GAME NOTES: Ole Miss, UTEP Square Off In Southaven
GAME 10: #20/25 Ole Miss (8-1) vs. UTEP (5-1)
UTEP, NO. 20 OLE MISS SHOW DOWN IN SOUTHAVEN
Ole Miss enters Wednesday's neutral-site affair against UTEP ranked No. 20 in the nation with an 8-1 record and a four-game winning streak. The Rebels overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to race past the McNeese State Cowboys en route to an 83-67 win on Saturday. The four-game win streak also includes triumphs over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Arkansas State and Southern Miss. Ole Miss has its highest national ranking since it was No. 15 the week of Jan. 21, 2008. It is the second straight week the Rebels have been ranked during this season. Chris Warren (17.8 ppg) and Terrico White (16.3 ppg) rank third and seventh in the SEC in scoring, respectively, while the Rebels have the SEC's second-highest scoring average as a team.
- Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the second straight week.The Rebels are No. 20 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
- The Rebels and Miners have met just once previously, with Ole Miss claiming a 68-58 win in the championship game of the Sierra Providence SunClassic on 12/22/01.
- The Ole Miss and UTEP rosters have a combined eight Memphis natives between them - five Miners and three Rebels.
- At 82.2 ppg, Ole Miss' offense ranks second in the SEC and enters the week ranked 19th nationally.
- Ole Miss has a 46-11 record against non-conference opponents under Kennedy.
- Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams with a +4.7 turnover margin and 8.6 steals/game.
- Preseason All-SEC and preseason Naismith and Wooden Award candidate Terrico White ranks seventh in the SEC with 16.3 ppg.
- Preseason All-SEC point guard Chris Warren ranks third in the league with 17.8 ppg and second with 3.1 3-pointers per contest.
SCOUTING THE MINERS
UTEP enters Wednesday's game with a 5-1 record. The Miners are coming off their first defeat of the season, 87-80 to New Mexico State on Sunday. Former Memphis assistant Tony Barbee has led the Miners to improved records throughout his four-year tenure, including 23 wins a season ago. UTEP has been dominating in every win this season and averages 80.2 ppg, while allowing an average of 64.8 ppg to opponents. Five Miners boast double-digit scoring averages, led by Randy Culpepper's 18.3. Five UTEP players hail from Memphis, including all three of the team's top scorers - Culpepper, fellow starter Arnett Moultrie (13.3 ppg) and key reserve Jeremy Williams (12.2 ppg).
OLE MISS-UTEP SERIES
The Rebels and Miners have faced each other just once before. Ole Miss claimed a 68-58 victory in the championship game of the Sierra Providence SunClassic (El Paso, Texas) on Dec. 22, 2001, behind Justin Reed's 21 points.
There are numerous connections between the Ole Miss and UTEP players who hail from Memphis (three Memphians on the Rebel roster and five on the Miner roster). Ole Miss' Terrico White and UTEP's Gabriel McCulley were teammates at Craigmont High School. Ole Miss' DeAngelo Riley and UTEP's Myron Strong and Jeremy Williams played together last season at Southwest Tennessee CC in Memphis. Also, White and UTEP's Arnett Moultrie were teammates for the U.S. squad at this summer's FIBA U19 World Championships. The Bluff City duo helped Team USA win a gold medal in Auckland, New Zealand.
REBELS IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the second straight week, climbing to No. 20 in the AP poll and entering the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll at No. 25 this week. The Rebels have their highest ranking since they were No. 15 the week of Jan. 21, 2008. The team has been receiving votes in both polls each week since the preseason.
OLE MISS VERSUS CONFERENCE USA FOES
In non-SEC play, Conference-USA is Ole Miss' most faced league, and UTEP is the second of three C-USA teams on this year's schedule. The Rebels have an all-time record of 77-97 (.443 winning percentage) against current members of Conference USA, which includes such frequent foes as Tulane (35-55) and Memphis (11-27). Ole Miss has a 12-6 record versus current C-USA teams since the league was formed in the spring of 1995.
