GAME NOTES: Ole Miss Hosts Southern Miss Saturday
GAME 8: Ole Miss (6-1) vs. Southern Miss (5-0)
OLE MISS TAKES ON IN-STATE FOE
Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of Tad Smith Coliseum for an in-state battle with the Southern Miss Golden Eagles. The Rebels are coming off an impressive 79-57 road win at Arkansas State on Wednesday, in which Terrico White led the way with 19 points and Zach Graham added a season-high 17 on the strength of a career-high four 3-pointers. White and Chris Warren rank 4th and 5th in the SEC in scoring with 17.3 and 17.1 ppg, respectively. Saturday's game is the first Ole Miss-Southern Miss matchup in Oxford since an epic 113-107 double-OT Rebel victory on Dec. 19, 1995. Andy Kennedy's squad is one of six SEC teams with one or fewer losses, but sits atop the SEC West as the only one-loss team in the division.
FREE, REDUCED TICKETS FOR "SHOWDOWN IN O-TOWN"
Ole Miss is offering FREE student tickets and reducing all remaining tickets to $5 for Saturday's "Showdown in O-Town" against Southern Miss. All parking lots surrounding the coliseum will be open to fans, free of charge. The first 200 Ole Miss students in attendance will receive FREE T-shirts, while students also have a chance to win one of 25 season ticket packages that will be given away during the game.
- Ole Miss is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll for the fourth straight week.
- The Rebels lead the all-time series with the Golden Eagles 16-5, including a 7-0 mark in Oxford.
- Ole Miss has a 44-11 record against non-conference opponents under Kennedy.
- Kennedy has directed Ole Miss to a 47-7 home record in his four seasons at the helm, including a 29-1 mark against non-league foes at Tad Smith Coliseum.
- Ole Miss ranks second among SEC teams with 9.4 steals/game, third with a +4.3 turnover margin and third with 82.3 points per game.
- Preseason All-SEC and preseason Naismith and Wooden Award candidate Terrico White ranks fourth in the SEC with 17.3 ppg.
- Preseason All-SEC point guard Chris Warren ranks fifth in the league with 17.1 ppg and fourth with 2.6 3-pointers per contest.
- Terrance Henry is the first Rebel since Jarrell Evans in 1993 to start the season by making each of his first 10 shots from the field.
SCOUTING THE GOLDEN EAGLES
Southern Miss enters Saturday's game with a perfect 5-0 record, which includes a pair of wins over Division I teams - Louisiana-Lafayette and Montana State - and three wins over NAIA teams - Loyola (N.O.), William Carey and Spring Hill. Larry Eustachy's club is averaging 76.4 ppg and allowing 62.0 ppg, while out-rebounding opponents 40.6-26.6, an average margin of +14.0. Three Golden Eagles average in double figure points, led by Maurice Bolden's 16.4 ppg. Bolden has gotten to the free-throw line 39 times in five games and is shooting 84.6 percent from there. Gary Flowers adds 13.4 ppg, and R.L. Horton contributes 11.0.
OLE MISS-SOUTHERN MISS SERIES
The Rebels and Golden Eagles will be meeting for the 22nd time in the history of the series, with Ole Miss holding a 16-5 overall advantage and 7-0 lead in games played in Oxford. Ole Miss dropped a 78-59 decision to USM last year in Biloxi, despite 23 points from David Huertas. It was the second game the Rebels were playing after losing Chris Warren for the season. (See p. 5) A year earlier, the No. 22-ranked Rebels beat the Golden Eagles 78-58 in Southaven. The in-state rivals last met in Oxford when Ole Miss won a 113-107 double-overtime decision on Dec. 19, 1995.
REBELS IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today coaches poll for the fourth 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.
OLE MISS VERSUS CONFERENCE USA FOES
In non-SEC play, Conference-USA is Ole Miss' most faced league, and Southern Miss is the first of three C-USA teams on this year's schedule. The Rebels have an all-time record of 76-97 (.439 winning percentage) against current members of Conference USA, which includes such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and Memphis (11-27). Ole Miss has an 11-6 record versus current C-USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995.
Ole Miss boasts a 44-11 record against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, which includes a 29-1 record in games played in Oxford. This year's team is 6-1 overall against non-league foes after the squad went 9-5 a season ago. 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).
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 47-7 (.870 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy's tenure, including a 3-0 mark this 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 178 of its last 217 games (.820 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 411-186 (.688 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.
