GAME 24: Ole Miss (13-10, 4-5) at LSU (20-4, 8-1)
Saturday 02.14.09 | 6 p.m. CT
Baton Rouge, La. | Pete Maravich Assembly Center (13,215)
Live TV: Fox Sports South (Dave Neal, play-by-play; Barry Booker, analyst)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Listen Online through RebelVision
Live Video: ESPN360.com (Free on-campus viewing at all U.S. colleges and universities)
XM Radio: Channel 199
FIERCE RIVALS MEET ON VALENTINE’S DAY
Ole Miss will match up with a rival program that it is traditionally not very fond of when the Rebels visit LSU on Saturday for a Valentine’s Day contest. Ironically, the Tigers are the Rebels’ most common V-day opponent in history, with Saturday being their fifth all-time matchup on Feb. 14. Ole Miss will be seeking payback for an 83-51 loss to the Tigers in Oxford earlier this season. LSU owns the SEC’s best league record at 8-1, while Ole Miss is tied for third in the SEC West at 4-5. The Rebels, statistically the nation’s least experienced team, had a three-game winning streak snapped by Vanderbilt this past Saturday. Junior David Huertas leads the squad with 19.3 ppg, fourth-most among SEC players, while Terrico White has become a force in league play, averaging 16.4 ppg against SEC opponents, tops among conference freshmen.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
LSU improved to 20-4 overall and an SEC-best 8-1 league record with its double-overtime 97-94 victory at Mississippi State on Wednesday. Tasmin Mitchell continued his strong league play with 41 points (12-15 FGs, 15-18 FTs), 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Entering Saturday’s game, the Tigers boast a 16-1 home record in all games and a 4-0 mark against SEC teams at the PMAC. First-year head coach Trent Johnson has led the Tigers to eight straight wins over league foes after dropping the SEC opener at Alabama. LSU owns the top scoring margin in the SEC (+12.9) and the second-best rebounding margin (+7.1). Marcus Thornton is the club’s top scorer at 19.9 ppg, in front of Mitchell (16.7) and Bo Spencer (11.6). Chris Johnson adds 8.1 ppg and a team-best 7.7 rpg.
OLE MISS-LSU SERIES
The series with the Tigers, which began in 1909, is the second-longest in Ole Miss basketball history. LSU leads the all-time series 115-80, although the Rebels hold a slim 14-13 edge in the last 27 meetings. LSU handed Ole Miss its worst home loss since 2000 in an 83-51 decision earlier this season. The teams split last year’s series with each winning on its home court. LSU holds a 75-25 lead in games played in Baton Rouge. The last Rebel triumph at the PMAC was a 67-57 win in 2003.
Third-year Ole Miss mentor Andy Kennedy owns a 4-3 record against LSU in his career. He faced the Bayou Bengals as Cincinnati head coach in 2005-06, earning a 75-72 victory at the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.
LEAST EXPERIENCED TEAM IN THE NATION
Departures and injuries have led to Ole Miss being ranked as the least experienced team in the nation, according to statistics published on KenPom.com. The Rebels rank No. 344 of 344 on the list, which calculates the accumulated experience of all the team’s players who have logged minutes on the floor this season. Also among the least experienced squads in the country are fellow SEC teams Arkansas (339) and Vanderbilt (338).
Currently, Ole Miss has no seniors among its scholarship members, while the team features an active roster with just three scholarship players who had any Division I experience prior to this season (junior David Huertas and sophomores Zach Graham and Malcolm White). The remainder of this year’s significant contributors is made up of four freshmen and a junior college transfer.
OLE MISS ALL-CENTURY TEAM ANNOUNCED
Ole Miss athletics officials proudly announced on Thursday the CellularSouth All-Century Team. The team highlights the season-long celebration of the “First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball.” The honorees will be publically recognized during halftime of the Feb. 21 home game vs. Georgia.
The All-Century Team was selected following a vote of fans on OleMissSports.com and a committee of officials from the athletics department and the M-Club Alumni Chapter. The fans’ top 10 vote getters were automatic qualifiers, and the remaining spots were chosen by the committee.
