GAME NOTES: Top-15 Showdown In Morgantown
GAME 12: #15/21 Ole Miss (10-1) at #6/6 West Virginia (8-0)
TOP-15 SHOWDOWN IN MORGANTOWN
The No. 15 Ole Miss Rebels take their six-game winning streak on the road as they face undefeated No. 6 West Virginia in a nationally televsied showcase on Wednesday. Ole Miss is red-hot with its six straight victories and its only loss this season to No. 5 Villanova in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Rebels rank sixth in the nation scoring 85.4 points per game and are coming off a 108-64 drubbing of Centenary. West Virginia represents the second true road game of the year for the Rebels, who beat Arkansas State in Jonesboro by a score of 79-57 on Dec. 2. Ole Miss will be looking for its first ever victory over a non-conference opponent ranked top 10 in the nation.
- Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the third straight week. The Rebels are No. 15 in the AP poll and No. 21 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
- West Virginia is the second top-10 ranked opponent Ole Miss has faced this year.
- The Mountaineers won the only previous matchup between these two teams by an 80-78 margin last year.
- Ole Miss has a 48-11 record against non-conference opponents under Kennedy.
- Ole Miss has never beaten a top-10 ranked non-league foe.
- At 85.4 ppg, Ole Miss leads the SEC and ranks sixth in the nation in scoring offense.
- The Rebels have been on fire from behind the arc in recent games and rank second in the SEC with 8.7 triples per contest.
- Preseason All-SEC point guard Chris Warren ranks second in the league with 18.3 ppg and 3.2 3-pointers per contest. He scored a career-high 32 points against UTEP and was named a candidate for the Bob Cousy Award (nation's top point guard) last week.
SCOUTING THE MOUNTAINEERS
West Virginia enters Wednesday's matchup with a perfect 8-0 record and a No. 6 national ranking. The Mountaineers are coming off an 80-78 win at Cleveland State in which Da'Sean Butler hit a game-winning layup with 1.2 seconds left. Bob Huggins' team averages 76.4 ppg and allows just 58.0 ppg to opponents. The team also out-rebounds foes by a +7.4 margin (36.6-29.3) and boasts a +5.8 turnover margin (commits 12.6, forces 18.4). Butler tops four players in double-figure points with a 16.9 average. Kevin Jones addes 15.5 ppg and a team-high 7.3 rpg, while Devin Ebanks scores 10.8 ppg and Darryl Bryant 10.6.
OLE MISS-WEST VIRGINIA SERIES
The Rebels and Mountaineers have faced just once before. West Virginia earned an 80-78 win over Ole Miss last year in Oxford. David Huertas had 23 points to lead the Rebels and Chris Warren added 20, but missed a potential game-winning 25-foot shot at the buzzer. Da'Sean Butler tallied 22 points for the Mountaineers and Alex Ruoff sealed the WVU win with a pair of free throws iwth 17.7 seconds left.
IN THE POLLS
Ole Miss is nationally ranked for the third straight week, climbing to No. 15 in the AP poll 21 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll. The Rebels have their highest ranking since they were also No. 15 the week of Jan. 21, 2008. The team has been receiving votes in both polls each week since the preseason.
West Virginia is No. 6 in both polls this week.
REBELS VS. RANKED FOES
The 6th-ranked Mountaineers represent the second ranked opponent for the Rebels this season (lost to No. 5 Villanova on Nov. 22). Ole Miss is 3-3 against top-25 opponents over the last three seasons and 4-8 in four years under head coach Andy Kennedy. The Rebels' last win over a ranked team was an 85-80 triumph against No. 24 Kentucky on Jan. 27 last season.
REBELS VS. NATION'S TOP 10
With a matchup against No. 6 West Virginia, the Rebels will be facing their second top 10 opponent of the season. The Rebels have yet to post a top-10 win during head coach Andy Kennedy's tenure, going 0-5 since he took over in 2006-07. The last Ole Miss win over a top-10 foe was an 84-56 thrashing of No. 6 Alabama on March 3, 2002 in Oxford. The last road win over a top-10 team was a 73-64 decision over Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Feb. 14, 1998. Ole Miss has never beaten a top-10 ranked non-league team.
A RARE OCCURRENCE
For just the second time in school history, Ole Miss will face two top-10 non-conference opponents in the same season (No. 5 Villanova, No. 6 West Virginia). The only other time this happened was the 1989-90 season when the Rebels squared off against No. 8 Illinois and No. 10 Arkansas during the non-league portion of the schedule.
KENNEDY, HUGGINS REUNITE
Wednesday's game features a reunion of head coaches Andy Kennedy and Bob Huggins, who spent four successful seasons together at the University of Cincinnati. With Kennedy as a top assistant and recruiting coordinator under Huggins from 2001-02 to 2004-05, the Bearcats won 24.5 games per year and made four NCAA tournament appearances along with a pair of Conference USA regular-season and tournament titles. When Huggins left Cincinnati prior to the 2005-06 season, Kennedy took over as UC's interim head coach and led an injury-riddled squad to a 21-13 record and NIT berth.
OLE MISS VERSUS BIG EAST FOES
Ole Miss owns a 7-9 all-time record against current members of the Big East Conference. West Virginia is the second of two Big East team's on this year's schedule. Ole Miss fell to No. 5 Villanova 79-67 in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off last month.
Ole Miss boasts a 48-11 record (.814 win pct.) against teams outside the SEC since Andy Kennedy took over in 2006-07. This year's team is 10-1 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).
