GAME NOTES: Rebels Host Islanders Sunday
GAME 6: Ole Miss (4-1) vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (4-2)
TEXAS A&M-CORPUS CHRISTI VISITS OXFORD
Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of Tad Smith Coliseum for Sunday's tilt with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The Rebels are coming off a championship game appearance at the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off where they beat Indiana and Kansas State before losing to No. 5 Villanova in the title game. Preseason All-SEC guards Chris Warren and Terrico White led the way in the big win over K-State with 27 and 25 points, respectively. Warren was named to the All-Tournament team after he also had 16 points in the win over Indiana and a game-high 24 points against Villanova. The Rebels are 2-0 in home games so far this season.
- Ole Miss is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll for the third straight week.
- The Rebels and Islanders are meeting for the first time.
- Ole Miss has a 42-11 record against non-conference opponents under Kennedy.
- Ole Miss brings a 46-7 home record under Kennedy's direction into Sunday's game.
- The Rebels are 21-3 in November games under Kennedy.
- Ole Miss leads all SEC teams with 10.2 steals/game and ranks third in the league with 84.8 points per game.
- Terrico White and Chris Warren were named to preseason All-SEC teams by both the media and league coaches. White was named to the first team and Warren to the second team on both lists.
- Terrico White is a preseason candidate for the Naismith and Wooden Awards.
SCOUTING THE ISLANDERS
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi comes into Oxford with a 4-2 overall record and a three-game winning streak. The Islanders got their biggest win of the year in the season opener with a 67-43 drubbing of the Pac-10's Oregon State. Corpus Christi is out-scoring opponents by an average of 67.7-59.7 and out-rebounding them by an average of 35.0-32.3. Kevin Palmer leads the team with an 18.8 scoring average and also puts up 5.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 3.5 steals per game. Demond Watts adds 10.0 ppg and a team-high 7.0 rpg.
OLE MISS-CORPUS CHRISTI SERIES
This is the first meeting between the two schools.
OLE MISS VERSUS SOUTHLAND FOES
Ole Miss owns a 42-2 all-time record against current members of the Southland Conference. Corpus Christi is the first of two Southland opponents on this year's slate (McNeese State - Dec. 12). The Rebels' most frequest Southland foe is Southeastern Louisiana (OM leads 16-0), while the only two losses against that conference came against McNeese (in 1994) and Lamar (in 1995).
REBS HAVE SUCCESS IN PUERTO RICO
Ole Miss advanced to the championship game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off before falling to No. 5 Villanova 79-67 in the title game. Chris Warren led all players in San Juan with 22.3 ppg on his way to All-Tournament honors. The Rebels had wins over "BCS" conference schools Indiana (Big Ten) and Kansas State (Big 12) in the first two rounds.
BIG WIN OVER K-STATE PROPELS REBS TO TITLE GAME
Ole Miss used an 86-74 win over the Big 12's Kansas State Wildcats to advance to Sunday's title game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts Pueto Rico Tip-Off. Preseason All-SEC guards Chris Warren and Terrico White led the way with 27 and 25 points, respectively. Ole Miss made 22-of-27 free throws in the game, including 16-of-17 in the second half.
REBELS IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll for the third straight week. The last time the Rebels were ranked in the top 25 in one of those two polls was Jan. 28, 2008, when they were No. 24 and 22, respectively.
DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy's squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 46-7 (.868 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy's tenure, including a 12-4 mark last year. An 80-78 loss to West Virginia on Dec. 3 last year snapped a 25-game home win streak over non-conference opponents.
Ole Miss has won 177 of its last 216 games (.819 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 410-186 (.688 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.
In four seasons under head coach Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss has racked up a 21-3 record in November games, including a 4-1 mark this year entering Sunday's game.
Ole Miss boasts a 42-11 record against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, which includes a 28-1 record in games played in Oxford. The 2007-08 Rebels finished the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record against non-league foes, becoming the second Rebel squad to accomplish that feat (1948-49). Last year, the team went 9-5 against teams outside the SEC, and this year has started with a 4-1 record.
REBELS "D" TURNS UP HEAT
Ole Miss has proven itself as a high-pressure defensive squad this season. The Rebels lead all SEC teams with 10.2 steals/game and rank third with a +4.4 turnover margin. The defensive intensity has also forced teams into a lot of bad shots, as the team has limited opponents to a 39.2 percent field-goal percentage.
PROLIFIC OFFENSE IN THE EARLY GOING
Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to Ole Miss averaging 84.8 points per game, which is third-highest among SEC teams. The team has put up 80+ points in four of the first five games and 90+ in two contests so far. The Rebels have done it with balanced scoring, as four players average in double figures, led by Chris Warren's 17.6 average.