OLE MISS ALL-CENTURY TEAM (alphabetical order):
Coolidge Ball (F, 1972-74); Rod Barnes (G, 1985-88); Denver Brackeen (C, 1954-55); Keith Carter (G, 1996-99); Carlos Clark (G/F, 1980-83); Joe Gibbon (F, 1954-57); Gerald Glass (F, 1989-90); B.L. "Country" Graham (F, 1936-38); Joe Harvell (F, 1990-93); Cob Jarvis (F/G, 1952-54); Don Kessinger (G, 1962-64); Rahim Lockhart (F, 1998-2001); Johnny Neumann (F, 1971); Justin Reed (F, 2001-04); Ansu Sesay (F, 1995-98); John Stroud (F, 1977-80); Sean Tuohy (G, 1979-82); Elston Turner (F/G, 1978-81); Jack Waters (F/G, 1959-61).
The Rebel roster features two Louisiana natives in freshman forward Terrance Henry (Monroe) and sophomore forward Malcolm White (Baton Rouge). In addition, Ole Miss assistant coach and former point guard Michael White spent his prep days at Jesuit High School in New Orleans, under coach Chris Jennings. During Michael's youth in Louisiana, his father Kevin White served as Athletic Director at Tulane. He is currently in that same position at Duke University.
REBS LOVE VALENTINE’S DAY
Despite being the fiercest of rivals, the Ole Miss and LSU hoops squads frequently find themselves on a date, specifically Feb. 14. Saturday’s contest will be the teams’ fifth meeting on Valentine’s Day all-time, making LSU the Rebels’ most frequent V-Day opponent. Ole Miss owns a 15-12 mark all-time on Valentine’s Day and has won seven of the last eight such games. The last time the Rebels played on Feb. 14 was ironically enough against LSU two years ago, when Ole Miss pulled out a 71-70 win in Oxford.
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. 20 in the nation on RealTimeRPI.com’s list. With a 13-10 record, Ole Miss ranks No. 63 on that RPI list, fifth among SEC schools. Four teams the Rebels have already seen are ranked in the top 35 - Louisville (12), Utah (13), West Virginia (16) and Florida (34) - while two more are in the top 50 - South Carolina (44) and LSU (50).
IMPROVING ON THE GLASS
After nine SEC games, Ole Miss ranks first in the conference in offensive rebounds per game (13.8), second in total rebounds per game (39.3) and third in rebounding margin (+3.9) in league contests. Ole Miss has out-rebounded six of nine 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 6.0 in league outings. Sophomore forward Malcolm White is second on the squad with 5.0 rpg in all games and 5.4 rpg in SEC play.
FREE-THROW SHOOTING EXPLOITS
Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams and 19th in the nation with a 74.5 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 second in the SEC statistics at 80.6 percent (112-of-139), while Zach Graham boasts an 87.5 percent mark from the line (42-of-48) and Terrance Henry is hitting at a 79.5 percent clip (31-of-39).
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 nearly tripled the games in which it shot 80 percent or better from the charity stripe this year (8) compared to all of last season (3).
The Rebels put together a three-game winning streak, tied for their longest this season, prior to a defeat at Vanderbilt this past Saturday. The wins included an 85-80 triumph over then-SEC East leading No. 24 Kentucky (first over UK since 2001), a 67-63 victory at then-SEC West leader Mississippi State (first in Starkville since 1998) and a 78-59 triumph over Auburn (largest margin of victory at home vs. SEC team under Andy Kennedy).
IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is not receiving votes in either national poll, while LSU is just outside the top 25 with 167 votes in the Associated Press poll (26th) and 50 votes in the ESPN/USA Today poll (28th).
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 4th-leading scorer (David Huertas - 19.3 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
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 Feb. 2. 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 Jan. 31. 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.
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 on Jan. 27 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 and 1-1 this season.
RUNNING THE POINT
Freshman Terrico White has proven himself more than capable since taking over the starting point guard duties six games ago. The Memphis native was the team’s leading scorer in three straight league wins, including victories over then-division leaders Kentucky and Mississippi State. White began the season working on the wings, but in the last six games as the primary ball handler, he has put up 16.8 ppg and 5.0 rpg while dishing out 20 assists to just 10 turnovers. Following the season-ending injury to preseason All-SEC PG Chris Warren on Dec. 18, the team turned to freshman Will Bogan, who had served as Warren’s backup for the season’s first 11 games. Bogan received the starting nod in the first six games after the injury.
