Hot Rebels Face SEC West Leader In Tuscaloosa

Feb. 11, 2011

Complete Ole Miss Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

GAME 25: Ole Miss (16-8, 4-5 SEC) at Alabama (15-8, 7-2 SEC)
Saturday 2.12.11 | 3:00 p.m. CT
Tuscaloosa, Ala. | Coleman Coliseum (15,383)

Live TV: SEC Network (Clay Matvick, play-by-play; Joe Dean Jr., analyst)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 213, XM 200
Live Video:

Riding a three-game win streak, Ole Miss heads to Tuscaloosa to face SEC West leading Alabama for the first time this season. The Rebels have reeled off wins over No. 10 Kentucky, Arkansas (on the road) and LSU. After four straight losses to open league play, Ole Miss has won four of its last five to pull its SEC record to 4-5. Senior point guard Chris Warren has of course been the catalyst for the recent success, averaging 22.3 points in the three wins. The nation’s leader in free-throw percentage (94.9) has made 19-of-19 in the last two games alone. Ole Miss faces a formidable task against a Crimson Tide squad that is a perfect 12-0 at home this year.

- Saturday’s game will be the 167th meeting between the two schools, with Alabama holding a 115-51 lead in the series.
- Ole Miss swept Alabama last season for the first time since 1998.
- The Rebels have won their last two SEC road games (at LSU, at Arkansas).
- Andy Kennedy is the fastest in program history to reach 100 wins. With 101, he now has the school record for most by one staff in a five-year span.
- Kennedy is in good position to have the first staff to lead Ole Miss to five straight winning seasons since R.L. Sullivan (1920-25).
- Ole Miss leads all SEC teams and ranks 16th in the nation with a 75.3 FT percentage.
- Chris Warren leads the nation in free throw percentage (94.9) and is on pace to set the school and SEC record for a season.
- Warren ranks 5th in SEC history with a school-record 304 career 3-pointers and is the SEC’s active leader in career points, assists, 3s and 20-pt games.

Alabama comes into Saturday’s game with a 15-8 overall record and a 7-2 league mark that has the Crimson Tide in first place in the SEC West and second overall in the league. The Tide had a five-game win streak snapped with Thursday’s 81-77 loss at Vanderbilt. Anthony Grant’s team has yet to lose a game at Coleman Coliseum, sporting a perfect 12-0 mark at home, including 4-0 in league play. The squad is built on a stifling defense, which allows just 58.1 ppg (best in SEC) to opponents. Alabama also leads the league with 9.5 steals per contest, which ranks top 10 in the nation. Three UA players average in double figures, led by JaMychal Green’s 16.0 ppg (8th in SEC). Tony Mitchell adds 15.6 ppg (9th in SEC) and Trevor Releford 10.0 ppg. Green leads the team with 7.7 rpg (5th in SEC).

Saturday’s game will be the 167th meeting between the two schools. The Crimson Tide holds a 115-51 lead in the series, which began in 1921. The teams have split their season series in nine of the last 12 years, but Alabama swept both matchups two years ago, and Ole Miss swept the season series last year for the first time since 1998. In Oxford, Ole Miss stormed back from 23 down in the second half to beat the Tide 74-67, led by Chris Warren’s 21 points and Terrance Henry’s career-high 20. Three weeks later in Tuscaloosa, the Rebels came from behind again to steal a 76-73 road win behind Murphy Holloway’s 16 points and 7 rebounds and a pair of clutch free throws by Warren. Alabama has a 68-10 advantage all-time in games played in Tuscaloosa. Andy Kennedy has a 4-4 career record vs. the Tide.

Several members of the Rebel family call Alabama their “sweet home.” Sophomore guard Nick Williams is a native of Mobile and was the 2008 6A State Player of the Year. Assistant coach Torrey Ward and coordinator of operations Bill Armstrong are both from Birmingham and played collegiately at UAB, while coordinator of video services Robi Coker hails from Skirum. 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.

Ole Miss has won three games in a row entering Saturday’s tilt at Alabama. The last time the Rebels won that many SEC games in a row was when they reeled off four straight at the close of last year’s slate (which included a win in Tuscaloosa).

Ole Miss picked up its second straight road win with a 69-60 triumph at Arkansas last Saturday. The Rebels also beat LSU 78-51 on Jan. 22. They are 4-3 in true road games and 6-4 away from Oxford this season, including a 2-2 mark in league play. Even in the two SEC losses, they were just a couple of possessions from wins at Florida and Vanderbilt.

