GAME NOTES: No. 25 Rebels Set For Saturday Test
GAME 9: #25 Ole Miss (7-1) vs. McNeese State (3-4)
NO. 25 REBELS WELCOME COWBOYS TO OXFORD
Among the nation's top 25 teams in the polls for the first time since January 2008, No. 25 Ole Miss puts its ranking to the test on Saturday against the McNeese State Cowboys. The Rebel players had the week off of games due to final exams, as Saturday's tilt marks the first of the winter break contests. The Rebels are riding a three-game winning streak, including this past Saturday's 81-79 comeback thriller over Southern Miss. Chris Warren (17.5 ppg) and Terrico White (17.0 ppg) rank fourth and fifth in the SEC in scoring, respectively. The Rebels look to extend their 30-1 home record against non-conference opponents under head coach Andy Kennedy.
TICKETS ON SALE FOR SOUTHAVEN GAME VS. UTEP
Tickets are on sale for the Wednesday's matchup with the UTEP Miners at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Miss. Doors open at 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. tipoff. Tickets can be purchased online at www.desotociviccenter.com or www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or at the DeSoto Civic Center box office. Prices are $100 for courtside seats and $16 for all other seats.
- Ole Miss entered the rankings this week at No. 25 in the AP poll and is still receiving votes in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
- The Rebels lead the all-time series with the Cowboys 6-1, including a 4-0 mark in Oxford. Ole Miss also boasts a 43-2 all-time mark against current members of the Southland Conference.
- At 82.1 ppg, Ole Miss' offense ranks second in the SEC and entered the week ranked 18th nationally.
- Ole Miss has a 45-11 record against non-conference opponents under Kennedy.
- Kennedy has directed Ole Miss to a 48-7 home record in his four seasons at the helm, including a 30-1 mark against non-league foes at Tad Smith Coliseum.
- Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams with 8.6 steals/game and a +3.9 turnover margin.
- Preseason All-SEC and preseason Naismith and Wooden Award candidate Terrico White ranks fifth in the SEC with 17.0 ppg.
- Preseason All-SEC point guard Chris Warren ranks fourth in the league with 17.5 ppg and tied for second with 3.0 3-pointers per contest.
SCOUTING THE COWBOYS
McNeese State enters Saturday's contest with a 3-4 overall record. The Cowboys are coming off a 101-54 win over NAIA Paul Quinn College and also have victories over Louisiana College and Louisiana-Lafayette. Dave Simmons' squad relies on a stingy defense allowing just 65.4 ppg, while producing 9.6 steals per contest. McNeese holds a +3.3 turnover margin, but is getting outrebounded by an average of 2.9 boards per game (34.0-31.1). Three Cowboys average in double figure points, led by Stephan Martin's 12.3 ppg. Patrick Richard adds 11.9 ppg, and Diego Kapelan chips in 10.9 ppg. As a team, McNeese scores 69.0 ppg.
OLE MISS-MCNEESE STATE SERIES
The Rebels and Cowboys will be meeting for the eighth time in the history of the series, with Ole Miss holding a 6-1 overall advantage and 4-0 lead in games played in Oxford. The teams last squared off on Nov. 23, 1999, when Ole Miss blew out McNeese 86-59 at Tad Smith Coliseum. The Cowboys' lone win came on Christmas Eve 1994, a 76-70 decision in Lake Charles, La.
OLE MISS VERSUS SOUTHLAND FOES
Ole Miss owns a 43-2 all-time record against current members of the Southland Conference. McNeese State is the second Southland opponent on this year's slate (Ole Miss beat Texas A&M-CC 73-58 on Nov. 29). The Rebels' most frequest Southland foe is Southeastern Louisiana (OM leads 16-0), while the only two losses against that conference were against McNeese (1994) and Lamar (1995).
REBELS IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss entered the AP poll at No. 25 this week. The Rebels are nationally ranked for the first time since the week of Jan. 28, 2008, when they were No. 24 in the AP and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The team is currently receiving votes in the coaches poll and has been getting votes in both polls each week since the preseason.
Ole Miss boasts a 45-11 record (.804 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, which includes a 30-1 record in games played in Oxford. This year's team is 7-1 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 48-7 (.873 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy's tenure, including a 4-0 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 179 of its last 218 games (.821 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 412-186 (.689 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.
