Rebels Head North to Face No. 23 Kentucky
Feb. 27, 2018


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GAME 30
Matchup: Ole Miss (12-17, 5-11 SEC) at #23 Kentucky (20-9, 9-7 SEC)
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Lexington, Ky.
Arena: Rupp Arena (23,000)
Television: ESPN2
    Karl Ravech, play-by-play
    Dan Dakich, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
    David Kellum, play-by-play
    Keith Carter, analyst
Series: Kentucky leads 105-13
Last Meeting: Dec. 29, 2016
    Kentucky won 99-76
    Oxford, Miss.

TIPOFF TIDBITS
- Ole Miss and Kentucky are the only two teams in the SEC to have a .500-or-better conference record in each of the last six seasons.
- The Rebels lead the SEC in rebounding in conference games, pulling down 38.2 boards per game.
- Ole Miss also paces the conference with 13.1 offensive rebounds per SEC contest.
- Breein Tyree has led the Rebels in scoring in each of the last three games, averaging 19.0 ppg; Tyree scored a career-high 25 points in the overtime win at Missouri last week.
- Ole Miss faces a ranked opponent for the second straight game after coming off a setback to No. 19 Tennessee.
- Four Rebels are averaging double figures in SEC play (Deandre Burnett-13.6 ppg, Breein Tyree-12.3 ppg, Bruce Stevens-11.4 ppg, Terence Davis-11.4 ppg).
- Ole Miss has six wins versus RPI top 100 teams, including three against the top 50; the Rebels had three wins versus the top 100 all of last season.  
- The Rebels are 11-6 when shooting over 30 percent from beyond the arc.
- Ole Miss is one of seven teams nationwide to have at least 15 different starting lineups this season.
- Guards are accounting for 70.5 percent of the Rebels’ scoring.
- Ole Miss is the only team in the SEC without back-to-back home games at least once during conference play.
- The Rebels posted conference records over .500 in each of the last three seasons, the first time they have done that since 1936-1938.
- Tony Madlock is 1-1 as Ole Miss’ acting head coach; Madlock has 21 years of coaching experience at the Division I level, including four seasons at Ole Miss.
- Andy Kennedy, the winningest coach in program history, stepped down as head coach Feb. 18.
- Ten different players have started games this year for Ole Miss, one of six schools nationally to have done that.
- Senior Marcanvis Hymon ranks 10th in school history with 95 career blocks.
- The Rebels have played in four overtime games this season, the most since playing in five during the 2011-12 season.

QUALITY WINS
So far this season, Ole Miss has earned six victories over RPI top 100 teams, including three over opponents ranked in the top 50 (Louisiana-37, Alabama-41, Missouri-44). Moreover, all six top 100 victories are actually in the top 75. Comparing to last year’s run to the NIT Quarterfinals, Ole Miss had only three top 100 wins. In terms of RPI, the Rebels’ worst loss this season is No. 85 Illinois State.  

SCOUTING KENTUCKY
No. 23 Kentucky enters Wednesday’s matchup with a 20-9 record, including 9-7 in SEC play. After dropping four straight games, the Wildcats have rebounded to win their last three by double digits and against team receiving votes in the national rankings. UK downed Mizzou 87-66 at home Saturday night. The Wildcats are one of the best teams in the country in defending the three ball, holding opposition to a 29.3 percent clip from beyond the arc. That mark leads the SEC and ranks second nationally. Freshman guard Kevin Knox leads Kentucky in scoring with 15.4 ppg. Fellow classmate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander follows with 12.9 ppg, while leading the team in assists (129) and steals (47). John Calipari is in his ninth season as Kentucky’s head coach. With 672 wins through 26 seasons, Calipari has previously coached Memphis (2001-09), the New Jersey Nets (1997-99) and UMass (1989-96).