HUERTAS TAKES GAME TO A NEW LEVEL
David Huertas has been a scoring machine for the Rebels this season, averaging 19.3 points, good for fourth among SEC players and 40th 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. His 17.9 ppg in SEC play ranks sixth among league players. He ranks second in the SEC overall in 3’s per game (2.8) and 3-point percentage (37.4). 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 2/12)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 4th/40th 19.3/game
Rebounding 28th 4.8/game
FG Percentage 14th 42.8
FT Percentage 2nd 80.6
3-pt FG Percentage 2nd 37.4
3-pt FGs Made 2nd 2.8/game
Minutes Played 6th 32.3/game
HUERTAS LANDS ON SEASON TREY CHART, AGAIN
For the second time in his two seasons at Ole Miss, David Huertas has shot his way onto the school’s all-time single season chart for most 3-pointers made. With his 65 trifectas this season, he has vaulted into a tie for eighth on the list and sits just two treys behind Aaron Harper’s 2004 season total of 67. Huertas’ 75 3’s last season currently ranks sixth.
OLE MISS SEASON 3-POINT FIELD GOALS
1. 103 Chris Warren (35 games, 2008)
2. 96 Clarence Sanders (34 games, 2007)
3. 83 Aaron Harper (31 games, 2002)
4. 79 Joe Harvell (28 games, 1992)
5. 77 Keith Carter (33 games, 1999)
6. 75 David Huertas (35 games, 2008)
7. 67 Aaron Harper (28 games, 2004)
8. 65 David Huertas (23 games, 2009)
65 Aaron Harper (29 games, 2003)
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 65 treys this year, Huertas has moved all the way up to sixth place on the all-time list with 140. Warren nailed 25 from downtown prior to his season-ending injury this year and now sits in eighth with 128.
OLE MISS CAREER 3-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. 140 David Huertas (58 games, 2008-present)
7. 131 Joezon Darby (81 games, 1996-98)
8. 128 Chris Warren (46 games, 2008-present)
TERRICO TURNS IT UP A NOTCH
Freshman guard Terrico White has turned up his scoring output since league play began. His 16.4 scoring average in league games ranks ninth among all SEC players and tops among league freshmen. He also ranks 14th in assists (2.8), 13th in field-goal percentage (45.5), third in 3’s per game (2.7) and fourth in 3-pt FG percentage (36.9). The superb athlete known for highlight-reel dunks has also drained 3+ field goals from downtown in seven of the last eight contests. He has led the Rebels in scoring in each of the last four games, including a career-high 23 at Vanderbilt. He had 19 points and a career-high 8 rebounds in the win over Auburn. He had 18 points (12 in 2nd half) to lead the Rebels to victory at Mississippi State. 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 then-career highs with 18 points against Arkansas and 22 vs. LSU.
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 weekend, White ranks fourth among league freshmen in scoring at 11.2 ppg, while Holloway is 12th at 8.0 ppg.
White is making the fourth-most 3-pointers among freshmen with 1.6 per game and handing out the seventh-most assists with 2.1 per game.
Holloway, the team’s top rebounder, ranks fourth among league freshmen and 18th among all players with 5.9 rpg. He tops all SEC freshmen with a 55.5 FG percentage and is fourth with 1.2 steals 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 season averages have gone from 3.0 ppg and 4.1 rpg to currently 6.6 ppg and 5.0 rpg. He has scored double figures in four of the last five games, while his shot blocking has been a constant all year as he ranks 10th in the SEC with 1.2 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 was the first Rebel to receive a weekly honor from the league office this season.
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-20 3-pt FGs on the season).
Zach Graham: Playing with a partially torn patella tendon in his right knee ... Has hit 42-of-48 free throws (87.5 pct.) through 23 games ... Fourth straight double-digit scoring game with 11 points vs. Auburn (3-of-4 from downtown) ... 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 79.5 percent clip (31-of-39) ... Set a season high with 10 points in start against Auburn, adding 5 rebounds and 3 assists ... Had 9 points at New Mexico, also blocked 3 shots ... Scored 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.