THROUGH 11 GAMES
With 11 games under its belt, Ole Miss boasts a 10-1 record, its best mark through 11 games since the 2007-08 squad was a perfect 11-0 (opened season with 13 straight victories). It's the seventh time in school history that a team has started 10-1 or better. The Rebels were 7-4 at this point last year.
REBELS POST BIG NUMBERS VS. CENTENARY
The Rebel offense was clicking on all cylinders in Saturday's 108-64 rout of Centenary. The 108 points were the most since a 108-70 win over Lamar on Nov. 16, 2007, and the 44-point margin of victory was the highest since a 92-45 win over Morris Brown on Nov. 28, 2001. Ole Miss finished one assist shy of the school record of 33 set against Sam Houston State in 1989. The team's 67.7 field-goal percentage against the Gents was the fourth-highest in a game in school history.
Ole Miss ranks first in the SEC and sixth in the country with an average of 85.4 points per game. Fast-break buckets, slashing drives and a nice outside touch have been key components to such a prolific offense. The team has put up 80+ points in eight of the first 11 games, 90+ in four contests and a season-high 108 against Centenary. Ole Miss has posted a 40+ point half in every game this season. Five players average 10 or more ppg, led by Chris Warren's 18.3 average and Terrico White's 16.6 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 and 22nd in the nation with 8.7 three's made per game. They drained 12 treys against Southern Miss and UTEP, a total that is tied for the fifth-highest in a single game in school history.
Individually, Chris Warren leads the way with 35 3-pointers, ranking second in the SEC and 20th in the nation with 3.2/game. Zach Graham has drained 20 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 19 three's.
Ole Miss finished one shy of a school record with 32 assists in its 108-64 rout of Centenary on Saturday. The Rebels have been sharing the ball at a high rate this season and rank third among SEC teams with 15.9 assists per game. Eniel Polynice tops the squad with 4.5 dimes per game, and Chris Warren adds 3.5 per contest.
REBELS' "D" TURNS UP THE HEAT
Ole Miss has proven itself as a high-pressure defensive squad this season. The Rebels rank second in the SEC and 20th in the nation with a +4.6 turnover margin and are also fifth in the SEC with 8.5 steals/game.
Ole Miss got its 2009-10 road record off to a strong start with its 79-57 drubbing of Arkansas State in Jonesboro on Dec. 2. The Rebels are 3-1 in true road games against non-league opponents over the last three seasons.
BUCKNER TABBED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
After helping Ole Miss to wins over UTEP and Centenary, forward Reginald Buckner was named SEC Freshman of the Week on Monday. Buckner averaged 9.5 points on 88.9 percent shooting from the field to go with 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks in leading the Rebels to the pair of wins. He registered a season-high 11 points (5-of-6 from the field) to go with six rebounds and three blocks in the 91-81 OT win over UTEP and added eight points, four boards and three blocks in just 11 minutes of action in Saturday's 108-64 blowout against the Gents.
WARREN NAMED CANDIDATE FOR COUSY AWARD
Junior Chris Warren is one of 50 Division I candidates for the 2010 Bob Cousy Award, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Dec. 16. The annual award recognizes college basketball's top point guard. The Rebels' 5-foot-10, 168-pound floor general currently ranks second among SEC players with 18.3 points per game and 3.2 3-pointers per game. This original list of Cousy Award candidates will be narrowed down to a final 20 by Jan. 1, final 10 by Feb. 1 and final five by March 1.
WARREN CLOSING IN ON 1,000 POINTS
With nine points vs. Centenary, junior guard Chris Warren now has 971 career points, needing just 29 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 57 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 has moved into a tie for fourth place all-time with 163 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 second in the SEC with 18.3 ppg and second with 3.2 3-pointers per game (20th in the nation). He is averaging 20.5 ppg over the last eight outings and has hit three or more 3-pointers in seven of his last nine games. He posted his third straight 20-point game with a career-high 32 (5-of-10 3's, 13-of-15 FT's) - with 11 points in overtime - in the win over UTEP. 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 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).
CONSISTENCY FROM DOWNTOWN
Sophomore guard Terrico White and junior guard Chris Warren are entering rare territory with their current streaks of consecutive games with at least one 3-point field goal. White has hit a three in 23 straight games, tied for the third-best streak in school history, while Warren is right behind him at 21 straight.
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 16.6 ppg, which is seventh-best among SEC players. He led all scorers with 17 points in a rout of Centenary. He tallied 19 points, including 8-of-10 from the foul line, in the OT win over UTEP. 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, he tallied 13 points and 5 boards. He turned in 12 points and 5 boards vs. Centenary.
OTHER PLAYER POINTS
- Reginald Buckner: Third among SEC players and tops among freshmen with 2.5 blocks per game ... Season-high 11 points (5-of-6 FG's) with 6 rebounds and 3 blocks in the OT win over UTEP ... 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: 8 points, 6 rebounds vs. Centenary ... 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: Had 7 points and a season-high 4 assists vs. Centenary ... 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: Fifth straight double-digit scoring game with 12 points vs. Centenary, while also dishing out a career-high 5 assists ... 14 points to go with 7 boards in OT win over UTEP ... 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: Had 9 points and 6 boards vs. Centenary ... 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, 3.7 rebounds/game, 4.5 assists/game (7th SEC) and 1.7 steals/game (T-7th SEC) ... 13 points, 6 assists vs. Centenary ... Tied season high with 8 rebounds in OT win over UTEP ... 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: Against Centenary, posted 6 points, 3 assists, 2 boards and 2 blocks ... Made his Rebel debut in the opener and had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks in 10 minutes of action.
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