GAME 10: Ole Miss (6-3) vs. Alabama State (1-5)
Monday 12.15.08 | 7 p.m. CT
Oxford, Miss. | C.M. Tad Smith Coliseum (9,061)
Live TV: CSS (Bob Neal, play-by-play; Richard Cross, analyst)
Live Radio: Ole Miss Radio Network (David Kellum, play-by-play; Keith Carter, analyst). Listen Online through RebelVision
XM Radio: Channel 199
REBELS RETURN HOME TO FACE ALABAMA STATE
After a two-game road swing, Ole Miss returns to the friendly confines of Tad Smith Coliseum for a showdown against Alabama State on Monday. Following the game against last year’s Southwestern Athletic Conference regular-season champion, the Rebels will prepare for a nationally televised battle Thursday against Rick Pitino’s highly ranked Louisville Cardinals in the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational in Cincinnati. Ole Miss is led by high-scoring guards David Huertas and Chris Warren, who both average more than 20 points per game and rank second and third in the SEC in scoring, respectively. Ole Miss boasts a 5-0 all-time record against the Hornets of ASU and a 28-0 mark all-time against SWAC schools. The Rebels also enter Monday’s game having won 25 of their last 26 home games against non-league foes.
SCOUTING THE HORNETS
Alabama State comes to Oxford with a 1-5 record. All five losses have been on the road, with three coming by less than 10 points, including a 76-67 defeat to Mississippi State in its most recent game. As a team, ASU has a 63.0 scoring average and shoots 41.9 percent from the field and 27.4 percent from 3-point. Seniors Brandon Brooks and last year’s SWAC Player of the Year Andrew Hayles pace the team with 12.7 and 11.5 ppg, respectively. 7-foot senior center Chief Kickingstallionsims has 3.0 blocks per contest. Head coach Lewis Jackson directed the Hornets to a 20-10 record a year ago and a first-place finish in the SWAC with a 15-3 league record.
OLE MISS-ALABAMA STATE SERIES
The Rebels boast a 5-0 all-time record against the Hornets with an average margin of victory of 21.2 points. Ole Miss has won all four games played in Oxford and the lone contest played in Montgomery on Dec. 1, 1999. The Rebels won 68-44 in the teams’ most recent meeting on Dec. 31, 2003, with Aaron Harper pacing Ole Miss with 21 points and Justin Reed adding 16.
REBELS VERSUS SWAC
Ole Miss enters Monday’s contest versus Alabama State with a perfect 28-0 record against teams that currently comprise the Southwestern Athletic Conference.
The Rebels have faced every SWAC school except Texas Southern, while having played Prairie View A&M the most times at six, followed by five contests with Alabama State and four against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
TOYS FOR TOTS DRIVE AT HOOPS THIS WEEK
Ole Miss has joined forces with the US Marine Corps Reserves to conduct a “Toys for Tots” drive at Monday’s men’s game vs. Alabama State and Wednesday’s women’s game against Arkansas Little-Rock. Fans can bring a new, unwrapped toy to the game and they’ll receive complimentary admission. The Marines will be on-site and will collect toys and donations.
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves “Toys for Tots” program is to collect and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. That means everything collected at Tad Smith Coliseum will go to kids right here in Lafayette County.
Ole Miss boasts a 35-8 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 three seasons.
IT’S RAINING THREE’S
Ole Miss has continued its reputation under head coach Andy Kennedy as a dominant 3-point shooting team in 2008-09. The Rebels rank first in the SEC and 43rd in the nation with 8.0 treys per game, while ranking third in the league with a .391 3-point field-goal percentage. They have drained 10 or more from downtown on three occasions, including each of the last two contests.
Individually, David Huertas is the SEC’s top 3-point marksman with 3.2 treys per game and a .468 3-point field-goal percentage, while Chris Warren is sixth with 2.4 three’s per outing.
FREE-THROW SHOOTING EXPLOITS
Ole Miss leads all Southeastern Conference teams and ranks 14th in the nation with a 77.2 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 87.3 percent free-throw shooting (48-of-55), while David Huertas ranks seventh at 80.8 (42-of-52). Zach Graham has only missed one free throw in 20 attempts (95.0 percent), while Terrance Henry is hitting at an 85.0 percent clip (17-of-20). It is a marked improvement from a year ago, when the Rebels made just 65.1 percent of their attempts.
TROUBLE AT “THE PIT”
Ole Miss struggled to find its game at “The Pit” on Saturday, dropping a 103-70 decision to New Mexico. The 33-point loss was the most lopsided defeat in the Andy Kennedy era and the worst for a Rebel team since an 80-40 loss at Kentucky on Feb. 22, 2006. It also was the first time Ole Miss has allowed an opponent to reach triple digits since a 100-87 loss at Arkansas on Feb. 5, 1998.
SEC/BIG EAST INVITATIONAL ON TAP
Following Monday’s home game vs. Alabama State, Ole Miss will again take to the road, this time for a nationally televised matchup (ESPN) on Thursday against Rick Pitino’s highly ranked Louisville Cardinals in the SEC/BIG EAST Invitational from Cincinnati, Ohio. The Cardinals will be the second BIG EAST opponent for the Rebels this year. Ole Miss dropped an 80-78 decision to West Virginia in Oxford on Dec. 3. Ole Miss will enter the contest with two wins in its last three games against ranked foes.
