Ole Miss, MTSU Meet Wednesday In Southaven

OLEMISSSPORTSDOTCOM Terrance Henry (photo by Joey Brent)
Terrance Henry (photo by Joey Brent)

Dec. 19, 2011

Ole Miss Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

GAME 12: Ole Miss (9-2) vs. Middle Tennessee (10-2)
Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2011 | 8 p.m. CT
Southaven, Miss. | Desoto Civic Center

Television: CSS (Matt Stewart, play-by-play; Daymeon Fishback, 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 started 9-2 or better for the fourth time in six seasons under Andy Kennedy.
• Ole Miss players and coaches visited St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis on Monday.
• With the win over UL-Lafayette, Kennedy has the most wins by a Rebel coach in his first six years (114).
• Ole Miss owns a 61-22 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference and has won 19 straight.
• The Rebels are 74-19 in non-conference games under Kennedy.
• Ole Miss has a 2-1 record in neutral-site games this season.
• Four Rebels average double-figure points, and six players have led the team in scoring at least once this year.
• Senior F Terrance Henry scored a career-high 26 points in the most recent outing at Southern Miss.
• Junior F Reginald Buckner broke the school’s all-time career blocks record in the last outing at Southern Miss. He now has 183 career blocks. He ranks 2nd in the SEC and 24th nationally with 2.7 blocks/game this year.
• Freshman G LaDarius White and redshirt-freshman G Jelan Kendrick have both made their highly anticipated debuts since the fall semester ended.
• Junior F Murphy Holloway ranks 3rd among SEC players and 37th nationally in rebounding (9.5).

Ole Miss (9-2) and Middle Tennessee (10-2) will square off on a neutral floor when the teams play at the Desoto Civic Center on Wednesday. The Rebels had their six-game winning streak snapped at Southern Miss on Saturday, while the Blue Raiders look to extend their winning streak to three. After Wednesday, Ole Miss won’t play again until a Dec. 30 road date at Dayton.

New Ole Miss head football coach Hugh Freeze will speak to fans at the Desoto Civic Center prior to Wednesday's game. Freeze will speak in the arena's Main Banquet Room at 7 p.m. Fans with a ticket to the game will be granted admission, space permitting.

Ole Miss has started 9-2 or better for the fourth time in six seasons under Andy Kennedy. Through 11 games last season, Ole Miss was 8-3. The Rebels are looking to start at least 10-2 for the fourth time since 2006-07.

With last Wednesday’s victory over Louisiana-Lafayette, Andy Kennedy surpassed Rod Barnes for the most wins (114) in the first six seasons as Ole Miss head coach. Kennedy’s 114 wins already rank third in school history behind B.L. “Country” Graham (144 wins in 13 seasons) and Barnes (141 wins in 8 seasons).

With four blocks at Southern Miss, junior F Reginald Buckner surpassed Sean Murphy as the Rebels’ all-time career leader in blocked shots. In just 73 games, the Memphis native has accumulated 183 blocks. The school record was previously held by Murphy, who had 180 blocks in 117 games from 1988-91. Buckner’s 2.7 blocks average this season ranks second among SEC players and 24th nationally. His 183 career blocks are second-most among active SEC players (Alabama’s JaMychal Green has 186). He already holds the school record for blocks in a season and game.

Middle Tennessee is 10-2 on the year and coming off a quality win over Belmont (65-62) in its most recent outing. It was the second time the Blue Raiders have faced Belmont. MTSU lost the first matchup 87-84 in double OT on Nov. 20. This will be the first neutral-site game for the Blue Raiders, who are 6-1 at home and 4-1 in road contests. Kermit Davis’ team is averaging 76.8 ppg and surrending just 63.2 ppg to opponents. MTSU boasts a +3.8 rebounding margin (35.3-31.6), as well. A trio of Blue Raiders average double-figure points, led by LaRon Dendy (14.7 ppg), who also tops the club with 6.7 rpg. Marcus Knight adds 13.3 ppg and 5.8 rpg, while J.T. Sulton contributes 12.1 ppg and 6.1 rpg.

