A Look Back At The 2011-12 Ole Miss Hoops Season

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Terrance Henry blocks a UT shot attempt in New Orleans (Joshua McCoy)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM
Terrance Henry blocks a UT shot attempt in New Orleans (Joshua McCoy)
OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM

May 4, 2012

By Joey Jones
Associate Director, Ole Miss Athletics Media Relations

Two yellow digits shone brightly from the black box that sat atop the New Orleans Arena backboards.

9.1.

The number of seconds left before Ole Miss would defeat Tennessee and advance to the SEC Tournament semifinals.

Terrance Henry had just knocked down two free throws to increase the Rebels’ lead to three. As long as they forced the Vols into a tough 3-point attempt, it was a foregone conclusion what would happen.

But someone forgot to tell that to Skylar McBee, the floppy-mopped, orange-clad sharpshooter.

After Ole Miss called a timeout to set up its defense, Tennessee point guard Trae Golden dribbled and weaved his way all the way to UT’s 3-point line, where he handed the ball back to McBee, who quickly let go an off-balance jumper from three feet behind the arc. Off the backboard. Swish.

With heads already starting to hang, Ole Miss retrieved the ball. Nick Williams heaved a desperation halfcourt attempt that was no good.

Tennessee players leaped, yelled and hugged. Every orange fan in the building screamed and offered high fives to anyone within reach.

The Rebels in blue were stunned. How could this have happened? It wasn’t even a good look for McBee.

“When McBee hit that shot, I was like ‘Are you kidding me?” Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy told reporters after the game.

“I couldn’t believe he banked in the 3,” Henry told reporters. “Two months ago, we might have laid down right then.”

Tempted to give in to the swelling tide of Volunteer momentum, the Rebels picked up their heads and proved – like they had throughout the 2011-12 season – that just when you thought they were dead, they found the strength to overcome.

In overtime, Ole Miss was the poised side. The team in blue knocked down their jump shots and played a scrappy, frenetic style of defense, forcing multiple Tennessee turnovers. They fought harder, jumped higher for rebounds.

In the end, it was indeed the Rebels that prevailed by a final score of 77-72. And in this moment, a microcosm of the team’s season presented itself: Nothing was easy, no victory taken for granted. All 20 of the team’s wins were earned with grit, effort and sheer will.

“We weren’t going to lose this one,” Henry said. “In the end, I think we just wanted it more.”

It may not have been the most spectacular season in terms of points scored. And the Rebels missed the NCAA Tournament by a hair, again. But the effort with which Kennedy’s bunch fought night in and night out was the hallmark of his sixth Rebel team. They played in a way that made Ole Miss fans proud.

So here are some notes and tidbits to wrap up a season that was yet another successful one in this modern era of Ole Miss Hoops.

FIVE POSTSEASON BERTHS IN SIX YEARS

With a selection to the 2012 NIT, Ole Miss earned its fifth postseason berth in six seasons. Andy Kennedy is the first coach in school history to lead the Rebels to five postseason appearances. Ole Miss also made NIT appearances in 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011, reaching the Final Four in New York in 2008 and 2010.

REBELS REACH 20 WINS ... AGAIN

The Rebels reached 20 wins for the fifth time in the last six seasons under Andy Kennedy. Ole Miss had seven 20-win campaigns in the 96 seasons prior to Kennedy’s arrival in Oxford. He is just the sixth coach in SEC history to guide his teams to 20+ wins in five of his first six seasons. The others: Joe. B. Hall (Kentucky), Don DeVoe (Tennessee), Rick Pitino (Kentucky), Tubby Smith (Kentucky) and Bruce Pearl (Tennessee).

REBELS IN THE SEMIFINALS

Ole Miss advanced to the SEC Tournament semifinals for the 10th time in its history and the first time since 2007, Andy Kennedy’s first year at the helm. After the Rebels’ loss to eventual tournament champion Vanderbilt in the 2012 semis, they now own an all-time record of 4-6 in semifinal games.