SERIES HISTORY
Wednesday’s game will be the 119th meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats hold a 105-13 lead in the series, but two of the Rebels’ 13 all-time wins have come in the last 12 meetings. Ole Miss has two victories in Lexington, including one win all-time at Rupp Arena in 1998. The Rebels’ other win in Lexington came in the schools’ second all-time meeting in 1927. Three years ago, Ole Miss nearly ruined Kentucky’s perfect regular season by taking the Wildcats to overtime in Rupp Arena. Stefan Moody scored 25 points and Jarvis Summers added 23 for the Rebels, but Kentucky prevailed with an 89-86 victory to remain undefeated and keep its perfect season in tact until the Final Four.

LAST TIME WE MET
The Wildcats took down the Rebels in the first ever meeting in The Pavilion between the two teams (Dec. 29, 2016). Sebastian Saiz posted his fourth straight double-double with 23 points and 13 boards, but Ole Miss dropped its SEC opener 99-76 to No. 8 Kentucky. Deandre Burnett scored 19 points, going 7 of 15 from the floor and dishing out six assists, while Rasheed Brooks added 15. Justas Furmanavicius made four of his five field goal attempts to score eight points off the bench. For Kentucky, Isaiah Briscoe recorded a triple-double with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Edrice Adebayo scored 25 points for the Cats.

CRASHING THE BOARDS
The Rebels have rebounded well in SEC play, pulling down a conference-leading 38.2 boards per game. To go along with overall rebounding in conference matchups, Ole Miss has crashed the offensive glass better than any other SEC team. The Rebels haul in 13.1 offensive rebounds per SEC game to top the conference.

COLD OUTSIDE SHOOTING DOOMS COMEBACK VS. TENNESSEE
A poor shooting afternoon doomed Ole Miss in a 73-65 loss to No. 19 Tennessee on Saturday (Feb. 24). After Ole Miss fell in an early 29-9 hole against the Volunteers, the Rebels shaved the lead all the way down to four points early in the second half. Ole Miss opened the second half on an 11-0 run to get right back into the ballgame at 41-37. The Rebels picked up their energy on the defensive end as Tennessee missed eight of its first nine shots to start the second half. Ole Miss created turnovers and got its guards out in transition which led to easy looks at the rim. However, the Rebels could not get any threes to fall, finishing 1 for 23 from beyond the arc. Breein Tyree led the Rebels with 17 points on 7 of 16 shooting. Bruce Stevens had 14, and Terence Davis added 13 points of his own. Following a season-low three points at Missouri, Deandre Burnett returned to double figures with 11 points. The Rebels did a good job of containing Tennessee forward Grant Williams, who had just six points on 3 of 10 shooting. Admiral Schofield picked up the slack and poured in 25 for the Vols.

REBELS SNAP LOSING SKID WITH OVERTIME WIN AT MISSOURI
In the first game with Tony Madlock as acting head coach, Breein Tyree scored a career-high 25 points, including the game-tying bucket with three seconds remaining in regulation, to lead Ole Miss to an exciting 90-87 overtime win at Missouri (Feb. 20). The Rebels used clutch free throw shooting, a fast-paced offense and lockdown defense down the stretch to earn the win. Ole Miss went 15 of 16 (.938) at the line, all in the second half and overtime, while outscoring the Tigers 12-0 in fastbreak points. The Rebels forced 21 turnovers with the help of 13 steals and did not allow Missouri to make a bucket (0 of 8) in overtime. The last time Ole Miss held an opponent without a made field goal in overtime was in an 89-79 win over Vanderbilt (Jan. 15, 2013). Terence Davis added 19 points and a career-high four steals, while Bruce Stevens scored all 13 of his points in the second half to go along with a team-high eight rebounds. Markel Crawford also reached double figures with 11 points.

CLUTCH FREE THROWS IN COLUMBIA
In the overtime win at Missouri last week, Ole Miss was clutch at the charity stripe. After not making it to the free throw line in the first half, the Rebels knocked down 15 of 16 attempts for the remainder of the contest. Moreover, Ole Miss went 7 for 7 within the last three minutes of regulation before sinking all four free throws in overtime. The 93.8 percent clip for the game was the best free throw percentage by the Rebels since they made 22 of 23 (.957) vs. No. 5 Baylor in the Big 12/SEC Challenge last season (Jan. 28, 2017). Coincidentally, the last time Ole Miss made over 90 percent of its free throws came against Missouri last year (Feb. 25, 2017), when the Rebels knocked down 27 of their 29 attempts (.931).

