GAME 22: Ole Miss (12-9, 3-4) vs. Auburn (13-8, 2-4)
Wednesday 02.04.09 | 7 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Listen Online through RebelVision
XM Radio: Channel 200
STREAKING REBELS HOST AUBURN WEDNESDAY
Ole Miss heads into Wednesday's contest against Auburn riding a two-game winning streak, which included its first win over Kentucky since 2001 and its first victory at Mississippi State since 1998. The Rebels sit in a tie for third place in the SEC West with a 3-4 league record, while Auburn is fifth at 2-4. Ole Miss improved to 1-1 against ranked teams this season with the 85-80 triumph over the 24th-ranked, SEC East-leading Wildcats. That snapped a three-game losing skid. Ole Miss then took its show on the road and defeated SEC West leader MSU 67-63, overcoming a 37-33 halftime deficit. Terrico White scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half to help the Rebels to their second road win of the year and first in league play. The SEC Freshman of the Week, White has come on strong of late, averaging 16.5 ppg over the last six contests.
ACTIVITIES AT THE TAD PAD
Several activities surround Wednesday’s feature hoops game vs. Auburn at Tad Smith Coliseum. Before the game, the preseason No. 6-ranked Ole Miss baseball team will be signing autographs and handing out posters and other promotional items for “Meet the Rebels” in the concourse. At halftime, more than 200 members of Rebel sports teams who earned honor roll distinction will be recognized for their hard work and success in the classroom during a Scholar-Athlete ceremony.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
Auburn suffered an 82-75 home loss to Vanderbilt on Saturday to drop to 13-8 overall and 2-4 in SEC play this season. The Tigers had won their previous two outings, including an impressive 73-51 victory at Arkansas. Jeff Lebo’s squad features the league’s top scoring defense, allowing just 62.5 ppg to opponents. Auburn also tops the league in steals per game (9.9) and ranks second in turnover margin (+3.5). Three Tigers average double-figure points, led by DeWayne Reed at 13.3. Korvotney Barber posts 12.4 points and a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game, while Tay Waller adds 11.9 ppg.
OLE MISS-AUBURN SERIES
Wednesday’s game will be the 117th meeting between the two schools, with the Tigers holding an all-time series lead of 70-46. The series is tied at 9-9 in the last 18 meetings. Auburn swept the season series with a pair of upset victories a year ago, including a 90-78 decision in Oxford. The Rebels beat the Tigers in both meetings in 2006-07 (82-59 at Auburn and 83-79 on Senior Day in Oxford). The Rebels hold a 33-23 series lead in games played in Oxford, and have won six of the last nine and 11 of the last 15 meetings versus the Tigers in Tad Smith Coliseum.
Several members of the Rebel family call Alabama their “sweet home”. Assistant coach Torrey Ward and coordinator of operations Bill Armstrong are both from Birmingham and played collegiately at UAB, while operations assistant Robi Coker hails from Skirum. Strength coach Matt Turner joined the Ole Miss staff after a one-year stint as the head strength coach at Alabama State. In addition, head coach Andy Kennedy spent three years playing at UAB and later served assistant coaching stints for both the Blazers and the South Alabama Jaguars.
T. WHITE: SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK AGAIN
For the second time in three weeks, guard Terrico White was named SEC Freshman of the Week, the league office announced Monday. The Memphis, Tenn., native averaged 19.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in Rebel wins over No. 24 Kentucky at home and Mississippi State on the road. He scored 21 points with 5 boards, 7 assists and just 2 turnovers vs. UK, then had 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half to help Ole Miss win in Starkville. White also earned the honors on Jan. 19.
OLE MISS WINS IN STARKVILLE
Road wins are always precious in the Southeastern Conference, but Ole Miss made a truly substantial statement with its 67-63 come-from-behind win in Starkville on Saturday. It was the Rebels’ first win at Mississippi State since the 1997-98 season, snapping a 10-game losing skid. In fact, it was just the third Ole Miss win in Starkville since 1984. The Rebels improved to 2-4 in away games this year and 1-3 in league road 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 41-5 in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum over the last three seasons, including a 9-2 mark this year. The Jan. 17 loss to LSU snapped a four-game home winning streak over SEC opponents, while the 80-78 loss to West Virginia on Dec. 3 snapped a 25-game home win streak over non-league foes.
TURNOVER BATTLE KEY
The team that has the better result in the turnover column has usually been the one to come out with the victory in the Rebels’ games this season. Ole Miss is 10-4 this year when having the same or fewer number of turnovers as its opponent, while just 2-5 when giving the ball up more than the other team. Auburn presents a tough task in this department, as the Tigers rank second in the SEC with a +3.5 turnover margin and first with 9.9 steals per outing.
80 POINTS = OLE MISS WIN
The Rebels boast an unblemished 5-0 record this season when scoring 80 or more points. The team’s record is 7-9 when it does not reach the 80-point mark. In three seasons under Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss owns a 31-3 record (.912 win pct.) when scoring at least 80.
IMPROVING ON THE GLASS
After seven SEC games Ole Miss ranks first in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (13.7), second in total rebounds per game (39.7) and third in rebounding margin (+4.6) in league contests. Ole Miss has out-rebounded five of seven league opponents and 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 a 5.9 rebounding average in all games and a 6.0 average in league outings. Sophomore forward Malcolm White is second on the squad with 5.0 boards per game, while junior guard David Huertas averages 5.9 in SEC games.
FREE-THROW SHOOTING EXPLOITS
Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams (and 19th in the nation according to the most recent NCAA stats) with a 74.6 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 third in the SEC at 80.6 percent (108-of-134), while Zach Graham boasts an 88.6 percent mark from the line (39-of-44) 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).
