GAME 8: Ole Miss (5-2) at New Orleans (2-4)
Saturday 12.06.08 | 2 p.m. CT
New Orleans, La. | Lakefront Arena (8,933)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Listen Online through RebelVision
Live Video: Watch on RebelVision
NOTE: UNO does not offer live stats for home basketball games.
REBELS VISIT UNO FOR FIRST ROAD GAME
Ole Miss heads to the “Big Easy” for its first true road game of the year when the Rebels visit the University of New Orleans on Saturday at 2 p.m. Andy Kennedy’s squad is coming off a nailbiting 80-78 loss to West Virginia on Wednesday night, despite a game-high 23 points from junior guard David Huertas and a potential game-winning 25-foot three-point attempt at the buzzer by Chris Warren, who added 20 points. It was the third game this season that each member of the backcourt duo surpassed the 20-point mark on the night. The loss also snapped the Rebels’ 25-game homecourt winning streak against non-conference foes. Freshmen Terrico White and Murphy Holloway each set or tied career highs with 13 and 11 points, respectively, against the Mountaineers.
INJURIES HIT REBELS HARD
It’s been more like an “injury elephant” than an “injury bug” in the early season for Ole Miss. In an 11-day stretch during the first two weeks of play, the Rebels lost two key members of its backcourt in sophomore Trevor Gaskins and junior Eniel Polynice with season-ending injuries.
The most recent news came on Tuesday, Nov. 18, hours prior to the Rebels’ game vs. South Alabama, when the team found out that Polynice’s arthroscopic surgery to his left knee revealed extensive cartilage damage and loose fragments that will put the Rebels’ most veteran leader on the shelf for four to six months of rehabilitation.
Eleven days earlier the team suffered a blow when Gaskins, a member of last year’s SEC All-Freshman team, would need to undergo season-ending surgery to his left knee after tearing his ACL.
Both Polynice and Gaskins were expected to be primary pieces of a Rebel backcourt touted by at least one preseason publication (Blue Ribbon Yearbook) as the best in the Southeastern Conference.
Polynice averaged 10.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 34 games last year, including 31 starts. Andy Kennedy has routinely called Polynice the team’s best perimeter defender and one of the toughest competitors on the squad. Gaskins was one of the team’s top long-range threats a year ago when he ranked third on the squad with 46 treys, while averaging 5.9 points per contest. Entering his sophomore year, he was considered one of the toughest competitors and an emotional leader of the team.
SCOUTING THE PRIVATEERS
New Orleans enters Saturday’s matchup with a two-game winning streak after dropping its first four contests of the year. The two-game streak coincides with the return of last year’s second-leading scorer, senior Kyndall Dykes, who scored 15 points in the most recent 49-39 win over intra-city rival Tulane. For the year, UNO is scoring 55.8 points per game compared to 62.0 allowed to opponents. The Privateers hold a 35.0-34.7 rebounding advantage. Joe Pasternack is in his second season as head coach after leading UNO to a 19-13 record and fourth-place Sun Belt Conference finish a season ago.
OLE MISS-NEW ORLEANS SERIES
The Rebels lead the all-time series with the Privateers 3-1, including an 85-77 triumph at home on Nov. 30, 2006, when four Rebels scored 15+ points, including 16 each from Bam Doyne and Jermey Parnell. New Orleans prevailed 87-73 in the Big Easy during the 1983-84 season, but Ole Miss bounced back with home wins in 1984-85 (55-51) and 1987-88 (83-74).
Saturday’s game is the back end of a home-and-home originally scheduled for last season but postponed due to UNO’s arena recovering from hurricane damage.
OLE MISS VERSUS SUN BELT
Ole Miss owns a 53-22 record all-time against teams currently in the Sun Belt Conference. Arkansas State is the most frequent Sun Belt foe, and the Rebels hold a 19-9 edge in that series. Louisiana-Monroe is the next most frequent foe, with the Rebels owning a 13-4 record in that series. New Orleans is the third Sun Belt foe in the Rebels’ first eight games this season. Ole Miss beat Arkansas State and South Alabama in the year’s first two contests.
Ole Miss boasts a 34-7 record against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over the reins in 2006-07. Last year, the Rebels finished the regular season with a perfect 14-0 record against non-league foes, becoming the second Rebel squad to ever accomplish that feat (1948-49). The Rebels’ 83-72 loss to Utah in Daytona Beach was the first regular-season loss to a non-league foe since 2006-07.
DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy’s squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. The 80-78 loss to West Virginia snapped Ole Miss’ 25-game home win streak over non-league foes and a nine-game overall home win streak. Ole Miss is now 36-4 in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum over the last 3 seasons.
FREE-THROW LINE SUCCESS
Ole Miss leads all Southeastern Conference teams and ranks fourth in the nation with an 81.6 free-throw percentage. The Rebels set a school-record with a 22-for-22 performance at the line against South Alabama and shot 93.8 percent (15-of-16) from the stripe against Morgan State. Chris Warren ranks third in the SEC with his 89.7 percent free-throw shooting (35-of-39), while David Huertas ranks eighth at 84.4 (38-of-45). It is a marked improvement from a year ago, when the Rebels made just 65.1 percent of their attempts.
HUERTAS & WARREN SHOULDERING THE LOAD
Junior guard David Huertas and sophomore guard Chris Warren are playing the majority of minutes and scoring most of the points for the Rebels through six games. Each player is averaging over 34 minutes per game (Warren-34.3, Huertas-34.0), while the duo combines for 41.9 points per contest, 54.1 percent of the team’s 77.4 average. Entering the New Orleans game, Huertas ranks second in the SEC with a 22.7 average, while Warren is fourth at 19.1.
