GAME NOTES: Rebels Trek To NYC For NIT Final Four
NIT SEMIFINALS: #2 seed Ole Miss (24-10) vs. #3 seed Dayton (23-12)
OLE MISS MAKES SECOND TRIP TO NIT FINAL FOUR
For the second time in the last three seasons, Ole Miss has advanced to the NIT semifinals in New York City. The No. 2 seeded Rebels square off with the No. 3 seeded Dayton Flyers in the first semifinal match. The winner advances to the championship game against the winner between North Carolina and Rhode Island. Winners of seven of their last eight outings, the Rebels have even further heated up in NIT play. They are averaging 88.0 ppg in three NIT outings, the highest average of any team in the tournament. Ole Miss is looking for its first ever NIT championship. The team lost to eventual champion Ohio State in the 2008 semis.
Fans can purchase tickets through the Madison Square Garden box office via Ticketmaster (866-858-0008 or ticketmaster.com). Those prices range from $10 to $60. For additional information on Madison Square Garden, visit thegarden.com.
The Ole Miss Alumni Association is hosting a pre-game pep rally Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. at Legends at 6 West 33rd Street, which is 1.5 blocks east of Madison Square Garden. The event will be held again Thursday should the Rebels advance to the championship game.
- The Rebels are 13-8 all-time in 9 NIT appearances.
- Andy Kennedy is the second head coach in school history to guide the team to at least three postseason berths in his first four seasons.
- Ole Miss is 7-2 in NIT games under Kennedy's watch.
- Ole Miss and Dayton have met just once before, with the Flyers claiming a 72-70 home win in December 1980.
- The Rebels' 24 wins this season matches the second-highest total in school history.
- Kennedy has led Ole Miss to 20+ wins for the third time in his first four seasons. He is the second Rebel coach ever to reach the 20-win mark three times.
- Junior All-SEC guard Chris Warren has set school records with 108 3s this season (broke his own record of 103 set in 2007-08) and 44 straight games with a 3, which is the third-longest streak in SEC history.
SCOUTING THE FLYERS
Dayton arrives in New York with a 23-12 overall record and wins in four of its last five outings. The Flyers have defeated Illinois State (63-42) and won road games at Cincinnati (81-66) and Illinois (77-71) to advance to the NIT semifinals. Brian Gregory's team finished 8-8 in the Atlantic 10, seventh place in the league standings. Dayton is making its 22nd NIT appearance, which is second-most among all schools (St. John's has made 28). All-A-10 forward Chris Wright leads UD with 13.8 ppg and 7.1 rpg, while also topping the squad with 49 blocks. Chris Johnson is the only other Flyer that averages double figures with 11.5 ppg. A balanced attack helps the team average 70.1 ppg and limit foes to just 62.1 ppg. Eleven players average 8 or more minutes per game, as Gregory employs a fast-paced system with frequent substitutions.
OLE MISS-DAYTON SERIES
The two teams have met only once before, with Dayton claiming a 72-70 home win in an early-season tournament on December 20, 1980.
OLE MISS VERSUS ATLANTIC 10 FOES
Ole Miss owns an 8-7 all-time record against current members of the Atlantic 10, which includes a 2-1 mark against Charlotte, 0-1 vs. Dayton, 1-0 vs. Fordham, 1-0 vs. La Salle, 1-2 vs. Saint Louis, 2-0 vs. St. Joseph's and 1-3 vs. Temple. The Rebels' last game against an A-10 foe was an 84-77 win over La Salle in the 2007 San Juan Shootout in Puerto Rico.
OLE MISS VERSUS REST OF FINAL FOUR FIELD
Ole Miss is 1-1 against North Carolina in a pair of Southern Conference Tournament meetings (won 34-32 in 1923, lost 38-23 in 1926). The Rebels have never faced Rhode Island.
OLE MISS IN THE NIT
The Rebels are making their ninth overall NIT appearance and third in the last four seasons. Ole Miss has a 13-8 record in all NIT games after the quarterfinal win over Texas Tech. The Rebels are looking for their first NIT championship game appearance as they return to the semifinals for the second time in the last three years after they made their first-ever New York City berth in 2008. Ole Miss is 7-2 in NIT games under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels are 3-0 this year and went 3-1 in 2008 and 1-1 in 2007.
A victory Tuesday would advance the Rebels to Thursday's NIT championship game (7 p.m. ET, ESPN) against the winner between No. 2 seed Rhode Island and No. 4 seed North Carolina. Ole Miss would be the home team for that game by either being the higher seed (vs. North Carolina) or higher alphabetically (vs. Rhode Island).
NIT HOT STREAK
Ole Miss has been one of the hottest teams in this year's NIT, averaging 88.0 ppg (highest average among any team in the tournament) and only 9.0 turnovers per game.
DOUBLE-OT THRILLER PROPELS OLE MISS TO BIG APPLE
Murphy Holloway converted a three-point play with a layup and free throw with 3 seconds left to give Ole Miss a 90-87 double-OT win over Texas Tech in Tuesday's quarterfinal game. Both teams hit clutch shots in regulation and both extra periods in the only overtime game of this year's NIT so far. Ole Miss trailed by 10 at 67-57 with 2:29 left in regulation, but stormed back to even it at 68 apiece on Terrico White's short jumper with 27 seconds left in regulation. Chris Warren led four Rebels in double figures with 22 points. Holloway had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and White also added 17 points. Ole Miss tied its school record for an NIT game with 90 points for the second straight game, while Reginald Buckner set a school record for an NIT game with four blocks.
