Rebels Face Wildcats In SEC Tourney Quarterfinals

March 11, 2011

Complete Ole Miss Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

SEC TOURNAMENT QUARTERFINALS: W3 Ole Miss (20-12, 7-9 SEC) vs. E2 Kentucky (22-8, 10-6 SEC)
Friday 3.11.11 | 3:30 p.m. ET
Atlanta, Ga. | Georgia Dome (26,000)

Live TV: SEC Network (Brad Nessler, play-by-play; Jimmy Dykes, analyst; Shannon Spake, reporter)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 220, XM 199
Live Video:

Ole Miss will continue its quest for a league tourney title on Friday as the West No. 3 seeded Rebels take on the East No. 2 seed Kentucky. Ole Miss beat South Carolina 66-55 in Thursday’s first-round game to claim its 20th win of the season and its first SEC Tournament victory since 2007. The Rebels will be looking for their first win against the Wildcats in SEC Tournament play (0-14). The winner of Friday’s game will advance to play in the semifinals on Saturday (1 p.m. ET, ABC) against the winner between E4 Georgia and W1 Alabama. Chris Warren hit a game-winning 3-pointer and Ole Miss upset the 10th-ranked Wildcats 71-69 in their first meeting this year in Oxford.

- Ole Miss has a 24-47 record in 49 appearances all-time at the SEC Tournament, which includes one tourney championship, in 1981.
- Kentucky leads the all-time series 97-13 and has a perfect 14-0 record vs. UM in the SEC tourney.
- Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks 18th in the nation with a 75.9 FT percentage, which is on pace to set the school record.
- With 105 wins, Andy Kennedy has the most victories by an Ole Miss coach in a five-year span.
- Kennedy is the first coach in school history to lead Ole Miss to four 20-win seasons.
- Chris Warren is the first Rebel to get All-SEC first team since Justin Reed in 2004, while Reginald Buckner was chosen to the SEC All-Defensive team.
- Warren leads the nation in free throw percentage (93.0) and is on pace to set the school and SEC records for a season.
- Warren ranks 5th in SEC history with a school-record 325 career 3-pointers and is the SEC’s active leader in career points, assists, 3s and 20-pt games.

After Thursday’s 66-55 win over South Carolina, the Rebels have an overall record of 24-47 in 49 SEC Tournament appearances and are 10-19 in tournament action since the league went to the two-division format in the 1991-92 season. The Rebels have reached four SEC championship contests and have a 1-3 record in those games. Ole Miss took home the tournament title in 1981, defeating Georgia in the championship game. Last season, the team lost to Tennessee 76-65 in the quarterfinals in Nashville.

The SEC Tournament returns to Atlanta for the first time since 2008 and the ninth time in the last 14 years. It is being held in the Georgia capital for the 12th time ever, including the first SEC tourney in 1933. After Thursday’s win over South Carolina, Ole Miss now has a 5-11 record in the tournaments that have taken place in Atlanta. The Rebels have advanced to the semifinals twice in the Georgia Dome, most recently in 2007. Their other semifinal appearance was in 1998.

The winner between East No. 2 seed Kentucky and West No. 3 seed Ole Miss will advance to Saturday’s quarterfinals to face the winner of the W1 Alabama-E4 Georgia matchup. That semifinal game will tip off at 1:00 p.m. ET on Saturday and be televised by ABC.

No. 15/16 Kentucky finished the regular season 22-8 overall and 10-6 in SEC games to earn a first-round bye in the SEC Tournament as the East No. 2 seed. The Wildcats closed the season with wins in five of their last six games. John Calipari’s team went 15-0 at home this year but is just 7-8 away from Rupp Arena (4-7 road, 3-1 neutral). The team averages 76.8 ppg and allows 64.3 ppg. UK is impressive statistically in 3-point FG percentage (39.9), turnover margin (+1.5) and assist-turnover ratio (1.2). Three freshmen pace the team in scoring, led by Brandon Knight’s 17.7 ppg. SEC Freshman of the Year Terrence Jones adds 17.1 ppg and Doron Lamb chips in 13.0 ppg. Junior Darius Miller adds 11.1 ppg. Jones leads the league in rebounding with 9.2 rpg, while Josh Harrellson ranks 2nd with 8.8 rpg.