VOTING BEGINS FOR ALL-CENTURY TEAM
As part of the celebration of the First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball, the athletics department will be naming an All-Century Team and are asking fans to help determine the honorees by voting online at OleMissSports.com. Click the All-Century Team link at the top right of the page.
The list of nominees includes any Rebel that earned All-SEC honors or scored 1,000 or more points in his career. Voting ends Jan. 31 at midnight. Fans must limit their selections to 10 and are asked to submit online only one ballot per person. The top 10 fan vote-getters will be guaranteed a spot on the All-Century team. The athletics department will determine any remaining members of the squad after consultation with the M-Club Alumni Chapter.
The celebration of the First 100 Years of Ole Miss Basketball will culminate with the unveiling of the All-Century Team at the Feb. 21 game against Georgia at Tad Smith Coliseum.
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 nine games. Each is averaging over 31 minutes per game (Warren-34.0, Huertas-31.9), while the duo combines for 40.8 points per contest, 53.2 percent of the team’s 76.7 average. In fact, Huertas and Warren have been the Rebels’ top two scorers in eight of the first nine games. Huertas ranks second in the SEC with 20.6 points per game, while Warren is third with a 20.2 average. Entering the week, Ole Miss is one of two teams in the nation with a pair of players averaging 20+ points (VMI’s Chavis and Travis Holmes - 21.0 and 20.1 ppg).
FRESHMEN MAKING STRIDES
With “veterans” David Huertas and Chris Warren scoring the bulk of the Rebels’ baskets, a couple of freshmen have had breakthrough performances in recent games. Against 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 has posted 13, 11 and 8 points in his past three games, knocking down six 3-pointers during that span.
CANTINOL HAS CAREER GAME AT UNO
Redshirt-freshman forward Kevin Cantinol, who had posted just three points and two rebounds in 21 minutes of action through the Rebels’ first seven games, showed up in a big way at New Orleans. The Caribbean native set career highs with eight points (4-4 FGs), four rebounds and 23 minutes played in the 78-65 win.
HUERTAS TAKES GAME TO A NEW LEVEL
David Huertas has had a hot shooting touch in the Rebels’ first nine games, averaging a team-high 20.6 points, good for 2nd in the SEC and 34th in the nation. The junior guard has scored 20 or more points in six of the nine contests. 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 week, he ranks among the SEC leaders in several categories this year, as listed below:
Huertas’ SEC Ranks (AS OF 12/14)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 2nd/34th 20.6/game
Rebounding T-27th 4.7/game
FG Percentage 5th 52.8
FT Percentage 7th 80.8
3-pt FG Percentage 1st 46.8
3-pt FGs Made 1st 3.2/game
Minutes Played 4th 31.9/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. In addition to his career-high 29 points against New Orleans, he also hasmade contributions with assists, steals and three-pointers. Entering the week, he ranks third in the SEC with 20.2 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 12/14)
Category SEC/NCAA Rank Statistic
Points 3rd/T-39th 20.2/game
Assists 10th 3.9/game
FT Percentage 3rd 87.3
Steals 4th/T-40th 2.4/game
3-pt FGs Made 6th 2.4/game
Assist-Turnover Ratio 12th 1.5
Minutes Played 2nd 34.0/game
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 nine games, while Warren has done so five 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 a 2-point loss to West Virginia (Huertas 23, Warren 20). For their career, Warren now has 14 20+ point outings, while Huertas has racked up seven.
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 22 treys this year, Warren has moved into eighth place all-time with 125. Huertas has knocked down 29 from long range and in the New Orleans game became the 10th player in school history to knock down 100 shots from beyond the arc.
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. 125 Chris Warren (44 games, 2008-present)
9. 107 Kendrick Fox (112 games, 2002-05)
10. 104 David Huertas (44 games, 2008-present)
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: Has hit 19-of-20 free throws through the first nine games ... Scored 12 points at New Mexico ... Contributed 9 points and 5 boards 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.
Terrance Henry: 6-foot-9 forward is hitting free throws at an 85 percent clip (17-of-20) ... Tied season high with 9 points at New Mexico, also blocked 3 shots ... Had 9 points 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: Tied for the team lead with a 4.7 rebounding average ... Leads team and ranks eighth in SEC with 2.4 offensive boards per game ... Team-high 7 rebounds at New Mexico ... 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 first six games as a sophomore after playing in 26 contests with no starts his rookie season ... Tops the team and ranks ninth in the SEC in blocked shots with 13 (1.4/game).
Terrico White: 11 points, 4 rebounds at New Orleans ... 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 ... Earned his first starting nod in the 82-78 win over Marshall ... Season-high 5 assists vs. South Alabama ... First Memphis signee for Kennedy’s program.
REBELS ON TV
Monday’s game vs. Alabama State, televised by CSS, is the third of at least 15 games that will be on TV this season, marking the 11th straight season that the Rebels will have played 10 or more TV games. Nationally televised contests include this Thursday vs. Louisville (ESPN), Jan. 27 vs. Kentucky (ESPN) and Feb. 7 at Vanderbilt (CBS). Ole Miss followed up a school-record 22 TV appearances in 2006-07 with 20 more last year.