GAME NOTES: Prime-Time Rivalry Rematch

GAME 24: Ole Miss (17-6, 5-4 SEC) at Mississippi State (16-7, 4-4 SEC)
Thursday 02.11
.10 | 8:00 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
 

MEDIA
Live TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, play-by-play; Jimmy Dykes, analyst)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: XM 199, Sirius 213
Live Video: ESPN360.com

HIGH STAKES FOR IN-STATE RIVALRY

The race for the SEC Western Division crown will become a little clearer after Thursday's game between second-place Ole Miss (5-4) and third-place Mississippi State (4-4) in Starkville. The Rebels are a half game behind division-leading Arkansas (5-3). This is the first time this season Ole Miss repeats an opponent. On Saturday, the Rebels trailed Alabama 40-20 at halftime and by as many as 23 points with 19 minutes left in the game, but stormed back for a 74-67 victory. Chris Warren scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half and Terrance Henry had 18 of his career-high 20 points after the break to go with eight rebounds. Andy Kennedy has 99 career wins and will go for the century mark in Starkville. After this game, four of the team's last six contests are at home.

QUICK NOTES

- Thursday's game will be the 241st meeting between the two schools, with Mississippi State holding an all-time series lead of 135-105 in the SEC's most-played rivalry.

- The Rebels and Bulldogs have split the season series each of the last four years.

- This game features the top two 3-point shooting teams in the SEC (MSU makes 8.9 3s per game; OM makes 8.2 3s per game).

- At 17-6, the Rebels have surpassed last year's win total of 16.

- Ole Miss' 5-4 league record is its best record through nine SEC games since starting 6-3 in 2002.

- At 80.3 ppg, Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC and 15th in the nation in scoring offense.

- The Rebels' rally from 20 points down at halftime to Alabama is believed to be the largest comeback from a halftime deficit in school history.

- Ole Miss is 13-1 when equaling or surpassing its opponent in rebounds, while the Rebels are 4-5 when they get out-rebounded. They have won the rebound battle in five of the last six outings.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS

After starting 3-0 in league play, Rick Stansbury's club has lost four of its last five to drop to 4-4 and third place in the tightly bunched SEC West behind Arkansas (5-3) and Ole Miss (5-4). The Bulldogs are 16-7 overall, and they are 3-0 at home in league play. They average 72.9 ppg on offense and rank first among SEC teams giving up just 62.0 ppg to opponents. MSU also leads the SEC in FG percentage defense (37.0, 4th in nation), blocks per game (8.2, 2nd in nation) and 3-pointers per game (8.9, 8th in nation). Ravern Johnson tops four players averaging 11+ ppg with his 14.0 average. Jarvis Varnado posts 13.5 ppg and 11.3 rpg and leads the SEC and ranks second in the nation with 5.0 blocks per game. Barry Stewart adds 11.3 ppg and Dee Bost 11.2 and a team-high 5.3 apg. 

OLE MISS-MISSISSIPPI STATE SERIES

Thursday's game will be the 241st meeting between the two schools, with the Bulldogs holding an all-time series lead of 135-105 in the SEC's most-played rivalry. The teams have split the season series each of the last four years. Last season, each team won on the opponents' home court (first time since 1955 that had happened), while the previous three years saw the home team claim victory each time. MSU won 80-75 in this year's SEC opener in Oxford, despite a 42-37 Rebel lead at the half. Dee Bost went for a career-high 25 points for the Bulldogs, while Chris Warren led Ole Miss with 15 points.

MSU enjoys an 88-24 series advantage in games played in Starkville. Ole Miss snapped a 10-game MSU win streak in Humphrey Coliseum with its 67-63 win there last year behind 18 points and four 3s by Terrico White.

KENNEDY NEEDS ONE WIN FOR CENTURY MARK

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy enters Thursday's game at Mississippi State just one win shy of 100 for his career. The Louisville, Miss., native is in his fifth season as a collegiate head coach - one year at Cincinnati and four at Ole Miss. His current career record stands at 99-58 (.631 win pct.), the second-best mark among all collegiate coaches who are in their fifth year.

WINNING LEAGUE RECORD

Ole Miss owns a 5-4 record in league play, which is its best record through nine SEC games since starting 6-3 in 2002. That year marks the last time the Rebels finished with a league record above .500 (9-7) and the last time they advanced to the NCAA Tournament.

MONUMENTAL COMEBACK VS. TIDE

Ole Miss rallied from 20 down at halftime (40-20) and 23 down with 19 minutes left (43-20) to storm back for a 74-67 win over Alabama in Oxford on Saturday. It is believed to be the largest comeback from a halftime deficit in school history, based on records dating back to the 1949-50 season. Chris Warren and Terrance Henry both scored 18 points in the second half en route to a game-high 21 for Warren and a career-high 20 for Henry. It marked the seventh time this season that Ole Miss won a game in which it trailed during the second half.

NCAA TOURNAMENT RESUMÉ

With the second half of conference play underway, it's time to start looking at what kind of resumé Ole Miss has built for postseason consideration. Entering the week, the Rebels rank 36th in the NCAA RPI. They have strong wins over Kansas State (RPI No. 7), UTEP (No. 58) and South Carolina (No. 70). Among the team's six losses are three of the RPI's top teams - No. 4 West Virginia, No. 5 Villanova and No. 6 Kentucky. The only loss to a team below 100th was to up-and-coming Arkansas (No. 113).

PROLIFIC OFFENSE

Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC and 15th in the country with an average of 80.3 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 12 times, 90+ in five contests and a season-high 108 against Centenary. Five players average 9 or more ppg, led by Chris Warren's 16.8 and Terrico White's 14.8.

SEC ROAD WARRIORS

Ole Miss has won three SEC road games (Georgia, LSU, Auburn) for the first time since claiming four in 2001. The school record for SEC road wins in a season is six (1938).

STRONG OFF THE BENCH

Ole Miss has benefitted from strong contributions off its bench in SEC play. The Rebel bench is averaging 24.1 ppg and out-scoring the SEC opponents' bench 217-105, which is an average of 12.4 more ppg. Against Alabama, the Rebel bench out-scored the Tide bench 32-7.

CLIMBING THE CAREER 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 200 treys in 69 career outings (2.9 per game), becoming the fourth Rebel in team history with 200 career triples.

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.

BUCKNER CLOSING IN ON SCHOOL RECORDS

Freshman forward Reginald Buckner has already established himself as one of the best shot-blockers in the SEC and soon to be one of the best in school history. His 44 blocks through 20 games are two shy of Sean Murphy's school freshman record (46 in 1987-88) and 12 shy of David Dean's school record for blocks in a season (56 in 1992-93). Buckner's total already ranks 10th-most in a season in school history.


 

 

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