OVERCOMING OVERTIME
Against Missouri last week, the Rebels needed overtime to pull off a thrilling victory over a team in the hunt to make the NCAA Tournament. While it was the fourth OT game of the season for Ole Miss, the most overtime contests in a season since the 2011-12 campaign (5), the Rebels earned their first victory in such games. In non-conference action, Ole Miss suffered heartbreaking overtime losses to South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Virginia Tech (Dec. 2) and Illinois State (Dec. 16) at home. On the complete other end of the spectrum, going on the road and into SEC play, the Rebels were able to go into a hostile environment and earn a win.

THE END OF AN ERA
After 12 years of leading Ole Miss Hoops, Andy Kennedy stepped down as head coach, effective immediately, it was announced Sunday, Feb. 18. In his 12 seasons in Oxford, Kennedy held a 245-156 record as coach of the Rebels. With 11 postseason wins, eight postseason berths, nine 20-win seasons, two NCAA Tournament appearances, two NIT Final Fours, two SEC West titles and an SEC Tournament Championship, the two-time SEC Coach of the Year leaves Ole Miss as the winningest coach in program history. Averaging more than 20 wins per season, Kennedy ranks 18th in SEC history with 245 victories. The Louisville, Mississippi, native had the fifth-most wins in 12 years at one school in the conference. Kennedy was one of five SEC coaches to post at least nine 20-win seasons in his first 11 years in the league, joining the likes of Billy Donovan (Florida), Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) and Tubby Smith (Kentucky). In a win over Mississippi State earlier this season (Jan. 6), he became the 23rd SEC coach to earn 100 victories in conference play. Kennedy turned around the Ole Miss basketball program. He is the only coach in SEC history to post 11 consecutive seasons after taking over a program coming off four straight losing seasons. In his first season, he guided the Rebels to 21 wins and an SEC West Division title on his way to becoming SEC Coach of the Year. Since then, the Rebels are one of only 14 teams nationwide to have 11 straight winning seasons. Ole Miss ranks third in the conference with nine 20-win seasons during those 11 years.

MADLOCK TAKES OVER
Following the exit of Andy Kennedy, Tony Madlock has stepped in as acting head coach for the remainder of the 2017-18 season. Madlock is in his fourth season at Ole Miss and has 21 years of experience coaching at the collegiate level. Prior to arriving in Oxford, the Memphis, Tennessee, native had coaching stops at Auburn (2011-14), UTEP (2007-10) and Arkansas State (1998-2006). He was an assistant coach at Auburn and UTEP, while serving as the assistant head coach at Arkansas State. Madlock served as acting head coach once during his time at UTEP, while then-head coach Tony Barbee attended a funeral. In his first game as acting head coach at Ole Miss, Madlock led the Rebels to a thrilling 90-87 overtime victory at Missouri (Feb. 20).

UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY
Ole Miss is multiple games under .500 for the first time since the conclusion of the 2005-06 season, right before Andy Kennedy arrived in Oxford. The Rebels are five games under .500 in a season for the first time since the conclusion of the 1994-95 campaign.

SECOND HALF SHOOTING
In the second half at Mississippi State (Feb. 17), Ole Miss shot 60.9 percent (14 of 23) from the field. It was the fourth time the Rebels shot over 60 percent in a half, with all of them happening in the final 20 minutes of play. The Rebels posted a .655 field goal percentage (19 of 29), the best in a half this season, versus South Dakota State (Nov. 28). Ole Miss shot 17 of 27 (63.0 percent) in a win over Sam Houston State (Dec. 13) before using a 60.0 percent (15 of 25) second half performance to knock off Florida one month later (Jan. 13).