KENNEDY’S FIRST SIX YEARS RANKS AMONG ALL-TIME SEC GREATS

With his 125th win at Ole Miss (vs. Tennessee), Andy Kennedy passed future Hall of Famer Billy Donovan for the sixth-most wins by an SEC head coach in his first six years in the league.

1. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) - 150
2. Bruce Pearl (Tennessee) - 145
3. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) - 135
4. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) - 127
5. Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) - 126
6. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) - 125

HENRY, HOLLOWAY BUCKNER EARN SEC POSTSEASON HONORS

Senior F Terrance Henry was voted to the All-SEC second team by the league coaches, junior F Murphy Holloway was tabbed All-SEC honorable mention by the AP, and junior F Reginald Buckner was chosen to the SEC All-Defensive team by the league coaches. Henry, who averaged 13.0 ppg in conference play, received the first All-SEC accolade of his career. Buckner made the SEC All-Defensive team for the second straight year and is the only Rebel to make the team since its inception in 2008.

LOCKING DOWN ON “D”

Ole Miss established itself as one of the better defensive teams in the country in 2011-12. The Rebels ranked third in the SEC and 37th in the NCAA in field goal percentage defense at .405. Ole Miss went 15-3 when its opponent shot below 40 percent from the field. Ten different times the Rebels held their opponent below 60 points, including four times under 50 and a pair of games under 40.

HENRY REACHES 1,000 POINTS, ELITE CLUB AT OLE MISS

Against LSU, senior F Terrance Henry eclipsed 1,000 career points to become the 33rd member of the 1,000-point club at Ole Miss. He finished with 1,095 points to rank 28th in school history, while also ranking fifth all-time with 113 career blocked shots.

THE HOLLOWAY FACTOR

The court presence of junior F Murphy Holloway had a measurable impact on the Rebels in 2011-12. The second team All-SEC selection (Blue Ribbon) and All-SEC honorable mention pick (AP) was sorely missed after he sprained his ankle in the second half against Middle Tennessee (Dec. 21). The Rebels went on to drop that contest and two of the next three without him. He returned against Arkansas to score 19 points, grab 14 rebounds and effectively energize his teammates in leading the Rebels to victory. He shined brightly in New Orleans, including a 13-point, 13-rebound effort in the first-round SEC Tournament win over Auburn and 14 points and 10 boards in the second-round win over Tennessee. Ole Miss was 19-11 when Holloway played the whole game.

HOLLOWAY IS MASTER OF THE GLASS

In just his third season at Ole Miss, junior F Murphy Holloway broke into the school’s top 10 for career rebounds. He finished the year with 743 boards, which is ninth-most in school history. He also ranks eighth all-time with 25 double-doubles. Holloway averaged 9.0 boards per game. Since 1980, only one other Rebel had averaged 9.0 for a whole season (Dwayne Curtis - 9.6 in 2007-08).

BUCKNER MOVES UP IN SEC CAREER BLOCKS LIST

With four blocks at Southern Miss, junior F Reginald Buckner became the Rebels’ all-time career leader in blocked shots. In just 96 games, the Memphis native has now accumulated 228 blocks, which is 16th-most in SEC history. He now holds the school record for blocks in a career, season and game. He blocked at least one shot in 30 of 32 games in 2011-12 and 83 of 96 games over his three-year career. His total of 69 blocks is the Ole Miss record by a junior and is the second-most in a season in school history. His sophomore season total of 95 is the school record.

IN THE “NICK” OF TIME

Junior G Nick Williams stepped up his game in SEC play and ranked 20th among league players with 11.8 ppg in conference games. The Mobile, Ala., native tallied double figures in 12 of the last 19 games, including a career-high 22-point outburst in the SEC Tournament first-round win over Auburn.