SULTANS OF SWAT
There's a new strength on this year's team that the Rebels have not featured much in years past - the blocked shot. The intimidating presence of freshman Reginald Buckner, who leads the team and ranks fourth in the SEC with 3.2 blocks per game, has helped the Rebels swat 40 shots in five games. The 12 blocks against Indiana in San Juan were one shy of a school record.
WARREN BACK TO OLD WAYS
He set the Ole Miss record for 3-pointers in a season as a freshman and then averaged 19.6 ppg as a sophomore before being injured. Now, Chris Warren is providing his magic again. The junior point guard was named to the O'Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off All-Tournament Team after he led all scorers in San Juan with a 22.3 average. He had 16 in the win over Indiana before putting together back-to-back 20-point games against Kansas State (27) and No. 5 Villanova (24). He hit three or more 3-pointers in each game in Puerto Rico, including a season-high 5 treys against 'Nova.
POLYNICE FILLS UP THE STAT SHEET
Healthy for the first time since 2007-08, junior guard Eniel Polynice is back to doing what he does best - filling up every area of the stat sheet. He currently averages 10.8 ppg, 4.2 assists/game (T-7th SEC) and 2.4 steals/game (T-2nd SEC). Against Kansas State he put up 13 points, 5 boards and 2 steals. Against Indiana, he posted 10 points, 7 assists, 2 blocks and a steal, while against Alabama State, he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a block.
HOLLOWAY HAS CAREER NIGHT
Sophomore forward Murphy Holloway posted a career-high 26 points against Indiana at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. He did what he does best by tipping in loose rebounds and finding a soft spot in the defense for Eniel Polynice to find him on several occasions. Holloway finished 12-for-18 from the floor and added seven rebounds in the win.
Holloway followed that up with 10 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas State, his second double-double of the year.
Expected to boast one of the top backcourts in the SEC, and perhaps the country, Ole Miss has already displayed its prowess among the guards, as Chris Warren leads the team with 17.6 ppg and Terrico White is right on his heels with 16.6 ppg. Eniel Polynice (10.8 ppg) and Zach Graham (7.4 ppg) have helped fill up the stat sheet in a number of areas.
The backcourt has been ranked as high as ninth in the country by one national preseason outlet (Lindy's) and best in the SEC by another (Blue Ribbon). Warren, White, Polynice and Graham have all been a full-time starter during the last two seasons, while Trevor Gaskins was an SEC All-Freshman team member with Warren in 2007-08 before Gaskins missed last season with an ACL injury.
CRANSTON LEADS TEAM TO BIG OPENING WIN
DeAundre Cranston scored a career-high 21 points to go with seven rebounds, and Ole Miss dominated UALR en route to a 92-64 win in the season opener. The Rebels got out to a 27-8 early lead and never looked back. Murphy Holloway also helped solidify the frontcourt play with 17 points and 10 rebounds.
REBELS ON THE TUBE
The Puerto Rico Tip-Off championship game vs. Villanova on ESPN2 was the third of at least 21 Ole Miss games scheduled for live television this season, including all 16 regular-season conference games as part of the SEC's 15-year deals with CBS and ESPN. The Rebels had a school-record 22 games televised in 2006-07.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Has swatted 16 shots in his first five collegiate outings ... Season-high 12 rebounds with 3 blocks vs. Indiana ... Posted 7 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks vs. Alabama State ... Had 4 blocks and 4 rebounds in collegiate debut vs. UALR ... He is the Tennessee high school record holder for career blocked shots.
- DeAundre Cranston: Shooting 75.0 percent from the field (12-of-16) ... Career-high 21 points (8-9 FGs, 3-4 3-pters) with 7 boards in season opener.
- Trevor Gaskins: Played in his first game since 2007-08 after missing last year with injury and scored 7 points with 3 boards and 3 assists in opener.
- Zach Graham: Scored 11 points in back-to-back games vs. Alabama State and Indiana ... Scored in double figures 12 times (10 times in SEC play) a year ago.
- Terrance Henry: Returned from injury to post 2 points, 5 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 5 minutes of play in his first action of the season vs. Indiana ... Injured his hand slipping on stairs on campus and missed the first two games.
- DeAngelo Riley: Made his Rebel debut in the opener and had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 10 minutes of action.
- Terrico White: Had 14 points and a career-high 9 rebounds vs. No. 5 Villanova ... Season-high 25 points with 7 rebounds vs. K-State ... 9-point outing against Indiana snapped a string of 14 straight double-digit scoring games ... Led the team with 19 points vs. Alabama State.
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