RELYING ON THE THREE
Ole Miss has relied on the long ball this season, making 7.9 threes per game (eighth in the SEC). The Rebels are 11-6 when they shoot over 30 percent from beyond the arc. When Ole Miss shoots under 30 percent from long distance, its record is 1-11.   

GREEN LIGHT GUARDS
Ole Miss has proven to develop guards over the past 11 seasons as 12 guards have earned All-SEC accolades to rank third among conference teams during that period. This season, the depth at guard shows in terms of scoring. Ole Miss guards have accounted for 70.5 percent of the Rebels’ points. Five of the top six scorers on the team are guards led by Deandre Burnett (14.2 ppg), Terence Davis (13.2 ppg), Breein Tyree (10.5 ppg) and Markel Crawford (9.5 ppg). Freshman Devontae Shuler adds 6.2 ppg (sixth on team).

FINDING THE RIGHT FIVE
With more depth than last year’s squad, Ole Miss has experimented with starting lineups to try to find the best starting five. Through 29 games, the Rebels have sent out 15 different starting lineups. Ole Miss is one of seven teams nationally that has had at least 15 different starting lineups this season. Ten Rebels have started at least one game this season, and only six teams nationwide have had at least 10 different players start at any point of the year.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT DRE
A first team preseason all-conference selection, senior Deandre Burnett is embracing his role as a leader. Burnett is averaging a team-high 14.2 ppg, while also leading the Rebels with 4.0 assists per game (seventh in the SEC). Not only does he pace Ole Miss in assists, but Burnett takes care of the ball by ranking ninth in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (1.9). In the Rebels’ conference wins, he is averaging 17.2 ppg. The Miami Gardens, Florida, native tallied team highs in points (18) and assists (6) in a victorious SEC opener versus South Carolina (Dec. 31). Against Mississippi State (Jan. 6), Burnett scored 13 in the first half to keep Ole Miss in the game before he finished with 21 to help his squad rally to victory. After missing the previous game at Auburn with the flu, Burnett returned to the court and recorded 20 points versus Florida (Jan. 13). He tallied a season-high 24 points to lead the Rebels to a win over Alabama (Jan. 23) before matching that output versus Arkansas last week (Feb. 13). As an 84.9 percent shooter at the line for his career, Burnett is on pace to finish as the fifth-best free throw shooter in Ole Miss history. Last season, his first as a Rebel, Burnett averaged a team-high 16.5 ppg and finished fifth in the SEC in both free throw percentage (.881) and three-point percentage (.376). Finishing eighth in the league in scoring, Burnett reached double figures in 26 of 33 games, including 10 20-plus performances and a career-high 41-point output (Nov. 18, 2016 vs. Oral Roberts). He also shared the rock, providing 104 assists throughout the season (3.2 apg). A transfer from Miami, where he scored 195 points, Burnett went over 1,000 points for his career versus Alabama (Jan. 23). He scored the first five points of the game, all in the first minute, to reach the historic mark. Since then, Burnett has increased his total to 1,136 (941 at Ole Miss).

TD SCORING
After a breakout sophomore season last year, averaging 14.9 points per game after only providing 1.8 points per game as a freshman (largest increase in scoring among any returning player in the conference), Terence Davis has become a go-to scorer for Ole Miss. The Southaven, Mississippi, native has scored in double figures in 34 of the last 44 games dating back to last season. Averaging 13.2 ppg, Davis has already reached the 20-point plateau six times, including versus Missouri (Feb. 6). At Arkansas (Jan. 20), he poured in 30 points on 10 of 15 shooting, scoring at least 30 points for the third time in his career; it is the most points scored by a Rebel this season. Davis recorded 21 in the season opener versus Louisiana (Nov. 10) before putting up 24 in a win over Georgia State one week later (Nov. 17). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Davis scored 20 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. He tallied 25 versus Bradley (Dec. 22). He has also showcased his skills on the defensive end, leading the team in blocks (27) and ranking third in steals (26); he picked up a career-high four steals at Missouri (Feb. 20). As a sophomore last year, Davis ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage (.482) and recorded 20+ points in six different games. He became a playmaker on both sides of the floor, leading the Rebels with 50 steals as well.  

