
2 juniors, 2 sophomores and 5 freshmen among
3 scholarship players who saw playing time a year ago
(David Huertas, Zach Graham, Malcolm White)
SEC’s third-leading scorer (David Huertas - 19.1 ppg)
2 SEC Freshman of the Week selections (Murphy
Holloway, Terrico White)
Last year’s So. Carolina and Tennessee Mr. Basketball
honorees (Murphy Holloway, Terrico White)
WHAT OLE MISS IS PLAYING WITHOUT...
77.0 percent of scoring from last year
79.7 percent of rebounding from last year
3 key backcourt members with knee injuries
(Chris Warren, Eniel Polynice, Trevor Gaskins)
Any scholarship seniors
4 of last year’s 5 primary starters
REBELS ON ESPN
Ole Miss owns a 4-3 record in its last seven games televised by ESPN’s primary network channel, including last year’s 81-72 victory over Arkansas. Ole Miss dropped a hard-fought game 77-68 to No. 9 Louisville earlier this season at the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational. The Rebels have played in 11 contests shown on one of ESPN’s family of networks since the 2005-06 season, with a 5-6 record in those games, including a 4-1 mark last season.
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 40-5 in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum over the last three seasons. The Jan. 17 loss to LSU snapped a four-game home winning streak over SEC opponents, while the 80-78 loss to West Virginia snapped a 25-game home win streak over non-league foes.
RUNNING THE POINT
The loss of preseason All-SEC point guard Chris Warren in mid-December has meant a shift in backcourt duties for the Rebels in the seven games since Warren’s injury. Freshman Will Bogan, who had served as Warren’s backup for the season’s first 11 games, received the starting nod as the team’s floor leader in the first six games after the injury. Fellow freshman Terrico White has played the 1 and 2-guard spots and worked his way into the starting point guard role, which he has assumed for the past two outings. White played 38 minutes against the Tide and then 21 minutes at South Carolina while battling through a knee injury he suffered in the first half. Bogan, who had been averaging 25.5 minutes in six starts, logged 11 minutes in Tuscaloosa and 23 in Columbia. Senior walk-on Patrick Spach also has played a limited role as the primary ballhandler.
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. Every available scholarship player has earned at least one starting nod, and Kennedy has employed 10 unique lineup combinations through 19 games. Junior guard David Huertas is the only Rebel to have started every contest.
HUERTAS TAKES GAME TO A NEW LEVEL
David Huertas has been a scoring machine for the Rebels this season, averaging 19.5 points, good for third among SEC players and 35th in the nation. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in 11 contests, including a season high-tying 27 at South Carolina and 26 at Alabama in the last two games. His 17.8 ppg in SEC play ranks seventh among league players. He ranks third in the SEC overall in 3’s per game (2.7) and second in 3-point percentage (38.5). 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. Against South Alabama, he poured in 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. He ranks among the SEC leaders in several categories this year, as listed below:
Huertas’ SEC Ranks (AS OF 1/25)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 3rd/35th 19.5/game
Rebounding T-27th 4.8/game
FG Percentage 12th 44.9
FT Percentage 4th 80.2
3-pt FG Percentage 2nd 38.5
3-pt FGs Made 3rd 2.7/game
Minutes Played 3rd 32.6/game
FRESHMEN MAKING THEIR MARK
Rebel freshman guard Terrico White and forward Murphy Holloway have continued to progress in their debut season and have proven themselves as two of the top rookies in the SEC this season. Entering the week, White ranks eighth among league freshmen in scoring at 9.3 ppg, while Holloway is 12th at 8.5 ppg.
Holloway, the team’s top rebounder, ranks fourth among league freshmen and 19th among all players with 5.8 rpg. He also tops all SEC freshmen with a 58.4 FG percentage and ranks third with 1.3 steals per contest.
White is making the sixth-most 3-pointers among freshmen with 1.2 per game and handing out the seventh-most assists with 1.9 per game.
TERRICO TURNS IT UP A NOTCH
Freshman guard Terrico White has turned up his scoring output since league play began. His 13.4 scoring average in league games ranks second on the team and 12th in the SEC. The superb athlete who can makes plays above the rim has also drained three field goals from downtown in three of the last four contests. He posted back-to-back career highs with 18 points against Arkansas and 22 at LSU. At Alabama, White filled up the box score with 14 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals, turning the ball over just twice in 38 minutes of action.
TERRICO WHITE NAMED FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Memphis native Terrico White earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors last Monday following his career-best performances against Arkansas and LSU. The 6-foot-5 playmaker saw time at the 1 and 2 guard spots and poured in 18 and 22 points in the contests. He is the second Rebel to earn a weekly honor, as Murphy Holloway was named freshman of the week on Dec. 29.
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 52 from long range and is now tied with Sanders for eighth place in the Rebel records.
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 David Huertas (54 games, 2008-present)
127 Clarence Sanders (60 games, 2006-07)
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.
HUERTAS CONSISTENT FROM DOWNTOWN
Junior guard David Huertas entered rare territory with his streak of 24 consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal, which came to an end when he did not connect from downtown against LSU. The Puerto Rico native owns the second-longest streak in Ole Miss history behind Aaron Harper’s 41-gamer. This year, he has knocked down at least one trey in 18-of-19 games and at least two in 17-of-19. Listed below are the top three 3-point streaks in school history:
CONSECUTIVE GAMES WITH A 3-POINTER
1. 41 Aaron Harper (2000-01 to 2002-03)
2. 24 David Huertas (2007-08 to 2008-09)
3. 23 Joe Harvell (1990-91 to 1992-93)
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
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
Will Bogan: Made first six career starts at PG following Chris Warren’s injury, averaging 25.5 minutes per start ... Served as Warren’s back-up through first 11 games ... Has dished out 3 assists on six occasions ... 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 scored 8 points with 5 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals at Alabama ... 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 (4-for-12 3-pt FGs on the season).
Zach Graham: Has hit 33-of-36 free throws (91.7 pct.) through 19 games ... Playing with a partially torn patella tendon in his right knee ... Scored 11 points, all in 1st half, at South Carolina, adding 7 rebounds ... Had 12 points and 5 rebounds vs. Arkansas ... Notched 14 points with 5 boards at Florida ... 8 points with 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 78.8 percent clip (26-of-33) ... 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 sixth in SEC with 2.9 offensive boards per game ... Five straight double-figure scoring games from 1/3 to 1/21 ... Had 7 points and 9 rebounds at South Carolina ... 11 points at Alabama ... Tallied 10 points vs. LSU ... Had 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 seventh in the SEC in blocked shots (1.4/game) ... 5.6 rebounding average in SEC play ... Had 10 points, 6 boards and 2 blocks at South Carolina ... 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.
Terrico White: Posted 14 points, season-high 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals at Alabama ... Notched career-high scoring totals in back-to-back games with 18 in the win over Arkansas and then 22 vs. LSU ... 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 ... 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.