GAME 22: Ole Miss (16-5) vs. Presbyterian (4-22)
February 11, 2008 7 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (8,910)
Live Webcast: www.OleMissSports.com
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Pete Cordelli, color analyst). Listen Online
XM Radio: Channel 199
FINAL NON-LEAGUE MATCHUP ON TAP
Ole Miss takes a break from the Southeastern Conference schedule when it hosts Presbyterian College in the final non-league tilt of the season Monday, which will be broadcasted live on www.OleMissSports.com. The Rebels are undefeated in non-conference play this year at 13-0 and could become just the second Ole Miss team ever to finish without a loss to a non-league foe in the regular season (1948-49 squad went 4-0). The Blue Hose of Presbyterian are 4-0 at home this season, but 0-22 on the road with one of the most rigorous schedules in the country this season. Ole Miss will be their third SEC opponent of the year, while they have also played four teams from the ACC and one each from the Big 12 and Big Ten.
SCOUTING THE BLUE HOSE
Enduring one of the toughest schedules in the country while reclassifying to Division I, Presbyterian is 4-22 on the season with all four wins at home and all 22 losses on the road. Ole Miss will be the third SEC opponent of the year for the Blue Hose, while they have also played four teams from the ACC and one each from the Big 12 and Big Ten. The scrappy group from Clinton, S.C., has lost just one of those games against “BCS” teams by more than 20 points (87-43 at Ohio State). The offense has struggled to 58.2 ppg, but a gritty defense allows just 66.5 ppg. Al’lonzo Coleman and Pat Kiscaden top the squad with 10.7 and 10.2 ppg, respectively. Coleman also leads the team in rebounds (5.1), blocks (.54) and steals (2.1) Bryan Bostic chips in 9.8 points per contest.
OLE MISS-PRESBYTERIAN SERIES
Monday’s game marks the first ever meeting between the Rebels and Blue Hose.
OLE MISS-PRESBYTERIAN COMMON FOES
The Rebels and Blue Hose have played five common opponents this year in New Mexico, Clemson, UCF, Winthrop and Auburn. Ole Miss sports a 4-1 record against those foes, while PC is 0-5 in those games.
Ole Miss is a perfect 13-0 against non-conference opponents this season, with just one non-league matchup remaining today vs. Presbyterian. The only Rebel squad to ever go undefeated in its regular-season non-conference schedule is the 1948-49 team that was 4-0 outside of league play en route to an 8-13 overall record.
OLEMISSSPORTS.COM STREAMS LIVE GAMES
Rebel fans can catch the Ole Miss basketball teams in action on OleMissSports.com this season. Today’s game is the last of four men’s games with a live webcast on the Rebels’ official website.
In addition, OleMissSports.com premium subscribers can view replays of all men’s and women’s home games on-demand. Replays will be available at 8 a.m. CST the following day per Southeastern Conference regulations.
CURTIS BECOMES 30TH REBEL TO 1,000 POINTS
Senior center Dwayne Curtis tied his career high with 25 points against South Carolina last Saturday to become the 30th member of the Rebels’ 1,000-Point Club. He enters the Presbyterian game with 1,023 points at Ole Miss. The Chicago native is the 20th Rebel to amass 1,000 or more points in three seasons or less. He currently averages a career-high 15.0 ppg after scoring 13.6 and 12.2 points his sophomore and junior years. Including his freshman season at Auburn (55 points in 19 games), Curtis has scored 1,078 points in his college career.
At 6-foot-8 and 262 pounds, senior center Dwayne Curtis has long been known as a big body who can create space to rebound and score in the post, but he has taken his talents to another level in league play this year. After eight SEC games, Curtis tops the league with six double-doubles, while his 11 double-doubles in all games ranks second behind the 12 of Alabama’s Richard Hendrix. Curtis has posted 27 double-doubles in his Rebel career. He had seven as a sophomore and nine last season.
The Chicago native currently averages career highs of 15.0 ppg and 9.1 rpg, which rank 15th and 2nd in the SEC, respectively. Curtis pulls down 4.2 offensive boards per game, tops in the SEC and 7th-most in the country.
