Rebels Look to Rebound Versus Rice in Las Vegas
Nov. 21, 2017


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GAME 5 - MGM RESORTS MAIN EVENT
Matchup: Rice (1-3) vs. Ole Miss (3-1)
Date: Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Time: 9 p.m. CT/7 p.m. PT
Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Arena: T-Mobile Arena (18,000)
Television: ESPNU
    Sam Farber, play-by-play
    Adrian Branch, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
    Eli Savoie, play-by-play
    Keith Carter, analyst
Series: Rice leads 2-1
Last Meeting: Jan. 27, 1993
    Rice won 72-67
    Houston, Texas

TIPOFF TIDBITS
- The Rebels are coming off an 83-74 setback to Utah, their first loss of the season.
- Ole Miss is 2-1 in MGM Resorts Main Event games; the Rebels went 2-0 in "Undercard" games, 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.
- Ole Miss leads the SEC in steals with 33.
- 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.
- Markel Crawford ranks second in the SEC with nine on the season.
- With 76 career blocks, senior Marcanvis Hymon is tied with Murphy Holloway for 11th on the school's all-time list.  
- Guards are accounting for 75.4 percent of the Rebels' scoring through the first three games.
- Ole Miss is playing in a regular season tournament for the 14th consecutive year.
- The Rebels have not gone winless in a regular season tournament since the 1975-76 season.
- The Rebels are playing in Las Vegas for the first time in program history, spanning 108 years.
- Ole Miss is 21-9 in regular season tournaments under Andy Kennedy (does not include SEC Tournament).

THE ROAD TO VEGAS
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).

SCOUTING THE OWLS
Rice enters Wednesday night's matchup with a 1-3 record following a 95-68 loss to UNLV on Monday night. The Owls have also suffered setbacks to Eastern Kentucky and Georgia State, two teams the Rebels have defeated already this season. Three Owls are averaging double figures in scoring led by Connor Cashaw (16.5 ppg), who also leads the team in rebounding (7.3 rpg). A.J. Lapray is averaging 11.8 points off the bench while Ako Adams is scoring 11.5 ppg. Scott Pera is in his first season as Rice's head coach after spending the past three years as the team's associate head coach.

SERIES VS. RICE
The Rebels and Owls will meet for the first time in 24 years. Rice leads the all-time series 2-1 thanks to a pair of victories in a home-and-home during the 1992-93 season. Ole Miss won the first contest between the two programs, a 70-60 victory in Chattanooga, Tennessee during the 1983-84 campaign.

REBELS IN REGULAR SEASON TOURNAMENTS
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 21-9 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 marked another off the Rebels' list as they played in the Sin City for the first time in the program's 108-year history when they took the court against Utah on Monday night.

RALLY REBELS
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 44.3-36.5 advantage over opponents in the second half.

STEALS STAT
Ole Miss has been active with their hands on the defensive end of the floor, leading the SEC with 33 total steals. Through four games, four Rebels have at least five steals. Markel Crawford leads the way with nine steals, averaging 2.3 per game to rank fourth in the SEC, with Breein Tyree closely behind (7). Terence Davis and Devontae Shuler have six and five steals, respectively, as Shuler recorded a career-high four swipes on Monday versus Utah. Against the Utes, the Rebels tallied 14 steals throughout the night, the most by them in a game since Feb. 14, 2017 vs. LSU.

REBELS DROP FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON
Deandre Burnett scored 21 points off the bench and went 5-of-6 from three-point range, but it wasn't enough as the Rebels suffered their first loss of the season. Utah handed Ole Miss an 83-74 defeat in Las Vegas with the help  of 23 points from Justin Bibbins and 11 threes as a team.   

GREEN LIGHT GUARDS
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 75.4 percent of the Rebels' points. All five of the top scorers on the team are guards led by Terence Davis (17.8 ppg), Deandre Burnett (15.5 ppg) and Devontae Shuler (10.5 ppg). Graduate transfer Markel Crawford adds 9.5 ppg, while starting point guard Breein Tyree contributes 9.0 ppg.

MARKEL MAKING HIS MARK
As a graduate transfer, Markel Crawford is already making his mark in his only season with the Rebels. The Memphis product has started all four games and leads Ole Miss in minutes per game (29.5). He also leads the team in steals (9) and assists (11), while averaging 9.5 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. Crawford proved to be a factor defensively against Utah on Monday, recording a team-high five steals.

HYMON PICKS UP WHERE SAIZ LEFT OFF
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 four games, Hymon leads the Rebels with 7.8 rpg and ranks eighth in the SEC.

TD SCORING
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 10th in the SEC and leading Ole Miss with 17.8 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.

DON'T FORGET ABOUT DRE
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's biggest offensive output occurred in Las Vegas when he poured in 21 points versus Utah on 7-of-11 shooting, including going 5-of-6 from beyond the arc.

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 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. In Las Vegas Monday night, he showcased his quick hands on the defensive end with a career-high four steals.  

12TH YEAR OF THE KENNEDY ADMINISTRATION
With the 12th season led by Mississippi native Andy Kennedy underway, Ole Miss has a 237-141 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.

KENNEDY'S FIRST 12 YEARS RANK AMONG ALL-TIME SEC GREATS
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

KENNEDY MOVING UP SEC COACHING WINS LIST
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) - 252
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

NEXT ON THE HARDWOOD
After playing two games in Las Vegas, the Rebels then return home to host South Dakota State (Nov. 28). The Pavilion at Ole Miss will become a comfortable place for the Rebels to play with seven of their next eight games taking place at home.


 

 

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