Men's Hoops Ready to Face Utah in Las Vegas
Nov. 19, 2017

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Matchup: Utah (3-0) vs. Ole Miss (3-0)
Monday, November 20, 2017
Time: 11:30 p.m. CT/9:30 p.m. PT
Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Arena: T-Mobile Arena (18,000)
Television: AT&T SportsNet
    Tony Cordasco, play-by-play
    Marcus Banks, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
    Eli Savoie, play-by-play
    Keith Carter, analyst
Live Audio:
Utah leads 1-0
Last Meeting: Nov. 21, 2008
    Utah won 83-72
    Daytona Beach, Fla.   

- Ole Miss is 3-0 for the eighth time in the last 12 seasons.
- The Rebels went 2-0 in “Undercard” games for the MGM Grand Main Event, which took place in Oxford; Ole Miss defeated Eastern Kentucky and Georgia State.
- Ole Miss is in the 12th season of the Andy Kennedy era; Kennedy, the Dean of the SEC, is the winningest coach in school history with 237 victories.
- Only three games into this season, Kennedy already has the fifth-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first 12 years in the league at one school.
- Terence Davis ranks fourth in the SEC in scoring (20.3 ppg).
- With 76 career blocks, senior Marcanvis Hymon is tied with Murphy Holloway for 11th on the school’s all-time list.
- Hymon celebrated his 22nd birthday on Thursday.
- Guards are accounting for 76.2 percent of the Rebels’ scoring through the first three games.
- The Rebels have rallied back from halftime deficits twice this year.
- Ole Miss is playing in a regular season tournament for the 14th consecutive year.
- The Rebels are playing in Las Vegas for the first time in program history, spanning 108 years.
- Ole Miss is 21-8 in regular season tournaments under Andy Kennedy (does not include SEC Tournament).

Before the Rebels arrived in Las Vegas for the MGM Grand Main Event, they are hosted a pair of “Undercard” games last week. Ole Miss dropped Eastern Kentucky 85-75 Monday night (Nov. 13) in the first Undercard matchup of the event, before knocking out Georgia State at The Pavilion Friday evening (Nov. 17). Both Eastern Kentucky and Georgia State will head to the Sin City and compete in the Middleweight Bracket with Eastern Washington and Prairie View A&M. Meanwhile, the Rebels will compete in the Heavyweight Bracket against Utah (Nov. 20) before facing either Rice or UNLV (Nov. 22).

Despite losing four starters from last year’s team that made the NIT, Utah enters the MGM Grand Main Event with an unbeaten 3-0 mark following victories over Prairie View A&M, Mississippi Valley State and Missouri to start the season. During the three home victories, Utah outscored opponents by an average of 26.3 points. Five Utes average double figures in scoring led by David Collette’s 14.0 ppg. Utah leads the Pac-12 in three-point field goal percentage defense, holding the opposition to shooting 21.2 percent from beyond the arc. Larry Krystkowiak is in his seventh season in guiding the Utes.

For the third straight game, Ole Miss will face a team that it has only played once prior to this season’s matchup. The only other time the Rebels faced the Utes was also at a regular season tournament (Nov. 21, 2008). Chris Warren scored 22 points near his hometown of Orlando, but it was not enough to overcome a powerful Utah team, as Ole Miss suffered its first loss of the season, 83-72, to the Utes in the opening round of the Glenn Wilkes Classic (Daytona Beach, Fla.). The Rebels also got 18 points from David Huertas.

Ole Miss is playing in a regular season tournament (SEC Tournament not included) for the 14th consecutive season. The Rebels have had success in these neutral-site battles under head coach Andy Kennedy, sporting a 21-8 record during his tenure. Ole Miss has traveled all over the Western Hemisphere for these tournaments, including destinations outside the continental U.S. such as Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Last year, the Rebels went down to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam and finished second in the tournament after taking No. 12 Creighton to the wire in the championship game. Las Vegas will mark another off the Rebels’ list as they will play in the Sin City for the first time in the program’s 108-year history.

Already twice in this young season, Ole Miss has faced double-digit deficits in the first half. The Rebels also went into the locker room trailing in those contests. However, Ole Miss fought through the adversity and rallied back with victories thanks to outscoring both teams by double digits in the second half. Down by two against Louisiana in the season opener, the Rebels put up 54 points over the final 20 minutes. Georgia State had Ole Miss down eight at the break before the Rebels held the Panthers to only 28 points for the rest of the contest. Through three games, Ole Miss holds a 46.7-34.3 advantage over opponents in the second half.

Ole Miss was exposed to a couple of different things for the first time in its young 2017-18 season, and combatted them all to erase an eight-point halftime deficit and gut out a 77-72 win over a good Georgia State team at The Pavilion (Nov. 17). Terence Davis had more success getting penetrating the Panthers’ zone than anyone else in the first half. He scored 15 first half points on 5-of-9 shooting and was really Ole Miss’ best semblance of offense for much of the first 20 minutes. Davis finished with 24 to lead Ole Miss in scoring. Markel Crawford had 15 points for the Rebels, nine of which came from the free throw line.  