Ole Miss Gear
    Facebook
    Twitter
    Blog
    • Building Depth and Staying Healthy

      Friday, August 1, 2014 - Football

      The immediate goals for fall practice, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said, are developing more depth, particularly at key positions, and staying healthy. "Staying healthy is a quandary in my mind because you need to be fast and physical... read more

    • Hugh Freeze Media Day Press Conference

      Friday, August 1, 2014 - Football

      Transcript of Hugh Freeze and Bo Wallace's Ole Miss Media Day press conferences... read more

    • Ross Bjork Media Day Press Conference

      Friday, August 1, 2014 - Football

      Athletics Director Ross Bjork announces the renaming of Coliseum Drive as Chucky Mullins Drive, in recognition of the spirit and life of Chucky Mullins. Bjork also announces "It's Time," a celebration of Chucky Mullins around the Sept. 26-27 weekend... read more

    • ESPN's Top 100 Players, Top 25 SEC Players

      Friday, August 1, 2014 - Football

      ESPN.com unveiled their rankings of the top 100 players in college football for the 2014 season. The players are also rated on a scale of 0-10 based on their expected contributions. The SEC leads all conferences with 30 players, and... read more

    • Previewing Ole Miss Football Media Day

      Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss football players will report to campus on Friday for the start of 2014 fall camp.  Friday will also feature Media Day activities beginning with head coach Hugh Freeze's press conference at 2 p.m, which will be streamed live... read more

    • Bjork, Kennedy, Insell at Arena Groundbreaking

      Thursday, July 31, 2014 - Athletics Foundation

        ... read more

    • New Hitting Coach Mike Clement Q-And-A

      Thursday, July 24, 2014 - Baseball

      On the transition as new hitting coach: The transition has been really good. The coaching staff has made it a lot easier on me than what it could be. It's definitely been a whirlwind. On what he knew about Ole... read more

    • Hugh Freeze's Day At ESPN Car Wash

      Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - Football

      Here are more of Coach Freeze's interviews in Bristol. Scroll down to the earlier post to hear him on Ivan Maisel's podcast. Watch: Freeze on CFB Live Watch: Freeze on the Paul Finebaum Show Listen: Freeze on the Freddie Coleman... read more

    • Freeze Visits ESPN Headquarters Monday

      Sunday, July 20, 2014 - Football

      All 14 Southeastern Conference football coaches will travel to ESPN's annual mid-summer football coaches "car wash" - in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day - at ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters on Monday and Tuesday. Ole... read more

    • What They're Saying: Ole Miss At SEC Media Days

      Friday, July 18, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss took its turn at the annual SEC Media Days on Thursday. Joining head coach Hugh Freeze was senior quarterback Bo Wallace, junior defensive end C.J. Johnson and senior safety Cody Prewitt. Here are a few related SEC Media... read more

    • Rebels Raise Expectations Entering Year Three

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze said on day one that his expectations were to make the program relevant in the Southeastern Conference Western Division. With a full allotment of 85 scholarship players and more depth of both sides of... read more

    • Healthy, Confident Wallace Eyes Atlanta

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Once overshadowed, Wallace now finds himself more firmly in the spotlight after the departure of seven of the league's eight top passers. The dean of SEC quarterbacks, Wallace is the league's leading returner in total offense, passing yards and passing... read more

    • Freeze Meets With Local Media At Media Days

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Before taking his turn at the podium in the main room at SEC Media Days on Thursday, head coach Hugh Freeze met with members of the Ole Miss local media and addressed a wide variety of topics. Here are some... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 3 Of SEC Media Days

      Thursday, July 17, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Three of SEC Media Days, which featured Steve Shaw (SEC), Justin Connolly (ESPN),... read more

    • What They're Saying: Day 2 Of SEC Media Days

      Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - Football

      Ole Miss will take its turn at SEC Media Days on Thursday. Here are a few links to stories of interest for Ole Miss fans from Day Two of SEC Media Days, which featured South Carolina, Mississippi State, Texas A&M... read more