With 101 wins under his belt, Andy Kennedy has led Ole Miss to the most wins in a five-year span by one coaching staff in school history. The record for any five-year span in school history (includes coaching changes) is 108, which occurred twice, from 1996-97 to 2000-01 and from 1997-98 to 2001-02.

The Rebels’ 69-60 win at Arkansas was the 100th victory at Ole Miss for Andy Kennedy. He reached the milestone faster than any coach in program history, doing so in his 158th game. He is the third coach in school history with 100 career victories, trailing only B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 years) and Rod Barnes (141 wins in eight years) on the school’s career coaching victories chart. Kennedy’s .635 winning percentage (101-58) is significantly better than Graham’s (.462) or Barnes’ (.564). Kennedy is 122-71 in his sixth year overall as a head coach (includes one season at Cincinnati).

With a 16-8 record, Ole Miss is one victory shy of clinching yet another winning season. If the Rebels finish with a record above .500, Andy Kennedy and his staff will be the first to achieve five straight winning seasons since R.L. Sullivan led Ole Miss to six straight winning seasons from 1920-25. Ole Miss did have six straight winning campaigns from 1997 to 2002 under two different head coaches.

Senior guard Chris Warren nailed a 25-footer with 2.9 seconds left and Ole Miss upset No. 10 Kentucky on Feb. 1. It was a huge win for the Rebels, who came into the contest with an 0-3 record in league home games. It was Ole Miss’ first win over a top-10 opponent since beating No. 6 Alabama in 2002, making it the biggest win in Andy Kennedy’s tenure as head coach. Ole Miss had a season-high 11 steals and forced Kentucky into 18 turnovers, the most by UK this season. After the game, Ole Miss earned two of the top three spots on ESPN SportsCenter’s Top Plays. Reginald Buckner’s block of a Brandon Knight dunk attempt was No. 3, while Warren’s game-winning triple was the top play of the night.

The Rebels lead all SEC teams and rank 17th in the nation with a 75.3 FT percentage. They have shot 80 percent or better in 10 games this season, including 92.9 (13-of-14) at Arkansas, 87.5 (14-of-16) at Vanderbilt and 84.6 (22-of-26) against Tennessee. Their 95.7 FT pct. against Murray State (22-of-23) was the second-best mark in school history for a game with at least 20 attempts.

Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams with 74.9 points per game and sixth with a 45.5 field-goal percentage. They have shot better than 40 percent in all but four games and better than 50 percent in six outings. The Rebels shot a season-high 62.2 percent in their 27-point win at LSU. Reginald Buckner leads the league with a 62.2 FG percentage, which would rank among the nation’s leaders if he had enough attempts. Terrance Henry ranks 13th in the league at 48.2 percent. Every regular in the Rebels’ lineup is hitting shots at better than a 40 percent clip.

With most of its players capable of producing from long range, Ole Miss has become proficient in its 3-point shooting of late. The Rebels rank second among SEC teams with 7.1 3-pointers made per game in league play, with Chris Warren making a league-best 3.3 treys per game in conference action.

Chris Warren LEADS THE WAY
For the 2010-11 Rebels, most things run through senior point guard Chris Warren. A candidate for numerous accolades, he currently ranks second in the SEC in scoring (18.7), first in FT percentage (94.9), fourth in assists (3.8), second in 3-pointers made (2.7), fourth in assist-turnover ratio (1.9) and fourth in minutes (34.3). In league games only, he ranks second in scoring (19.1) and leads the league in FT percentage (97.0) and 3-pointers made (3.3). Overall, he has scored 20+ points in 11 games (2nd-most among SEC players) and has led the Rebels in scoring 17 times and in assists 18 times.

Senior point guard Chris Warren leads the nation with a 94.9 free throw percentage. He has made 112 of 118 attempts on the season and has converted 70 of his last 72 from the line. At his current pace, he would set the school and SEC record for FT percentage in a season and would rank among the all-time best seasons in NCAA history.

Chris Warren continues to fly up the Ole Miss career points list. Entering the Alabama game, he stands in fourth place in school history with 1,821 career points. His next field goal will move him past Carlos Clark (1,822) for third place.

Already with the most 3-pointers in school history, Chris Warren has moved into the top five in the SEC record books with another outstanding shooting display this year. Warren’s game-winning 25-foot bomb against No. 10 Kentucky was the 300th triple of his career. He is one of just five players in league history to reach that total. He enters the Alabama game with 304 career triples. Next on the SEC list is Tennessee legend Allan Houston, who made 346 career treys. Warren also holds the school record and ranks fifth in league history with 798 career 3-point attempts.
All-Time SEC 3-Point Leaders
1. 431 Chris Lofton, Tennessee (2005-08)
2. 367 Shan Foster, Vanderbilt (2005-08)
3. 366 Pat Bradley, Arkansas (1996-99)
4. 346 Allan Houston, Tennessee (1990-93)
5. 304 Chris Warren, Ole Miss (2008-pres.)

