Nov. 24, 2010
Complete Ole Miss Game Notes
GAME 4: Ole Miss (2-1) vs. Penn State (4-0)
Friday 11.26.10 | 6:00 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
Live TV: n/a
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: XM 199
Live Video: RebelVision
OLE MISS, PENN STATE MEET FOR FIRST TIME
Ole Miss closes its four-game season-opening homestand Friday with a visit from the Big Ten's Penn State Nittany Lions. It will be the first meeting between the Rebels and Nittany Lions. Ole Miss is coming off a tough loss to Dayton in which the Rebels led by 13 at the half, but could not withstand the Flyer comeback in a 78-71 overtime defeat. Zach Graham has led the team in scoring each of the last two games, while Indiana transfer Nick Williams continues to make his presence felt with his defensive intensity and playmaking abilities. Following the Penn State game, Ole Miss will play at Miami on Tuesday against a second straight "BCS" league team.
- The Rebels are 55-14 against non-league foes under Andy Kennedy, with a 39-2 record at home.
- Ole Miss boasts a 61-12 record at Tad Smith Coliseum since Kennedy's arrival in 2006-07.
- The Rebels boast a 24-4 record in the month of November under Kennedy.
- The Rebels are 2-7 all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference, including an 89-71 win over Indiana last year.
- This is the first meeting between the Rebels and Nittany Lions.
- Ole Miss was picked to finish second in the SEC West by a panel of SEC and national media.
- Preseason All-SEC point guard Chris Warren is third on the Ole Miss career 3-pointers chart and is the active SEC leader in points, 3-pointers and 20-point games.
- Senior guard Zach Graham has a chance to eclipse 1,000 career points and become the all-time winningest player in school history this season.
SCOUTING THE NITTANY LIONS
Penn State is 4-0 after securing wins over Lehigh, Saint Joseph's, Fairfield and Central Connecticut State. The Big Ten squad is led by senior forward Jeff Brooks (team-high 17.0 ppg, 7.5 ppg) and senior point guard Talor Battle (16.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg), a preseason candidate for several national awards. Andrew Jones pulls down a team-best 7.8 rebounds per game, and Tim Frazier averages a team-high 5.5 assists per contest. The Nittany Lions have displayed a tough defense this year, holding opponents to just 55.8 ppg and a .360 FG percentage. In his eighth year at Penn State, head coach Ed DeChellis has a 99-123 overall record at the school. He directed PSU to the 2009 NIT Championship, but the team went 11-20 last year.
OLE MISS-PENN STATE SERIES
This is the first meeting between the Rebels and Nittany Lions.
OLE MISS VERSUS BIG TEN FOES
Ole Miss owns a 2-7 all-time record against current members of the Big Ten Conference. The Rebels have played six of the 11 teams in the league, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Ohio State.
TOUGH EARLY SLATE
Ole Miss opens the 2010-11 campaign with a challenging slate of non-league opponents. The first three games - Arkansas State, Murray State and Dayton - featured teams predicted to finish at or near the top of their conferences. Murray State was a second-round NCAA Tournament squad last year, while Dayton beat Ole Miss in the NIT Semifinals and won the 2010 NIT Championship. Those games are followed by a pair of power conference opponents in Penn State (at home) and Miami (on the road), then back at home against Conference USA upstart Southern Miss.
In five seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss has racked up a 24-4 record in November games, including a 5-1 mark last year and a 2-1 record this year.
DEFENSIVE INTENSITY PAYS OFF
Spurred by tenacious perimeter defenders Trevor Gaskins and Nick Williams and shot blocker Reginald Buckner, the Rebels' "D" is off to a hot start. Ole Miss allowed just 60 and 61 points in the first two games and is holding opponents to a 37.3 field-goal percentage in all games.
FREEBIES FALLING AT HIGH RATE
It's still early, but it looks like free-throw shooting will be a strength of this year's Ole Miss team. Despite shooting just 50 percent from the line against Dayton, the Rebels still lead all SEC teams with a 78.2 FT percentage. The 95.7 FT percentage against Murray State (22-of-23) was the second-best mark in school history for a game with at least 20 attempts. Chris Warren (15-15) and Zach Graham (12-12) are both perfect at the line so far.