TYREE STEPS UP IN SEC PLAY
Sophomore Breein Tyree enjoys playing SEC opponents. As a freshman last year, he averaged 7.3 ppg throughout the season but increased his scoring output to 9.3 ppg in conference play. This year has been no different. Tyree scored 8.3 ppg in non-conference play before bumping the scoring average to 12.3 ppg (second on team) through the first 16 games of the SEC slate. On the road versus Georgia (Jan. 3), Tyree came off the bench and scored a team-high 17 points with the help of making 3 of 4 from long distance. Versus Mississippi State (Jan. 6), Tyree led the Rebels’ comeback by scoring all 16 of his points in the second half. Trailing by as many as 11 in the second half, Ole Miss ended the game on a 20-5 run. Tyree scored seven of the team’s final 11 points, including two buckets in the final minute to help the Rebels maintain the lead. At No. 22 Auburn (Jan. 9), Tyree recorded a game-best 24 points, knocked down a career-high four three-pointers and went 6 of 6 at the free throw line. Last week at Missouri, he scored a career-high 25 points and made a key runner in the lane with three seconds to go in regulation, forcing overtime. Tyree has led the Rebels in scoring in each of the last three games, averaging 19.0 ppg.
 
BIG BRUCE’S BREAKOUT
When he’s inserted into the starting lineup, junior college transfer Bruce Stevens puts together his best performances as a Rebel. Coming off the bench in 12 games, Stevens has scored a total of 91 points (7.6 ppg). In 17 starts, he is averaging 12.3 ppg. Last week at Missouri, Stevens scored all 13 of his points in the second half, including sinking all five of his free throws, to help the Rebels earn the road win. He has reached double figures in six of the last seven games. At Texas A&M (Jan. 16), Stevens made a career-high nine field goals on his way to a 20-point output to go along with nine rebounds, another mark that tied his personal best. In the win over Florida (Jan. 13), the Louin, Mississippi, native tallied a team-high 22 points on 8 of 13 shooting. Stevens was unstoppable versus Illinois State (Dec. 16), posting a career-high 27 points that included going 7 of 9 from the floor and 13 of 16 from the free throw line. Stevens has made 57 of his last 71 free throws (80.3 percent) to increase his season percentage to .750.

MARKEL MAKING HIS MARK
As a graduate transfer, Markel Crawford is making his mark in his only season as a Rebel. The Memphis product has started 22 games and leads the team in minutes per game (30.3). He also leads the team in steals (34) and averages 9.5 ppg. In the first contest against Missouri (Feb. 6), the guard has tallied 11 points to go along with career highs in assists (6) without committing a turnover. He also matched his career high with five steals, putting together a five-steal game for the second time this season. Crawford tallied 17 points in three SEC games, including victories over South Carolina (Dec. 31) and Florida (Jan. 13). He added 15 points to help Ole Miss take down Alabama (Jan. 23). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Crawford scored 19 points, his most as a Rebel, on 7 of 11 shooting.  Scoring 761 points at Memphis to go along with 276 points this season, he has 1,037 for his career. Crawford went 4 for 4 at the charity stripe against LSU (Feb. 10) to reach 1,000.

SHULER’S STATEMENT
A 4-star guard out of perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, there was a lot of hype surrounding Devontae Shuler entering the season. The freshman has made an immediate impact by playing in all 29 games, averaging 6.2 ppg in 18.8 minutes per game and swiping 31 steals (second on team). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), he recorded a career-high 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting to go along with a team-high three steals. In his debut, Shuler recorded 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench; the Irmo, South Carolina, native knocked down four shots from beyond the arc versus Louisiana (Nov. 10), and his offensive output was the most points by a freshman in a season opener since Trevor Gaskins recorded 21 versus Mississippi Valley State, exactly 10 years ago (Nov. 10, 2007).