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 - 19.4 ppg)
2 SEC Freshman of the Week selections (Murphy
Holloway, Terrico White twice)
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
Despite facing just two ranked teams this season, across the board the Rebels have pitted themselves against one of the toughest slates of opponents in the nation. Ole Miss’ strength of schedule is rated as high as No. 14 in the nation on CBSSports.com’s RPI list. With a 12-9 record, Ole Miss ranks No. 56 on the RPI list, fifth among SEC schools. Four teams the Rebels have already seen are ranked in the top 35 - Louisville (10), Utah (15), West Virginia (17) and Florida (35) - while two more are in the top 55 - South Carolina (46) and LSU (52).
REBELS SOAR OVER WILDCATS
In the midst of a trying season full of injuries, Ole Miss showed it still has plenty of talent and toughness, as the Rebels earned an 85-80 win over No. 24 Kentucky last Tuesday in front of a national TV audience on ESPN. Four Rebels scored in double figures, led by Terrico White and David Huertas, who poured in 21 apiece. Ole Miss held the SEC’s leading scorer and the country’s third-leading scorer Jodie Meeks to 21 points on just four field goals, including a pair of late three’s after the game had been all but decided. The Rebels out-rebounded the Wildcats 45-40 and led by as many as 13 points with 58 seconds left in the game. Ole Miss improved to 3-2 in its last five games against top-25 teams, including a 1-1 mark this season.
THREE REBELS SCORE 20 IN ONE GAME
It doesn’t happen often, but against No. 24 Kentucky, three different Ole Miss players eclipsed 20 points. Freshman point guard Terrico White, who was a game-day decision because of a bruised knee, scored 21 points and had a highlight-reel dunk over two of the SEC’s top shot blockers, Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson. David Huertas also scored 21 and Malcolm White tallied a career-high 20 points. The last time a trio of Rebels accomplished this feat was Nov. 24, 2006, when Todd Abernethy dropped in 23 points and Clarence Sanders and Bam Doyne added 20 apiece in a 100-80 win over Nicholls.
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 10 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 worked his way into the starting point guard role for the past four outings. White had a point guard-like 7 assists and 2 turnovers to go with his 21 points in the win over No. 24 Kentucky. Bogan is averaging 21.5 minutes in the 10 games since Warren’s injury after he logged just 7.5 per game in the season’s first 11 contests.
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 11 unique lineup combinations through 21 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 19.4 points, good for third among SEC players and 34th in the nation. At his current pace, Huertas would finish with the highest season scoring average by a Rebel since Joe Harvell scored 25.0 ppg in 1991-92. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in 12 contests, including three of the last four outings. His 18.0 ppg in SEC play ranks fifth among league players. He ranks third in the SEC overall in 3’s per game (2.8) and 3-point percentage (37.9). He tied a season high with 27 points at South Carolina. He had 20 against 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 2/2)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 3rd/34th 19.4/game
Rebounding 27th 5.0/game
FG Percentage 12th 43.5
FT Percentage 3rd 80.6
3-pt FG Percentage 3rd 37.9
3-pt FGs Made 3rd 2.8/game
Minutes Played 4th 32.4/game
TERRICO TURNS IT UP A NOTCH
Freshman guard Terrico White has turned up his scoring output since league play began. His 15.1 scoring average in league games ranks second on the team and 12th in the SEC. He also ranks 11th in assists (3.0), 12th in field-goal percentage (44.9), fifth in 3’s per game (2.4) and 10th in assist-turnover ratio (1.2). The superb athlete who can makes plays above the rim has also drained 3+ field goals from downtown in five of the last six contests. He had 18 points (12 in 2nd half) to lead the Rebels to victory at Mississippi State on Saturday. His 21 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds helped Ole Miss upset No. 24 Kentucky.. In that game, he had a highlight-reel dunk that landed on Sportscenter’s top plays when he skied over 6-foot-9 post men Patrick Patterson and Perry Stevenson. He captured 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.
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 sixth among league freshmen in scoring at 10.2 ppg, while Holloway is 12th at 8.2 ppg.
Holloway, the team’s top rebounder, ranks fourth among league freshmen and 19th among all players with 5.9 rpg. He tops all SEC freshmen with a 56.5 FG percentage and is third with 1.3 steals per game.
White is making the fifth-most 3-pointers among freshmen with 1.4 per game and handing out the seventh-most assists with 2.1 per game.
MALCOLM TURNING HEADS
Entering the Kentucky game, sophomore forward Malcolm White was averaging 5.7 points and 4.9 boards per outing, but he exploded for a career-high 20 points (8-of-12 FGs) and 6 rebounds in a season-high 36 minutes of action against the 24th-ranked Wildcats. Since Dec. 13, White’s averages have gone from 3.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg to 6.6 ppg and 5.0 rpg. He has scored double figures in each of the last 3 games, while his shot blocking has been a constant all year as he ranks 9th in the SEC with 1.3 bpg.
TERRICO WHITE NAMED FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Memphis native Terrico White earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Jan. 19 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.
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.
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 58 treys this year, Huertas has moved all the way up to sixth place on the all-time list with 133. Warren nailed 25 from downtown prior to his season-ending injury this year and now sits in eighth with 128.
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. 133 David Huertas (56 games, 2008-present)
7. 131 Joezon Darby (81 games, 1996-98)
8. 128 Chris Warren (46 games, 2008-present)
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 20-of-21 games and at least two in 19-of-21. 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 recorded 7 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in the win over No. 24 Kentucky ... 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 (6-for-17 3-pt FGs on the season).
Zach Graham: Has hit 39-of-44 free throws (88.6 pct.) through 21 games ... Playing with a partially torn patella tendon in his right knee ... Third straight double digit scoring game with 13 points at MSU ... 11 points and 5 rebounds with 3 trifectas against Kentucky ... 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 5.9 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.