HE CAN'T MISS (MUCH)
Hitting shots at an alarmingly high rate, senior center Dwayne Curtis leads the SEC and entered the weekend ranked second in the nation with a 66.7 field-goal percentage. The nation’s leader is 7-foot-7 UNC Asheville center Kenny George (70.8 pct.). Curtis’ percentage of 66.7 is on pace to shatter Marcus Hicks’ school record of 63.8 set in 1998-99. Curtis has shot 80 percent or better from the field in nine games, including an 11-for-13 performance to tie a career high with 25 points against South Carolina.
FABULOUS FRESHMAN FLOOR GENERAL
Freshman point guard Chris Warren has been a tremendous addition to the Rebels this season after the departure of All-SEC floor general Todd Abernethy. The rookie leads Ole Miss in scoring (16.4 ppg), assists (5.1/game), three-pointers (3.0/game) and minutes played (30.5/game). He ranks third in the SEC and 55th in the nation in assists, while draining the third-most three’s per game in the league. He ranks ninth in the league in scoring and seventh with a 1.80 assist-turnover ratio.
The Orlando native has scored in double figures in all but one game (8 vs. Florida). He has dished out 5 or more assists in 12-of-21 contests. Warren dropped in a career-high 26 points on 6 3-pointers at Arkansas Saturday for his fifth 20+ game of the year and fourth in league play. He scored 25 points at Auburn and tied Trevor Gaskins’ Ole Miss freshman record with seven treys, while also posting 24 at Tennessee and 20 vs. Vanderbilt. He is averaging a team-high 18.4 ppg in SEC contests, good for sixth in the conference. He has earned two SEC Freshman of the Week honors and was named the MVP of the San Juan Shootout.
WARREN DRAINING THREE’S AT RECORD PACE
Point guard Chris Warren has not been shy when it comes to shooting from behind the arc this season. The rookie has netted 64 triples on 165 attempts through 21 games, which both already rank top 8 in a season in school history. His 64 three’s are seventh in the Rebel records, while the 165 attempts are eighth-most. He has hit at least two three’s in all but three games this year. At his current pace of 3.0 per game, Warren has a chance to break Clarence Sanders’ school record of 96 treys set last year.
At No. 21 in the latest CBS Sportsline.com and RealTimeRPI.com simulated RPI (ratings percentage index) rankings, Ole Miss is doing pretty well for a team that was predicted to finish as low as No. 143 in the nation by one preseason publication. Ole Miss ranks 21st or 22nd in simulated RPI polls this week.
LEADING THE SEC
Ole Miss ranks at or near the top of the conference in several statistical categories. The Rebels own the league’s top mark in rebounds (42.1/game) and offensive rebounds (15.9/game), while ranking second in scoring offense (82.5 ppg), rebounding margin (+6.3) and defensive rebounds (26.2/game). They also sit in third in turnover margin, 3-pointers made and assist/turnover ratio. Individually, Dwayne Curtis tops the conference with a .667 field-goal percentage and 4.2 offensive rebounds per game, while posting the second-most total rebounds per game at 9.1. Chris Warren ranks third with 5.14 assists per game and 3.0 three-pointers per contest.
BANGING THE BOARDS
With a pair of senior big men leading the way, Ole Miss has established itself as one of the top rebounding teams in the nation. The Rebels top the SEC and rank seventh nationally with 42.1 rebounds per game, while also boasting the SEC’s second-best rebounding margin at +6.3. Ole Miss also leads the league with 15.9 offensive boards per game, having grabbed 20+ offensive boards six times, including three times in league play. The Rebels have been out-rebounded just three times all year.
Individually, senior center Dwayne Curtis is averaging a team-high 9.1 boards per game, second-most in the SEC. Kenny Williams grabs 7.4 boards per contest, good for eighth in the league. The senior forward has posted five double-doubles this season, most recently 10 points and 10 boards vs. Vanderbilt.