HYMON HELPING FILL SAIZ VOID
Heading into the season, a big question mark for Ole Miss was who would fill the void left by Sebastian Saiz. With the help of a school-record 409 rebounds, Saiz recorded 23 double-doubles a season ago. Senior Marcanvis Hymon has been part of the front court that has replaced Saiz. In his fourth year at Ole Miss, the Memphis, Tennessee, native is the only active player to spend all four seasons in Oxford. Through 29 games, Hymon ranks second in blocks (24) and rebounds (5.2 per game). Through 103 career games, Hymon is moving up the school’s career blocks chart. He ranks 10th with 95 career rejections following a team-high 40 last season. He has led the Rebels in rebounding nine times this season, including a 12-point, 13-rebound performance in the season opener versus Louisiana (Nov. 10). The big opening game marked the third double-double of Hymon’s career.

PROTECTING THE ROCK
Ole Miss has taken care of the basketball this season. The Rebels have coughed up the rock only 331 times, ranking 39th nationally in fewest turnovers surrendered. Averaging only 11.4 turnovers per game, Ole Miss is 42nd in the nation. Also, the Rebels’ 1.3 assist/turnover ratio ranks fourth in the SEC and 60th in the country. Against Missouri (Feb. 6), Ole Miss only turned the ball over four times. It was the fewest turnovers in a game by the Rebels since only making four against George Mason in the Charleston Classic (Nov. 19, 2015).  

FAVORING LARGE MARGINS
Ole Miss has won seven games decided by double digits. When the margin is less than 10, the Rebels are 5-9. Three of those single-digit setbacks occurred in overtime, and the close encounters have hindered a better record. In three of their wins, the Rebels have never had to face a deficit. Ole Miss led throughout in victories over Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 13), Sam Houston State (Dec. 13) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 19).

BLOCK PARTY
Averaging 4.1 blocks per game, Ole Miss ranks 73rd in the country. Five Rebels have recorded at least 15 blocks, led by 27 from junior guard Terence Davis. Senior Marcanvis Hymon, who ranks 10th all-time in program history with 95 career rejections, is close behind with 24 blocks. Senior forward Justas Furmanavicius has 20. Dominik Olejniczak and Bruce Stevens have 16 and 15 blocks, respectively.   

SWIPE RIGHT
Ole Miss has been active with their hands on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 6.3 steals per game to rank eighth in the SEC. Last week, the Rebels recorded 20 steals over two games, including 13 in the win at Missouri (Feb. 20). Through 29 games, four Rebels have recorded at least 20 steals. Markel Crawford leads the way with 34 steals, including seven in a pair of games against Missouri over the past two weeks. Devontae Shuler follows with 31 steals. Terence Davis and Breein Tyree have 26 and 21 steals, respectively, with Davis earning a career-high four steals last week at Missouri. Against Utah in Last Vegas (Nov. 20), the Rebels tallied 14 steals throughout the night, a season high for the Red and Blue.

BENCH POINTS
The Ole Miss bench has played a prominent role in scoring, averaging 24.7 points per game. In five different games, the bench has scored at least 40 points. The season high for bench points occurred against Utah (Nov. 20) in Las Vegas, as the reserves tallied 46 of the team’s 74 points. During a win over Bradley (Dec. 22), the Ole Miss bench accounted for 50 percent of the scoring (41 of 82).

HONOR ROLL REBELS
Four Rebels earned spots on the Ole Miss Honor Roll for the fall semester: D.C. Davis (3.20 GPA), Terence Davis (3.00 GPA), Marcanvis Hymon (3.25 GPA) and Ilya Tyrtyshnik (3.31 GPA).

NEXT ON THE HARDWOOD
Wrapping up the regular season, Ole Miss hosts Vanderbilt on senior night to conclude the 2017-18 regular season. Five Rebel seniors will be recognized before the 7:30 p.m. tipoff. Then, the Rebels head to St. Louis for the SEC Tournament. Ole Miss will face an opponent to be determined in the opening round Wednesday night (March 7).

 

 

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