Friday’s game will be the 111th meeting between the two schools. The Wildcats hold a 97-13 lead in the series, but the Rebels have two wins in their last four matchups. On Feb. 1 of this year, Chris Warren scored 22 points and nailed a 25-footer with 2.9 seconds left as Ole Miss upset 10th-ranked Kentucky 71-69. Ole Miss has never beaten UK in the SEC Tournament, losing all 14 tries. The last time the two squads met in the tourney resulted in a 71-58 Kentucky win (2009 first round in Tampa).

This is the third game Ole Miss has played against a ranked team and the second time against Kentucky (who is 15th in the AP poll and 16th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll). The Rebels are 1-1 in those games this year (win over UK, loss to Georgia). Ole Miss is 5-14 against top-25 opponents under head coach Andy Kennedy.

Ole Miss sophomore guard Donald Williams will face a familiar foe on Friday. Williams redshirted as a member of Billy Gillispie’s Kentucky squad in 2008-09. After the UK coaching change, Williams transferred to Antelope Valley Community College before ending up at Ole Miss.

Two Rebels have returned to their home state for this year’s SEC Tournament. Ole Miss senior guard Zach Graham (Suwanee) and junior guard Trevor Gaskins (Alpharetta) both hail from the Atlanta area. Transfer Jelan Kendrick, who has to sit out this year per NCAA transfer rules, is also an Atlanta native.

With a 20-12 overall record, Ole Miss has reached the 20-win plateau for the fourth time in five seasons under Andy Kennedy. The program had reached 20 wins a total of seven times prior to Kennedy’s arrival. Kennedy is the first UM coach to register four 20-win campaigns.

Andy Kennedy and his staff are 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.

With 105 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 (now 105), trailing only B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 years) and Rod Barnes (141 wins in 8 years) on the school’s career coaching victories chart. Kennedy’s .629 winning percentage (105-62) is significantly better than Graham’s (.462) or Barnes’ (.564).

The Rebels entered the SEC Tournament leading the SEC and ranked 19th in the nation with a 75.9 FT percentage, which is on pace to break the school record (75.2 in 1970-71). They have shot 80 percent or better in 12 games this season, including 92.9 (13-of-14) at Arkansas, 87.5 (14-of-16) at Vanderbilt, 84.6 (22-of-26) against Tennessee, 84.4 (27-of-32) vs. Auburn and 83.3 (20-of-24) at Auburn. 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.

Led by some very athletic big men, Ole Miss entered the league tourney ranked 15th in the nation in blocked shots per game. The Rebels average 5.5 swats per contest. They have blocked eight or more shots eight times this year. They set a school record for blocks in an SEC game with 12 at Arkansas and then posted 11 in the second meeting with the Razorbacks. They also had eight at LSU and at Alabama. Sophomore Reginald Buckner entered the tournament ranked ninth in the NCAA and second in the SEC with 3.0 bpg, while junior Terrance Henry adds 1.1 bpg.

Chris Warren nailed a 25-footer with 2.9 seconds left and Ole Miss upset No. 10 Kentucky 71-69 on Feb. 1. 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, a season-high for UK at the time. 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.

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 with an 18.9 scoring average - the highest by a Rebel since Joe Harvell averaged 25.0 in 1991-92. He is first in FT percentage (93.0), fifth in assists (3.8), fourth in 3-pointers made (2.7), third in assist-turnover ratio (1.9) and fourth in minutes (34.6). In league games only, he finished second in scoring (19.3), first in FT percentage (92.8), second in 3-pointers made (3.0), fifth in assist-turnover ratio (1.8) and ninth in assists (3.4). Overall, he has scored 20+ points in 15 games (2nd-most among SEC players) and has led the Rebels in scoring 23 times and in assists 23 times.

Senior point guard Chris Warren leads the nation with a 93.0 free throw percentage (160-of-172). At this pace, he will set the school and SEC record for FT percentage in a season and rank among the all-time best seasons in NCAA history. The current school record is 90.1 by David Rhodes (1971-72) and the SEC record of 91.2 is shared by three players - Kentucky’s Kyle Macy (1979-80), Tennessee’s Scooter McFadgon (2003-04) and Kentucky’s Travis Ford (1993-94). Remarkably, Warren also leads all SEC players in total number of free throws made.