Just when it looked like Ole Miss might be upset at home by Southern Miss, a pair of veteran guards stepped up in clutch fashion to save the day. With the Rebels trailing 77-71 and just 1:01 left in the game, Eniel Polynice drew a foul in the lane and sunk two big free throws to pull his team within four. After a five-second call on the USM in-bounds play, Chris Warren nailed a three from the corner to make it a one-point game. USM scored to make it 79-76, but Warren came back and drained his second straight from downtown to tie it up at 79-79. The biggest play ensued after the Golden Eagles missed a shot and a tip on their final possession, before Warren collected a long rebound, took one dribble and fired ahead to a streaking Polynice for the game-winning dunk with just 1.3 ticks left on the clock.
PROLIFIC OFFENSE IN THE EARLY GOING
Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to Ole Miss averaging 82.1 points per game, which is second-most among SEC teams and 18th in the nation entering this week. The team has put up 80+ points in five of the first eight games and 90+ in two contests so far. Ole Miss has posted a 40+ point half in every game this season. Five players average 9 or more ppg, led by Chris Warren's 17.5 average and Terrico White's 17.0 average.
REBELS' "D" TURNS UP THE HEAT
Ole Miss has proven itself as a high-pressure defensive squad this season. The Rebels rank third in the SEC with 8.6 steals/game and third with a +3.9 turnover margin.
IT'S RAINING THREE'S
With an abundance of shooters in its backcourt-heavy lineup, Ole Miss is getting plenty of production from behind the arc this season. The Rebels rank third among SEC teams with 8.0 three's made per game. They drained a season-high 12 treys against Southern Miss, tied for the fifth-highest single game total in school history.
Individually, Chris Warren leads the way with 24 3-pointers, ranking second in the SEC with 3.0/game. Zach Graham has drained 13 shots from downtown, including a career-high four triples in each of the last two outings. Terrico White has added 11 three's.
REBELS VALUE THE BALL
Ole Miss has shown itself to be one of the better SEC teams at limiting its turnovers in the early season. The Rebels average 13.1 turnovers per game and rank third among league teams with a +3.9 turnover margin and fourth with a 1.1 assist-turnover ratio (14.4-A / 13.1-T). Ole Miss had just five turnovers in the season opener vs. UALR and gave up the ball just six times vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.
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 third in the SEC with 2.4 blocks per game, has helped the Rebels average 6.3 swats per contest, fourth-best among SEC teams and 14th in the nation entering the week. The team's 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 last 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.
Junior guard Chris Warren has already posted three games of 20+ points this season, tied for second-most among SEC players. Warren has 17 career 20-point games, and both he and sophomore guard Terrico White rank in the top 10 among active SEC players in that category.
WARREN CLOSING IN ON 1,000 POINTS
With 20 points vs. Southern Miss, junior point guard Chris Warren now has 910 career points, needing just 90 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 54 games. Gerald Glass is the fastest Rebel to reach 1,000 points, doing so in his 37th career game.
CLIMBING THE CAREER 3-POINT CHART
Junior guard Chris Warren has climbed the Ole Miss career 3-point chart at a record pace and currently sits in a tie for sixth place all-time with former teammate David Huertas at 152 career treys.
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 fourth in the SEC with 17.5 ppg and tied for second with 3.0 3-pointers per game. He is averaging 19.8 ppg over the last six outings. He poured in 20 points, including a clutch pair of three's in the final minute, in the comeback win over Southern Miss, while adding six assists. 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 five of his last six games, including a season-high 6 treys against USM.
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 17.0 ppg, which is fifth-best among SEC players. He had 15 points with a pair of treys against Southern Miss. 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 26th in the league with 4.8 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 to tally 9 points and a season-high 13 rebounds at Arkansas State.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Tied for third among SEC players and tops among freshmen with 2.4 blocks per game ... Made his first career start vs. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and scored 8 points ... 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: 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: Tied career high with 4 3-pointers en route to 15 points vs. Southern Miss ... 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: Has made his first 10 field-goal attempts of the season, including 3-of-3 from downtown ... Career-high 12 points (5-of-5 FGs) vs. Texas A&M-CC ... 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 9.8 ppg, 3.6 rebounds/game, 4.0 assists/game (7th SEC) and 1.6 steals/game (T-10th SEC) ... Had 15 points, 6 assists and the game-winning dunk with 1.3 seconds left vs. Southern Miss ... 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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