REBELS AMONG NATION’S TOP SCORING TEAMS
Ole Miss ranks second in the SEC and 10th nationally in scoring with 82.5 points per game. The Rebels have scored 80+ points in 11 of their 21 contests. Their 76.4 average in SEC play ranks third among league schools. Ole Miss is on pace to rack up the second-highest scoring average in school history behind the 1970-71 team’s 90.8 ppg and in front of the 1974-75 squad’s 81.6 average.
Ole Miss topped 100 points for the second time this year with a 102-76 victory over Troy on Nov. 27. It is the first time Ole Miss has topped the century mark twice in a season since the 1998-99 campaign. The 108 points in the Nov. 16 win over Lamar were the most in a game since Ole Miss beat Prairie View A&M 111-50 on Dec. 29, 1998.
OLE MISS RANKED AFTER 7-YEAR DROUGHT
Ole Miss was ranked for six straight weeks, appearing as high as 15th, prior to dropping out of both polls following the home loss to South Carolina. The Rebels were receiving votes for three weeks prior to their first ranking.
Prior to this season, the Rebels were last ranked in the final polls of 2000-01, when they appeared as high as No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today rankings following their NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearance.
SUCCESS VERSUS TOP 25
Ole Miss is 2-1 this season against teams ranked in the top 25 at the time of the game. The Rebels upended No. 15 Clemson 85-82 in San Juan, Puerto Rico, before falling 85-83 at No. 8 Tennessee. They most recently earned a 74-58 victory over No. 18 Vanderbilt. The Rebels have defeated a pair of ranked opponents for the first time since 2002-03, when they prevailed over No. 13 Alabama and No. 23 LSU and went 2-8 against ranked foes that year.
REBELS DEFENDING SEC WEST TITLE
Ole Miss sits in third place in the SEC West with a 3-5 record eight games into its division title defense. With the thrilling victory over Auburn in the 2007 regular season finale, Ole Miss earned the program’s fourth SEC Western Division championship and first since 2001. Ole Miss was picked by the media to finish last in the division again this year, just like last year and 2001. Ole Miss captured consecutive division crowns in 1997 and 1998. The Rebels’ four SEC West titles in the last 11 years is the most of any division rival over that span.
PACKING THE PAD
Over the last decade, the "Tad Pad" has proven to be one of the toughest arenas in the nation for opposing teams to play, and second-year head coach Andy Kennedy has only added to that success. Ole Miss owns a 26-2 record at Tad Smith Coliseum since Kennedy took the reins last season.
The Oxford crowds have jumped on board, too. This year’s LSU game saw the Tad Pad’s second-highest attendance ever with 9,328 fans and the Florida game crowd of 9,304 ranks sixth in arena annals. Four of this year’s crowds rank among the top 20 in facility history. This season’s averages of 7,294 fans per game and 9,157 fans at each SEC contest are both on pace to set school records.
Ole Miss has won 157 of its last 191 games (.822 winning percentage) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 392-181 (.684 winning percentage) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.
REBELS ON THE TUBE
Saturday’s game against Arkansas televised by SportSouth was the ninth TV appearance this year after the Rebels saw a school-record 22 games televised a year ago. Ole Miss is slated to play at least 15 TV games this year, which will mark the 10th straight season that the Rebels played 10 or more TV games.
POLYNICE FILLING IT UP
Sophomore guard Eniel Polynice has put up big numbers in several columns of the stat sheet this season. He ranks 28th in the SEC with 12.3 points per game and also ranks among the league leaders in rebounds (20th at 5.4/game) assists (8th at 3.8/ game), steals (7th at 1.8/game), field-goal percentage (13th at .451) and assist-turnover ratio (9th at 1.74).
Polynice recently posted 18 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks vs. Vanderbilt. He poured in 20 points, grabbed 8 boards and dished out 4 assists at No. 8 Tennessee. He had an outstanding game against Southern Miss with a near triple-double of 14 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and a career-high 9 assists. He also shattered several career highs with his stellar performance in the Nov. 13 win over South Alabama, including career bests of 28 points and seven 3-pointers.