Chris Warren served up his 400th career assist vs. Vanderbilt, becoming the fifth player in school history to reach 400 career assists. Warren enters the Alabama game with 415. The next player on the Rebel career list for him to catch is Jason Harrison, who ranks fourth with 427.

If senior guard Chris Warren can reach 2,000 points, he will become only the fourth player in SEC history with 2,000 points and 400 assists in a career, joining LSU’s Pete Maravich, Tennessee’s Allan Houston and Georgia’s Litterial Green. With eight games left, Warren would need to average 22.4 points per contest to reach 2,000, not counting postseason play.

Sophomore forward Reginald Buckner tied Ansu Sesay’s school record for blocks in a game with eight at Arkansas last Saturday. Along the way, he also surpassed his own single-season record from last year (64) and ran his 2010-11 total to 72. In just his second year, Buckner already ranks second in school history with 136 blocks in his career. The Memphis native is 44 swats shy of the career record, set by Sean Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner ranks third in the SEC and 10th in the country with 3.1 blocks per game. In league games only, he is second with an average of 3.3. He has recorded five or more swats in eight games this year.

Senior guard Zach Graham has been solid and steady in his final campaign. He ranks 14th in the SEC with a 14.3 scoring average and third with an 87.1 free-throw percentage. He averages 4.4 rebounds per game. He posted a career-high 22 points against Murray State and led the Rebels with 16 vs. Dayton. He posted his first career double-double with 16 points and a career-high 13 boards vs. Colorado State. Graham averaged 15.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in three games in Mexico and was named to the Cancun Governor’s Cup All-Tournament team. He put up 18 points and 8 boards vs. Alcorn State. He tallied 13 points and 8 boards at SMU. He scored 13 points with 5 boards vs. MSU. He poured in 21 points (8-13 FGs, 5-5 FTs) against Georgia, one off his career high. He had 14 points and 5 boards at Vanderbilt. He scored 17 (7-9 FGs, 3-3 3-pt FGs) at LSU. He posted 16 points (7-7 FTs) and 5 boards, making a couple of key baskets in the upset of No. 10 Kentucky. He scored 17 points and grabbed 8 rebounds in the win at Arkansas. He also had 17 in the home win over LSU.

Zach Graham became the 32nd player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau when he scored 13 points at SMU. He enters the Alabama game in 25th place with 1,134 career points and could move into 24th with three or more points against the Tide. The Suwanee, Ga., native has accomplished the feat with steady improvement every year (averaged 5.9 ppg as a freshman, 8.5 as a sophomore, 9.2 as a junior and 14.3 as a senior). He joins Chris Warren as current 1,000-point scorers at Ole Miss.

Zach Graham = WINNER
Senior guard Zach Graham has made winning a habit since he arrived in Oxford. With 80 career wins, he needs eight more to become the all-time winningest player in school history. Jason Flanigan (1998-2001) currently holds the record with 87 career victories.

Junior forward Terrance Henry has displayed his immense talent and versatility in recent outings as he has turned up his aggressiveness and production. At Vanderbilt, he scored 11 points with four blocks and a career-high four steals. He followed that performance with his first career double-double at LSU, collecting 13 points and 10 rebounds. In the upset win over No. 10 Kentucky, Henry scored 12 points with 5 rebounds, and in the win at Arkansas he had 11 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks. His season averages are up to 8.8 ppg (third on the team) and 5.8 rpg (second on the team).

After transferring from Indiana and sitting out last season due to NCAA rules, sophomore guard Nick Williams has been a key addition on the court this year. A starter in 23 of 24 games, he is averaging 7.3 points and 4.0 rebounds and has been an instrumental vocal leader on the floor. His 21 points against Murray State were a career high (including Indiana and Ole Miss). Against Penn State, he scored 15 points with career highs of three treys and four assists. He grabbed a season-high 8 rebounds vs. Texas State and Colorado State and scored 13 point against the Rams. He had his best performance in SEC play with 14 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists at LSU. In the preseason, he was named one of the top 25 impact transfers in the country by Athlon Sports.

With a season-high tying 26 points against LSU, Chris Warren posted his 11th 20-point game this season, second-most among SEC players. His 37 career 20-point games leads all active SEC players. He also leads all active league players in career points, assists and 3-pointers.



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