Ole Miss Aims For Sixth Straight Win Wednesday

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM LaDarius White (photo by Robert Jordan)
LaDarius White (photo by Robert Jordan)

Dec. 13, 2011

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GAME 10: Ole Miss (8-1) vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (5-6)
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011 | 6 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)

Television: CSS (Richard Cross, play-by-play; Sonny Smith, analyst).
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst).
Satellite Radio: SIRIUS 219, XM 199
Live Video: ESPN3.com
Live Audio: RebelVision


• Ole Miss has won at least eight of its first nine games for the third time in the last six years.
Andy Kennedy has tied Rod Barnes’ school record for wins in his first six years at the helm (113).
• Freshman G LaDarius White made his Rebel debut vs. MVSU (team-high 16 points).
• Redshirt-freshman G Jelan Kendrick is expected to be available vs. Louisiana-Lafayette.
• Junior F Reginald Buckner needs 2 blocks to take over sole possession of the school’s all-time career record. He currently ranks 2nd in the SEC and 18th nationally with 2.9 blocks/game.
• The Rebels are 73-18 in non-conference games under Andy Kennedy.
• The Rebels are 76-15 in home games under Kennedy, including a 49-2 record against non-league foes.
• Ole Miss is 60-22 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference.
• Ole Miss’ shooting percentage is nearly 15 points higher in the last five games (50.4) than the first four (35.9).
• Rookie G Jarvis Summers was last week’s SEC Freshman of the Week after scoring 27 points at Penn State and making clutch plays down the stretch in wins over the Nittany Lions and DePaul.
• Junior F Murphy Holloway ranks 2nd among SEC players and 26th nationally in rebounding (9.8).

Andy Kennedy’s Rebels look to extend their winning streak to six when they host Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday. Ole Miss won its fifth straight with an 80-56 thrashing of Mississippi Valley State on Saturday behind freshman guard LaDarius White’s team-high 16 points in his college debut. The Rebels are expecting to complete their 2011-12 roster with the addition of redshirt-freshman guard Jelan Kendrick, who is now eligible after sitting out a full year since transferring from Memphis. The team’s balanced offensive attack features five players that average double-figure points.

With an 8-1 start this season, the Rebels have won at least eight of their first nine games in three of Andy Kennedy’s six seasons at the helm. They started 8-1 in 2009-10 and 9-0 in 2007-08. Through nine games last season, Ole Miss was 7-2. The Rebels are looking to start 9-1 for the third time since 2007-08.

Freshman guard LaDarius “Snoop” White led the Rebels with 16 points in his anticipated college debut against Mississippi Valley State. He made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first half alone. The NCAA required him to sit out the fall semester due to academic requirements he needed to fulfill. Redshirt-freshman Jelan Kendrick is now eligible to play after sitting out a full year since transferring from Memphis, and is expected to be available against Louisiana-Lafayette. The 6-foot-6 White and 6-foot-7 Kendrick add instant height, length and versatility to the Rebels’ backcourt.

With Saturday’s victory over Mississippi Valley State, Andy Kennedy tied Rod Barnes for the most wins (113) in the first six seasons as Ole Miss head coach. A win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Wednesday would give Kennedy sole possession of the school record for wins in the first six years at the helm.

Louisiana-Lafayette comes to Oxford with a 5-6 overall record and two wins in its last three outings. The Ragin’ Cajuns are 4-1 at home this year but have yet to win a true road game (0-4). The team averages 73.3 ppg and limits opponents to 67.2 ppg. Junior F Kadeem Coleby tops the squad with 11.4 ppg. Sophomore F J.J. Thomas adds 10.1 ppg and a team-high 6.3 rpg, but he’s missed the last four games due to injury. Senior F Darshawn McClellan, a former Vanderbilt Commodore, has averaged 12.8 ppg over the last four while starting in place of Thomas.

This is the seventh meeting between the Rebels and Ragin’ Cajuns. ULL leads the all-time series 4-2, thanks to four straight wins in the 1980s and early ‘90s. Ole Miss won the most recent matchup 69-54 in Oxford on Nov. 14, 2006, which was Andy Kennedy’s second game as head coach. Clarence Sanders scored 22 points for the Rebels that day.