REBELS' "D" TURNS UP THE HEAT
Ole Miss has proven itself as a high-pressure defensive squad this season. The Rebels rank second among SEC teams with 9.4 steals/game and third with a +4.3 turnover margin. The defensive intensity has also forced teams into a lot of bad shots, as the team ranks fourth in the SEC with a 38.6 field-goal percentage defense and second with a 28.4 3-point field-goal percentage defense.
PROLIFIC OFFENSE IN THE EARLY GOING
Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to Ole Miss averaging 82.3 points per game, which is third-highest among SEC teams. The team has put up 80+ points in four of the first seven games and 90+ in two contests so far. Ole Miss has posted a 40+ point half in every game this season. Three players average in double figures, led by Terrico White's 17.3 average and Chris Warren's 17.1 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 fifth in the SEC with 2.4 blocks per game, has helped the Rebels average 6.7 swats per contest, fourth-best among SEC teams. The 12 blocks against Indiana in San Juan were one shy of a school record.
Ole Miss got its 2009-10 road record off to a strong start with its 79-57 drubbing of Arkansas State in Jonesboro Wednesday night. It was the first true road game of the year for the Rebels, who went 2-1 in a neutral-court setting in Puerto Rico last month. The Rebels are 3-1 in true road games against non-league opponents over the last three seasons.
REBELS ON THE TUBE
Saturday's game vs. Southern Miss on FS South is the fourth 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.
WARREN CLOSING IN ON 1,000 POINTS
With 13 points at Arkansas State, junior point guard Chris Warren now has 890 career points, needing just 110 more to become the 31st player in program history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Warren has reached this high point total at a rapid pace, having played in just 53 games. Gerald Glass is the fastest Rebel to reach 1,000 points, doing so in his 37th career game.
WARREN BACK TO HIS 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 currently ranks fifth in the SEC with 17.1 ppg and fourth with 2.6 3-pointers per game. He is averaging 19.8 ppg over the last five outings. He had 19 points in the win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He was named to the 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 has hit three or more 3-pointers in four of his last five games, including a season-high 5 treys against 'Nova.
10 IN A ROW FOR T-HENRY
Sophomore forward Terrance Henry has started his season with a perfect touch from the field, making all 10 of his field-goal attempts thus far. Henry is the first Rebel to convert on each of his first 10 shots of the season since Jarrell Evans was 12-for-12 in the 1993 season opener against Abilene Christian. He went 5-for-5 to amass a career-high 12 points vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and followed that with a 4-for-4, 9-point performance at Arkansas State. He has also converted on 3-of-3 from downtown after making just 2-of-17 treys a year ago.
WHITE MAKES SCORING LOOK EASY
With his laid-back, smooth approach on offense, sometimes Terrico White's eye-popping scoring totals can take a person by surprise. The sophomore guard is averaging a team-high 17.3 ppg, which is fourth-best among SEC players. He poured in a season-high 25 points in a win over Kansas State and has dropped in 19 points three times (vs. Alabama State, vs. Texas A&M-CC and at Arkansas State). He posted 14 points and a career-high 9 rebounds vs. No. 5 Villanova. He ranks 23rd in the league with 4.9 rebounds per contest.
HOLLOWAY PRODUCING MONSTER GAMES
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. He missed the Texas A&M-CC game while resting an ankle injury, but returned on Wednesday to tally 9 points and a season-high 13 rebounds at Arkansas State.
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 Terrico White leads the team with 17.3 ppg (4th in SEC) and Chris Warren is right on his heels with 17.1 ppg (5th in SEC). Eniel Polynice (9.0 ppg) and Zach Graham (8.4 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.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Made his first career start vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and scored 8 points ... Ranks fifth among SEC players and second among freshmen with 2.4 blocks per game ... 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 ... Tennessee high school record holder for career blocked shots.
- DeAundre Cranston: Career-high 21 points (8-9 FGs, 3-4 3-pters) with 7 boards in season opener.
- Trevor Gaskins: Ranks third on the team in assists (12) and steals (8) ... 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: Dropped in a season-high 17 points in the win at Arkansas State, connecting on a career-high 4 3-pointers ... Also dished out 4 assists at ASU ... 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.
- Eniel Polynice: Averages 9.0 ppg, 3.7 rebounds/game, 3.7 assists/game (T-6th SEC) and 1.9 steals/game (8th 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 ... Against Alabama State, he had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 steals and a block.
- 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: 9-point outing against Indiana snapped a string of 14 straight double-digit scoring games.
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