Andy Kennedy has proven to develop guards during his time at Ole Miss. Over Kennedy’s 11 seasons in Oxford, 12 guards have earned All-SEC accolades to rank third among conference teams. This season, the depth at guard shows in terms of scoring. Through the first three games of the season, Ole Miss guards have accounted for 76.2 percent of the Rebels’ points. All five of the top scorers on the team are guards led by Terence Davis (20.3 ppg), Deandre Burnett (13.7 ppg) and Markel Crawford (11.3 ppg). Freshman Devontae Shuler adds 11.0 ppg, while starting point guard Breein Tyree contributes 8.7 ppg.

As a graduate transfer, Markel Crawford is already making his mark in his only season with the Rebels. The Memphis product has started all three games and leads Ole Miss in minutes per game (29.0). He also ranks second on the team in assists (8) and averages 11.3 ppg. Against Georgia State (Nov. 17), Crawford scored a season-high 15 points  thanks to his success at the charity stripe. He knocked down 9-of-10 free throws, including a perfect 4-of-4 in the final minute, to help put the game on ice.

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. Seeing the stat line of 12 points and 13 rebounds Friday night, one may have thought that Saiz returned for a fifth-year reunion tour. However, it was Marcanvis Hymon who produced the double-double in the season-opening win over Louisiana. In a team-high 32 minutes, Hymon notched his third career double-double and the first since his sophomore season (Feb. 13, 2016 vs. Arkansas). The Memphis, Tennessee, native followed the season opener with an 8-point, 10-rebound performance last week versus Eastern Kentucky. Through three games, Hymon leads the Rebels with 9.0 rpg and ranks seventh in the SEC.

Terence Davis burst onto the scene as a sophomore last year, averaging 14.9 points per game after only providing 1.8 points per game as a freshman. It was the largest increase in scoring among any returning player in the conference. Shooting 48.2 percent from the field, the Southaven, Mississippi, native ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage and recorded 20+ points in six different games. He quickly became a playmaker on both sides of the floor, leading the Rebels with 50 steals as well. Davis has showcased his scoring ability through the early portion of this season, ranking fourth in the SEC and leading Ole Miss with 20.3 ppg. The wingman scored a team-high 21 points in the season opener, added 16 in a win over Eastern Kentucky and went off on a 24-point night in the Rebels’ latest outing. Against Georgia State, Davis kept the Rebels within striking distance by scoring 15 of the team’s final 19 points of the first half.

Not often does a first team preseason all-conference selection come off the bench, but senior Deandre Burnett is embracing the role. The guard averaged a team-high 16.5 points per game and finished fifth in the SEC in both free-throw percentage (88.1) and three-point percentage (37.6) during the 2016-17 campaign. 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). Being the first off the bench this season, Burnett provided a spark Friday night for the Rebels by scoring 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting. He followed that with a team-high 17 points in Monday’s victory over EKU, going 4-of-5 from three-point land. Burnett ranks second on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg) and leads the Rebels in assists (9).

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 did not disappoint in his debut, recording 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). Last week versus Eastern Kentucky, Shuler earned his first career start and tallied 12 points. Through the first three games of his career, he is averaging 11.0 ppg and leads the Rebels in three-point field goal percentage at a 43.8 clip (7-of-16).

With the 12th season led by Mississippi native Andy Kennedy underway, Ole Miss has a 237-140 record, one SEC Tournament championship, two SEC West championships, nine 20-win campaigns and eight postseason berths, which includes two NCAA Tournament appearances and pair of trips to the NIT Final Four. The all-time winningest coach in school history, Kennedy has averaged more than 21 wins per season in his 11 years in Oxford after the Rebels posted just three 21-win seasons in the 96 years before his arrival.

Andy Kennedy is also fifth on the list for most wins by a coach in their first 12 years in the league after taking over an SEC program. See the list below:

1. Bill Donovan (Florida) – 285
2. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) – 279
3. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) – 265
4. Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) – 255
5. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 237
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) – 236
7. Hugh Durham (Georgia) – 219
8. Ray Mears (Tennessee) – 218
9. Dale Brown (LSU) – 212
10. C.M. Newton (Alabama) – 211
11. Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) – 204
11. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 204

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is climbing the SEC coaching wins chart, ranking 18th with 237 career victories. See complete list below:

1. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) - 875
2. Billy Donovan (Florida) - 467
3. Dale Brown (LSU) - 448
4. C.M. Newtown (UA/VU) - 340
    Harry Rabenhorst (LSU) - 340
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) - 332
7. Tubby Smith (UGA/UK) - 308
8. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) - 297
    Hugh Durhman (Georgia) - 297
10. Rick Stansbury (MSU) - 293
11. Ray Mears (Tennessee) - 278
    Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) - 278
13. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) - 265
    John Mauer (UK/UT/UF) - 265
15. Hank Crisp (Alabama) - 264
16. John Calipari (Kentucky) - 251
17. Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) - 249
18. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) - 237
19. Norm Sloan (Florida) - 232
20. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) - 219
21. Joel Eaves (Auburn) - 214

Following Monday’s game against Utah, the Rebels will remain in Las Vegas to wrap up the MGM Grand Main Event. Ole Miss will face either Rice or UNLV depending on the outcome of the Monday contests. The Rebels then return home to host South Dakota State (Nov. 28).






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