IMPRESSIVE WIN OVER MURRAY STATE
Murray State held Chris Warren to just 10 points, but Zach Graham and Nick Williams stepped up with big efforts to help Ole Miss to a convincing 77-61 win over the Racers on Nov. 17. Graham scored a career-high 22 points and Williams added a career-high 21 against a team that brought most of its key contributors back from last season's 31-win team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament second round. The Rebels sunk 22-of-23 free throw attempts. The 95.7 FT percentage is the second-best mark in school history for a game with at least 20 attempts.
REBELS PREVAIL IN SEASON OPENER
Chris Warren scored 26 points and led Ole Miss to a 68-60 win over Arkansas State in the season opener. The Rebels trailed 32-24 at halftime, but out-scored the Red Wolves 44-28 in the second period for the comeback win. Warren scored 20 points on 7-of-9 shooting in the second half, and Zach Graham added 12 points for the Rebels. Ole Miss has won each its last seven season openers.
GRAHAM LOOKS SHARP
Senior guard Zach Graham has gotten off to a big start in 2010-11. He is averaging a team-best 16.7 points and has made 6-of-14 3-point attempts and 12-of-12 from the free throw line. He posted a career-high 22 points against Murray State and led the Rebels with 16 vs. Dayton.
BLOCKING SHOTS, BUCKNER STYLE
Just three games into his sophomore year, Reginald Buckner has already vaulted into seventh place on the school's career blocked shots list with 73. He is among the SEC leaders with 3.0 blocks per game, despite missing the second half and overtime against Dayton with a leg injury. Last year, Buckner missed four games and was hampered by an ankle injury in SEC and postseason play, but he still managed to break the school's all-time blocked shots record for a season and be named to the SEC All-Freshman squad by the league coaches.
Nick Williams MAKES IMMEDIATE IMPACT
After transferring from Indiana and sitting out last season due to NCAA rules, sophomore guard Nick Williams has already been a big addition on the court this year. He is averaging 14.3 points and 4.7 rebounds and ranks third among SEC players with 34.0 minutes per game. His 21 points against Murray State were a career high (including Indiana and Ole Miss). In the preseason, he was named one of the top 25 impact transfers in the country by Athlon Sports.
Zach Graham = WINNER
Senior guard Zach Graham has done nothing but win since he arrived in Oxford. With 66 career wins, he needs 21 more to become the winningest player in school history. Jason Flanigan (1998-2001) currently holds the record with 87 career victories.
There are two Mississippi natives running the floor for the Rebels this year in freshmen Demarco Cox (Yazoo City) and Dundrecous Nelson (Jackson). They are the first scholarship players from the Magnolia State to suit up for the Rebels since Oxford native Kendrick Fox roamed the court from 2002-05.
OTHER PLAYER NOTES
Reginald Buckner: Tied a career high with 5 blocks vs. Arkansas State ... 8 points, 5 boards, 3 blocks vs. Murray State.
Demarco Cox: Saw his first career action in the season opener vs. Arkansas State ... Scored first career basket against Dayton.
Trevor Gaskins: Scored 8 points and tied a career high with 7 rebounds vs. Arkansas State ... Had 8 points, 4 boards and 3 steals vs. Murray State.
Zach Graham: Has posted double-figure points in all three games (12 vs. Arkansas State, 22 vs. Murray State, 16 vs. Dayton).
Terrance Henry: Posted 8 points and 6 rebounds vs. Arkansas State ... Scored 12 points with a team-high 7 boards vs. Dayton.
Dundrecous Nelson: Saw his first career action in the season opener vs. Arkansas State ... Scored first career basket against Murray State ... Tallied 12 points (5-8 FGs, 2-5 3-pt FGs) vs. Dayton.
Steadman Short: Saw his first action as a Rebel in the season opener vs. Arkansas State ... Pulled down 6 boards vs. Murray State and Dayton.
Chris Warren: Scored 20 of his game-high 26 points in the second half vs. Arkansas State ... Dished out a game-high 5 assists vs. Murray State ... 11 points, 6 assists vs. Dayton.
Nick Williams: Has started his first three games in a Rebel uniform ... Career-high 21 points vs. Murray State ... 14 points (6-9 FGs, 2-4 3-pt FGs) vs. Dayton.