REBELS CLICK ON ALL CYLINDERS VS. MEMPHIS
Ole Miss used an explosive offense to survive and advance against Memphis in a 90-81 second-round win. The Rebels broke the school record for points in an NIT game, which had stood since 1983 (87 vs. Alabama State). The team made 50 percent of its FGs (28-of-56), 26-of-37 FTs and 8-of-18 3s.
FINE SHOWING IN FIRST ROUND WIN
Ole Miss cruised to an 84-65 win over Troy in the first round of the NIT behind Terrico White's 27 points and an impressive all-around effort. The Rebels eclipsed 80 points for the 14th time this year and out-rebounded the Trojans by 15 (47 to 32). Ole Miss dished out 18 assists while committing only seven turnovers.
THREE POSTSEASON BERTHS IN FOUR YEARS
Ole Miss is making its third NIT appearance in the last four seasons (2007, 2008, 2010). Andy Kennedy is the second head coach in school history to guide the Rebels to at least three postseason berths in his first four seasons.
IMPRESSIVE WIN TOTAL
Ole Miss' 24-win total is tied with the 2007-08 squad for second-most in school history. Only one other Rebel squad has ever recorded more victories.
Most Wins In School History
1. 27 2000-01 (27-8)
2. 24 2009-10 (24-10)
24 2007-08 (24-11)
KENNEDY LEADS OLE MISS TO 20 WINS, AGAIN
Andy Kennedy has led the Rebels to a 24-10 record, becoming just the second coach in school history with three 20-win campaigns (Rod Barnes) and doing so in his first four seasons at the helm. He is the ninth coach in SEC history to record 20+ wins in three of his first four campaigns. The Rebels claimed 21 wins in his first year and 24 in the next before last year's injury-riddled 16-15 campaign. Kennedy now boasts three of the 10 20-win seasons in program history.
SEC WEST CHAMPS
Ole Miss claimed its fifth SEC Western Division title by finishing with a 9-7 league record this season, tied atop the division with Mississippi State. The Rebels also won the West crown in 2007 (Kennedy's first season), 2001 and back-to-back years in 1997 and 1998.
KENNEDY'S STAFF NEARS 4-YEAR RECORD
Andy Kennedy and his staff have directed Ole Miss to an 85-49 record in four seasons, needing just one more victory to tie the school record for wins by an Ole Miss staff in a four-year span. Rod Barnes went 86-46 from the 1998-99 season to the 2001-02 campaign.
Ole Miss boasts a 53-12 record (.815 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07. This year's team is 15-2 overall against non-league foes, with the only losses coming to a pair of top-10 teams away from home - Villanova and West Virginia.
BUCKNER SETS SCHOOL BLOCKS RECORD
With four blocks vs. Texas Tech, freshman forward Reginald Buckner set the school record with 60 blocks this season, breaking David Dean's mark of 56 that had stood since 1992-93.
WARREN MOVING UP IN 1,000-POINT CLUB
With 14 points against UCF, junior point guard Chris Warren became the 31st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Warren enters the NIT semifinals with 1,357 career points, 15th-most in school history. He reached 1,000 points in his 60th career game, tied for the fifth-fastest pace in school history with all-time leading scorer John Stroud.
WARREN BREAKS HIS OWN SCHOOL RECORD
With 108 3-pointers this season, All-SEC junior guard Chris Warren has broken his own school record for 3s in a season that he set as a freshman in 2007-08 (103). His total of 108 is tied for ninth-most in SEC history. He is the only Rebel to ever eclipse the century mark in triples and has now done that twice in his career.
ANOTHER SCHOOL RECORD BROKEN BY WARREN
With another four 3s in the NIT game vs. Texas Tech, junior guard Chris Warren extended his school record to 44 consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal. Warren's streak is the 3rd-longest in SEC history. Listed below are the top such streaks in the school and conference record books:
TERRICO SHINES IN NIT
In the first three rounds of the NIT, sophomore guard Terrico White has shown the skill and prowess that made him last year's SEC Freshman of the Year and a preseason All-SEC first-team pick. White is averaging a team-high 21.7 points to go with 4.7 rebounds in the NIT, including team highs of 27 points vs. Troy and 21 against his hometown school, Memphis. His shooting percentages for the NIT include 46.2 percent FGs (24-52), 40.0 percent from 3 (6-15) and 73.3 percent FTs (11-15).
HOLLOWAY ON A TEAR
Sophomore forward Murphy Holloway has posted some big numbers in recent outings. In the last 10 games, he is averaging 11.3 ppg and 9.7 rpg and adding 11 blocks and 17 steals. The South Carolina native notched his seventh double-double of the season with 15 points and a career-high 20 rebounds against Auburn. His 20 boards are the most by a Rebel since 1975 and the most by an SEC player this season. Since then, he led the Rebels with 16 points and 7 rebounds at Alabama, posted 12 points and 9 boards vs. LSU, had 11 rebounds and career highs of 3 blocks and 6 steals at Arkansas, dropped in 11 points with 6 boards vs. Troy in the first-round NIT game and 11 points and 8 boards in the second round vs. Memphis. He scored the winning basket in double OT against Texas Tech, providing 17 points and 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double of the season.
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