Ole Miss boasts a 46-11 record (.807 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07. This year's team is 8-1 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).
KENNEDY'S TEAMS LIKE NEUTRAL SITES
Ole Miss boasts a 10-4 record in regular-season neutral-site contests under head coach Andy Kennedy. This includes a 2-1 record this year (at the Puerto Rico Tip-Off) and a five-game win streak in such contests during the 2007-08 campaign.
DOWN, BUT NOT OUT
Ole Miss has made a pair of impressive comebacks to claim victories in its last two games. The Rebels came back from a six-point deficit in the final minute to beat Southern Miss 81-79 last Saturday. Then, it took a furious rally in the final 10 minutes to erase a 14-point deficit against McNeese State and beat the Cowboys 83-67 this past Saturday. Veterans Eniel Polynice and Chris Warren have been central in the comeback effors. Polynice slammed home the game-winning dunk against Southern Miss and had 10 points, 3 steals, 2 rebounds and 2 assists in a late 20-2 run against McNeese. Warren nailed a pair of huge 3-pointers in the final minute against the Golden Eagles and had the rebound and oulet pass that led to Polynice's game-winning dunk.
PROLIFIC OFFENSE IN THE EARLY GOING
Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to Ole Miss averaging 82.2 points per game, which is second-most among SEC teams and 19th in the nation entering this week. The team has put up 80+ points in six of the first nine 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 17.8 average and Terrico White's 16.3 average.
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 second among SEC teams with 8.1 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 28 3-pointers, ranking second in the SEC with 3.1/game. Zach Graham has drained 15 shots from downtown, including a career-high four triples in back-to-back outings at Arkansas State and vs. Southern Miss. Terrico White has added 14 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 12.4 turnovers per game (2nd-fewest in SEC), rank third among league teams with a +4.7 turnover margin and second with a 1.2 assist-turnover ratio (14.8-A / 12.4-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 and seven vs. McNeese State.
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 and 24th nationally with a +4.7 turnover margin and are also third in the SEC with 8.6 steals/game
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 2.3 blocks per game, has helped the Rebels average 6.1 swats per contest, fourth-best among SEC teams and 21st in the nation entering the week. The team's 12 blocks against Indiana in San Juan were one shy of a school record.
Junior guard Chris Warren has already posted four games of 20+ points this season, tied for most among SEC players. Warren has 18 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. McNeese State, junior point guard Chris Warren now has 930 career points, needing just 70 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 55 games. Gerald Glass is the fastest Rebel to reach 1,000 points, doing so in his 37th career game.
CLIMBING THE CAREER TREY CHART
Junior guard Chris Warren has climbed the Ole Miss career 3-point chart at a record pace and currently sits in a sixth place all-time with 156 career treys. He needs two more to move into the top five in school history.
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 third in the SEC with 17.8 ppg and second with 3.1 3-pointers per game. He is averaging 20.5 ppg over the last six outings. He posted his second straight 20-point game in the win over McNeese State. 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 six of his last seven games, including a season-high 6 treys against USM.
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 16.3 ppg, which is seventh-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.
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. Against McNeese State on Saturday, he tallied 13 points and 5 boards.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Third among SEC players and tops among freshmen with 2.3 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: Posted 8 points and 5 rebounds vs. McNeese State ... 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: Contributed 12 points and 5 rebounds vs. McNeese State ... 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.
- Terrance Henry: Made his first 10 field-goal attempts of the season, including 3-of-3 from downtown, before missing a trey against McNeese State ... 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 10.0 ppg, 3.6 rebounds/game, 4.6 assists/game (6th SEC) and 1.9 steals/game (T-5th SEC) ... Came up big in late rally vs. McNeese State to finish with 12 points and tie career highs with 9 assists and 4 steals ... 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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