This will be the fifth meeting between the Rebels and Blue Raiders. The teams have split the first four matchups, with Ole Miss claiming a pair of wins in the 1960s and MTSU prevailing twice in the 1970s. They split in two previous neutral-site affairs (Ole Miss won 64-62 in Shreveport, La., in 1960; MTSU won 79-68 in Clemson, S.C., in 1974).

Ole Miss owns a 61-22 all-time record against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. The Rebels have won 19 straight games against Sun Belt teams, with their last loss coming on Dec. 1, 2004 (70-68 to Arkansas State). The Rebels are 2-0 so far this year with a season-opening win over Louisiana-Monroe (60-38) and a recent victory over Louisiana-Lafayette (66-54).

Wednesday’s opponent will be a very familiar one for Ole Miss assistant Al Pinkins, who held the same position at MTSU  under head coach Kermit Davis for the last seven seasons. Pinkins helped lead the Blue Raiders to the Sun Belt Championship game in 2008 and again in 2010 after winning the Sun Belt East Division title. He began his coaching career at MTSU as a graduate assistant in 2003-04 before being promoted to assistant coach the next year.

The Rebels boast a 74-19 record (.796 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07, including a 50-2 mark at home. The Rebels are 9-2 against non-league teams this year and went 12-4 a year ago, including a 12-3 mark during the regular season.

Ole Miss is taking advantage of its significant height and length advantage against the majority of its opponents this year. Only one scholarship player on the roster is listed at shorter than 6-4 (Dundrecous Nelson, 5-11), while eight Rebels who see significant minutes are listed at 6-7 or taller. Ole Miss ranks third among SEC teams in rebounding average (40.0) and fourth in rebounding margin (+4.4). The Rebels block 6.2 shots per game, which ranks fourth in the league and 17th in the nation.

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 seven outings (48.6). That has led to an improved season average of 43.4 percent through 11 games. The team’s focus on getting the ball into the paint before taking jump shots has been central to the improvement.

Four Rebels are averaging double-figure points through the first 11 games, led by Dundrecous Nelson with a 13.5 average. Following Nelson are Terrance Henry (11.9), Murphy Holloway (10.3) and Jarvis Summers (10.2). Six different players have led the team in scoring at least once, including the four previously mentioned, as well as Nick Williams and LaDarius White, who are averaging 9.2 and 7.3 ppg, respectively.

Senior F Terrance Henry posted a career-high 26 points in Saturday’s 86-82 loss at Southern Miss. Going up against smaller defenders, he made 10 of 14 shots from the field and drained 6 of 8 free throw attempts. His previous career high was 20 points against Alabama two years ago.

Junior F Murphy Holloway has posted some big numbers in his return to Ole Miss this year (following a one-year stint in South Carolina) and averages 10.3 ppg and 9.5 rpg (3rd in SEC). He ranks 37th nationally in rebounding. He is tied for second among SEC players with four double-doubles this year and ranks second among active league players with 18 in his career. He was the SEC Player of the Week after helping Ole Miss to wins over TCU and Miami.

Sophomore G Dundrecous Nelson has been hot from downtown of late. He has hit at least two 3-pointers in each of his last four games, including five vs. Louisiana-Lafayette and four at Southern Miss. The Jackson, Miss., native has strung together seven straight double-digit scoring performances after struggling with his shot in the first few games of the season. He now ranks 15th among all SEC players with a 13.5 scoring average and 11th with 2.1 3’s/game.

Freshman guard LaDarius “Snoop” White and redshirt-freshman guard Jelan Kendrick have both made their Rebel debuts in recent outings. White led the Rebels with 16 points in his debut against Mississippi Valley State. He made four 3-pointers and scored 14 points in the first half alone. Kendrick played eight minutes at Southern Miss in his debut. The NCAA required White to sit out the fall semester due to academic requirements he needed to fulfill, while Kendrick had to sit out a full year after transferring from Memphis in December 2010. The 6-foot-6 White and 6-foot-7 Kendrick add instant height, length and versatility to the Rebels’ backcourt.

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