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. Entering Friday’s game vs. UK, Warren needs 22 points to reach 2,000.

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 Friday’s game vs. UK with 325 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 4th in league history with 871 career 3-pt 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. 325 Chris Warren, Ole Miss (2008-pres.)

With a spectacular senior seson, Chris Warren has vaulted into third place on the all-time Ole Miss scoring chart with 1,978 career points - 22 shy of the 2,000 mark. Next on the list is second-place Joe Harvell, who scored 2,078 points from 1990-93 and ranks 18th in SEC history. Warren entered this season ranked 15th on the Rebels’ scoring chart.

With 20 points vs. South Carolina, Chris Warren posted his 15th 20-point game this season, second-most among SEC players. His 41 career 20-point games leads all active SEC players. He also leads all active league players in career points, assists and 3-pointers.

Chris Warren has moved into the top three in the school record books in both assists and free throws made. He enters Friday’s game vs. UK with 447 career assists, nine shy of tying Rod Barnes (456) for second place. Warren has made 411 free throws and moved into second place with a 3-for-4 performance vs. South Carolina.

Chris Warren has scored more than 500 points and dished out more than 100 assists this season. He also reached those totals in both of his other two full seasons (2007-08 and 2009-10). Only three other players in school history have ever reached those totals for a single season: Gerald Glass in 1989-90, Rod Barnes in 1987-88 and Dave Shepherd in 1974-75.

Senior guard Zach Graham has been a mainstay in the Rebels’ lineup since stepping foot on the Ole Miss campus. When Graham touched the floor in the first game of the SEC Tournament, he established a school record with his 133rd career game played. The previous record was 132, held by Jason Harrison (1999-2002).

Zach Graham became the 22nd player in school history to reach the 1,200-point plateau when he scored 17 points vs. Alabama. He enters Friday’s game vs. UK in 19th place with 1,246 career points and is 14 points shy of passing B.L. “Country” Graham (no relation) for 18th. 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 14.2 as a senior).

Senior guard Zach Graham has been solid and steady in his final campaign. He boasts a 14.4 scoring average and an 86.7 free-throw percentage. He averages 4.6 rebounds per game. In SEC play, he ranked 15th with 14.7 ppg and 5th with an 86.8 FT percentage. He posted 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. He shattered his previous career high with 30 points against Auburn, the most points by a Rebel this year. He drained 7-of-11 from downtown to finish one shy of the school record for 3s in a game. He posted his second career double-double with 17 points (11-12 FTs) and 10 boards in the win over Alabama. He had 15 points (5-6 3-pt FGs) in the Senior Day win over Arkansas.

Sophomore forward Reginald Buckner tied Ansu Sesay’s school record for blocks in a game with eight at Arkansas. He has also surpassed his own single-season record from last year (64) and has run his season total to 94 so far this year. In just his second year, Buckner already ranks second in school history with 158 blocks in his career. The Memphis native is 22 swats shy of the career record, set by Sean Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner entered the SEC Tournament ranked ninth in the country with 3.1 blocks per game. In league games only, he was second with an average of 3.1. He has recorded five or more swats in nine games this year. Ole Miss is 12-5 when Buckner records at least three blocks in a game and 8-7 when he has less than three or doesn’t play.

Having improved on his offensive presence from a year ago, Reginald Buckner entered the SEC Tournament with a league-best 60.8 field-goal percentage this season. He is averaging 7.2 points per game. Those totals are up from 57.8 percent and 4.1 ppg last year as a freshman.

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. At Alabama, he led the team with nine rebounds and five blocks. He scored 14 points (8-of-8 FTs) against Auburn. He tied for team-high honors with 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds at MSU. He had 13 points and 5 boards at Auburn. He scored 13 points with two blocks vs. Arkansas. He produced his second career double-double with 14 points and 11 boards in the SEC Tournament win over SC. His season averages are up to 9.4 ppg (third on the team) and 5.9 rpg (second on the team).



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