GASKINS MAKES SPLASH AS ROOKIE
One of several freshmen and newcomers contributing for the Rebels this year, guard Trevor Gaskins has made a big impact with his ability to hit from long range. He loomed large in the Rebels’ 89-87 win over Florida with 19 points on 6-of-9 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc, including several big shots to halt Gator runs in the second half. He got off to a furious start to his Ole Miss career in the season opener. He finished one 3-pointer shy of the school record with seven treys on 10 attempts, but did collect the freshman record previously held by Josh Hayes, who stroked six three’s against Troy State on Dec. 18, 2000 and Joe Harvell, who had six vs. Kentucky on Jan. 27, 1990. The Ole Miss record of eight was set by Keith Carter against Prairie View on Dec. 29, 1998.
ANOTHER REBEL ROOKIE ENTERS SPOTLIGHT
Georgia native Zach Graham has joined his Rebel freshman counterparts by making a significant contribution since he broke into the starting lineup three games ago against Vanderbilt. The rookie guard is putting up 10.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in his starts over the last three games. He poured in a season-high 14 points against South Carolina and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds at Arkansas. He also scored nine points in both the Vanderbilt and Arkansas games.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
David Huertas: The Puerto Rican hit at least one three-pointer in nine straight games from 12/21 to 1/16. Broke out of a 3-game slump with 13 points and 3-of-5 from behind the arc against South Carolina and added 10 points at Arkansas. He tied a career high when he poured in a game-high 17 points against Alabama A&M. Nailed a career-high 5 3-pointers vs. the Bulldogs. Scored 14 points and grabbed 5 rebounds vs. La Salle and Clemson. Made back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half to close a 7-point deficit to just one in the win over Winthrop. He also scored 17 points vs. ULM.
Jermey Parnell: Returned to the court after missing four straight and five of the previous six games with a high ankle sprain. Played 13 minutes and grabbed 2 rebounds in his return at Arkansas. Injured his ankle in the second half at Tennessee and returned to play limited minutes vs. Florida. Started the first three games of the season and came off the bench for the next nine before starting the next two. In just seven minutes of action at No. 8 Tennessee, made three big blocks to tie a career high. Also posted three blocked shots in a season-high 22 minutes against La Salle. Season-high 12 points on 6-of-7 from the field vs. Troy.
Brian Smith: Senior point guard is averaging 9.4 minutes per game in a reserve role behind Chris Warren. Has missed just one game this season, at Auburn. Tied a career high with 3 steals vs. Alabama A&M. Made two big 3-pointers to help extend a Rebel lead in the win over Southern Miss. Season-high 17 minutes and 3 assists vs. South Alabama.
Terrence Watson: A very long, athletic forward, Watson has 11 blocks in limited action in 15 games. After sitting the first four SEC games, has seen action off the bench in the last four league contests. The JC transfer earned the starting nod and logged a season-high 19 minutes vs. Lamar. Swatted 4 shots against Louisiana-Monroe.
Malcolm White: Sensational freshman leaper saw first significant action filling in for Parnell vs. LSU. Scored a season-high 12 points with 6 rebounds in 21 minutes vs. the Tigers. Made 4-of-5 from the field and 4-of-4 free throws in the game. Tallied 9 points, all in the first half, at Mississippi State. Swatted a career-high 3 shots against Florida. Saw his previous most action with 14 minutes vs. Troy and put up 6 points and 6 rebounds. Had two huge dunks in that game.
REBELS TO PLAY IN SEC/BIG EAST INVITATIONAL
ESPN Regional Television, in conjunction with the BIG EAST Conference and the Southeastern Conference, announced recently the eight men’s college basketball teams, including the Ole Miss Rebels, that will represent the two conferences in next season’s second annual SEC/BIG EAST Invitational.
On Dec. 16 in Nashville, Vanderbilt will face South Florida while Marquette squares off with Tennessee. On Dec. 18 at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Mississippi State will face Cincinnati and Ole Miss will play Louisville. The games will be televised by ESPN and ESPN2.