Ole Miss owns a 60-22 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. The Rebels are 1-0 so far this year with a season-opening win over Louisiana-Monroe (60-38). They went 2-0 last year with wins over Arkansas State and UALR.

Two Rebels hail from the Pelican State - senior forward Terrance Henry (Monroe) and redshirt-freshman guard Will Norman (Lafayette).

Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy’s squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 76-15 (.835 win pct.) in games played at Tad Smith Coliseum during Kennedy’s tenure, including a 4-0 record this season. Ole Miss has won 207 of its last 254 games (.815 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1995-96 campaign. The Rebels have an all-time record of 440-194 (.694 win pct.) at Tad Smith Coliseum, which opened in 1965-66.

The Rebels boast a 73-18 record (.802 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, including a 49-2 mark at home. The Rebels are 8-1 against non-league teams this year and went 12-4 a year ago, including a 12-3 mark during the regular season.

Junior F Reginald Buckner needs one blocked shot to tie and two to break the all-time school career record. He had six in the most recent outing against Mississippi Valley State. In just 71 games, the Memphis native has accumulated 179 blocks, which is second-most among active SEC players (Alabama’s JaMychal Green has 186). The school record is held by Sean Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner’s 2.9 blocks average this season ranks second among SEC players and 18th nationally. He already holds the school record for blocks in a season and game.

Three recent Rebel wins have each achieved a remarkable feat for the program:

• First home win over an ACC team (defeated Miami 64-61 in OT)
• First road win over a Big East team (defeated DePaul 70-68)
• First road win over a Big Ten team (defeated Penn State 72-70)

It took some late heroics to earn victories in three recent games. With the Rebels down by one point and 34 seconds left at Penn State, Jarvis Summers made a layup-and-one for the winning 72-70 margin. At DePaul, Murphy Holloway made a steal and coast-to-coast layup with 3.7 seconds left to propel the Rebels to a two-point win. Against Miami, it was all about clutch free throws. Terrance Henry and Dundrecous Nelson made key shots from the charity stripe to force overtime before Jarvis Summers put the game away with three crucial free throws in the last 30 seconds of OT.

Rookie point guard Jarvis Summers blew up for 27 points at Penn State and was honored as the SEC Freshman of the Week last Monday. His career-high point total against the Nittany Lions was the highest by a Rebel this season. The 6-foot-4, 184-pound floor general made 10 of 16 shots from the field, 4 of 5 from behind the arc and 3 of 4 from the charity stripe, while adding four rebounds and three assists in an all-around quality floor game. With his team down 70-69 and 34 seconds remaining, Summers made a big-time drive to the basket for a layup-and-one to provide the winning 72-70 margin. The Jackson, Miss., native also posted 12 points, three assists and two steals and tied the game at 68-68 with a clutch jumper in a 70-68 win at DePaul.

Ole Miss is tied for third among SEC teams and 71st in the most recent NCAA rankings allowing 61.8 points per game to opponents. The team ranks fourth in the league and 39th in the NCAA in field-goal percentage defense at 38.2. The Rebels have held seven of nine opponents under 70 points. They held each of their first two foes under 40 points (defeated Louisiana-Monroe 60-38 and Grambling State 69-39), which marked the two lowest scores by a Rebel opponent in the Andy Kennedy era. The Warhawks’ 38 points are the fewest by a Rebel opponent since giving up 38 to Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 28, 2002.

Ole Miss struggled mightily with its shooting in the season’s first four games (35.9 percent) but has seen a much greater percentage of its shots fall in the last five outings (50.4). That has led to an improved season average of 43.2 percent through nine games. The team’s focus on getting the ball into the paint before taking jump shots has been central to the recent improvement.

Five Rebels are averaging double-figure points through the first nine games. After playing his first game on Saturday, LaDarius White averages 16.0 ppg. Among those who have played from the start, Dundrecous Nelson leads the way with a 12.1 average, followed by Murphy Holloway (11.2), Terrance Henry (10.7) and Jarvis Summers (10.1). Nick Williams checks in at 9.9. Each of these six has led the team in scoring at least once this year.

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