FRESHMEN MAKING STRIDES
With “veterans” David Huertas and Chris Warren scoring the bulk of the Rebels’ baskets, a couple of freshmen had breakthrough performances in Wednesday’s 80-78 defeat to West Virginia. Forward Murphy Holloway earned his first career start and responded with 11 points and 6 rebounds in a season-high 32 minutes of action, while guard Terrico White also started and tallied a season-high 13 points in 33 minutes. White connected on 5-of-7 field goals overall and 3-of-4 from downtown. They are two of three freshmen to earn at least one starting nod this season, including forward Terrance Henry.
HUERTAS TAKES GAME TO A NEW LEVEL
David Huertas has had a hot shooting touch in the Rebels’ first six games, averaging a team-high 22.7 points, good for 2nd in the SEC. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in six of the seven contests, including each of the last four. Against South Alabama, he notched a season-high 27 points and tied his career high with 7 three’s, which is tied for the second-highest single-game total in school history. Huertas’ production was kick-started by his finish last year, when he was instrumental in the Rebels’ run to the NIT Semifinals, averaging 16.1 points, 5.0 rebs and 4.0 three’s over the final 8 games. Entering the weekend, he ranks among the SEC leaders in several categories this year, as listed below:
Huertas’ SEC Ranks (AS OF 12/4)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 2nd/13th 22.7/game
Rebounding T-23rd 5.1/game
FG Percentage 4th 54.4
FT Percentage 8th 84.4
3-pt FG Percentage 1st 46.9
3-pt FGs Made 1st/38th 3.29/game
Minutes Played 4th 34.0/game
WARREN DOING SOME OF EVERYTHING
Following up a sensational rookie campaign, sophomore point guard Chris Warren has become an even more well-rounded player this season. Entering the New Orleans game, he ranks fourth in the SEC with 19.1 points per game, while he is also ranks among the top SEC players in several other categories, as listed below:
Warren’s SEC Ranks (AS OF 12/4)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 4th 19.1/game
Assists 7th 4.29/game
FT Percentage 3rd/44th 89.7
Steals 5th/27th 2.43/game
3-pt FGs Made 11th 2.14/game
Assist-Turnover Ratio 4th 2.14
Minutes Played T-2nd 34.3/game
RECORDS THAT WERE MEANT TO BE BROKEN
In just their second season playing for the Red and Blue, Chris Warren and David Huertas are both moving up Ole Miss’ career three-point charts at a break-neck pace. With 15 treys this year, Warren has moved into eighth place all-time with 118. Huertas has knocked down 23 from long range and recently moved into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time chart.
OLE MISS CAREER THREE-POINT FIELD GOALS
1. 278 Aaron Harper (123 games, 2001-04)
2. 249 Keith Carter (117 games, 1996-1999)
3. 214 Joe Harvell (114 games, 1990-93)
4. 163 Jason Harrison (132 games, 1999-02)
5. 158 Todd Abernethy (122 games, 2004-07)
6. 131 Joezon Darby (81 games, 1996-98)
7. 127 Clarence Sanders (60 games, 2006-07)
8. 118 Chris Warren (42 games, 2008-present)
9. 107 Kendrick Fox (112 games, 2002-05)
10. 98 David Huertas (42 games, 2008-present)
20-POINT SCORING GAMES
David Huertas and Chris Warren have made scoring 20 or more points commonplace in the early going this season. Huertas has cracked the 20-point mark six times in the first seven games, while Warren has done so four times. In fact, three times this year the two guards have both notched 20 or more in the same game, including wins over Marshall (Warren 28, Huertas 21) and Morgan State (Warren 25, Huertas 22) and the 2-point loss to West Virginia (Huertas 23, Warren 20). For their career, Warren now has 13 20+ point outings, while Huertas has racked up seven.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
Will Bogan: Freshman set season highs with 8 points and 2 three-pointers against Marshall.
DeAundre Cranston: JUCO transfer set a season high with 12 rebounds along with 8 points vs. UCF ... Started his first game as a Rebel vs. Marshall ... Had 9 points and 5 rebounds vs. South Alabama ... Despite a wide, 6-9 frame, has the ability to connect from long range.
Zach Graham: Contributed 9 points and 5 boards off the bench vs. UCF ... Just hours after learning that junior guard Eniel Polynice would miss the remainder of the season, Graham stepped into Polynice’s spot in the starting lineup vs. South Alabama and responded with a career-high 16 points, including 3-for-4 from the field, 2-of-3 from downtown and a perfect 8-for-8 from the free-throw stripe ... Made seven starts as a freshman last season and averaged 5.9 points in 35 appearances.
Terrance Henry: Season-high 9 points (including 3-of-3 from FT line) vs. Morgan State ... Season-high 8 rebounds vs. UCF ... Earned a spot in the starting lineup for the first three games of his collegiate career ... Tallied 8 points and 7 rebounds vs. Utah ... Had 8 points and 6 boards against South Alabama.
Murphy Holloway: Earned first career start and scored 11 points with 5 rebounds vs. West Virginia ... Had 7 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 blocks vs. Morgan State ... Scored 11 points with 6 boards vs. Utah ... Picked up 4 steals vs. Marshall.
Malcolm White: Started six of first seven games as a sophomore after playing in 26 contests with no starts his rookie season ... Tops the team in blocked shots with 11 (1.6/game).
Terrico White: Career-high 13 points on 5-of-7 field goals and 3-of-4 three’s in start vs. West Virginia ... 7 points with season-high 6 rebounds vs. Morgan State ... 8 points and 2-of-4 from behind the arc vs. UCF ... Earned his first starting nod in the 82-78 win over Marshall, scoring 6 points and grabbing 5 boards ... Season-high 5 assists vs. South Alabama ... First Memphis signee for Kennedy’s program.