Ole Miss Hoops Battles Bradley Friday

Rebels Wrap-Up Fourth Game in Nine Days with 6 p.m. Tipoff at The Pavilion

Ole Miss Hoops Battles Bradley Friday December 21, 2017


Matchup: Bradley (10-2) vs. Ole Miss (6-5)
Date: Friday, December 22, 2017
Time: 6 p.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Arena: The Pavilion at Ole Miss (9,500)
Television: SECN+
Richard Cross, play-by-play
Marc Dukes, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Carter, analyst
Series: Bradley leads 3-2
Last Meeting: Dec. 19, 2016
Ole Miss won 66-49
Oxford, Miss.

Holiday Hoopla – First 1,000 fans receive an Ole Miss holiday ornament

– The Rebels and Braves square off for the third straight season with Ole Miss winning the last two matchups.
– Friday’s game will be the Rebels’ last non-conference game before beginning SEC play.
– Last year, Ole Miss held Bradley to 49 points, the lowest output by an opposing team in The Pavilion.
– Ole Miss is playing its fourth game in a span of nine days, all at home.
– The Rebels are coming off an 85-63 victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in which they hit 14 three-pointers, one off the school record.
– Ole Miss dished out 25 assists in the win over the Islanders (Dec. 19), the most in a game since Dec. 19, 2009 versus Centenary.
– Justas Furmanavicius and Dominik Olejniczak led Ole Miss with 15 apiece Tuesday night, a career high in scoring for both Rebels; Furmanavicius made a career-high five three-pointers, while Olejniczak shot 6 of 7 from the floor.
– Five of the Rebels’ six victories this season have been by double digits, including three wire-to-wire wins.
– The Rebels have used seven different starting lineups in 11 games, one of eight teams nationally to have done that.
– Guards are accounting for 70.9 percent of the Rebels’ scoring.
– The Rebels rank second in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (1.5), ranking 17th nationally.
– Senior Deandre Burnett ranks second in the SEC and 29th nationally with a 2.9 assist/turnover ratio; he’s recorded 46 assists (6.6 per game) over the past seven games.
– Burnett and sophomore Breein Tyree (2.3 assist/turnover ratio) make up the only guard duo to rank top six in assist/turnover ratio in the SEC.
– With 87 career blocks, senior Marcanvis Hymon ranks 11th on the school’s all-time list and is two away from jumping into the top 10.
– Terence Davis has scored double digits in 24 of the last 26 games dating back to last season.
– Ole Miss is in the 12th season of the Andy Kennedy era; Kennedy, the Dean of the SEC, is the winningest coach in school history with 240 victories.
– Only 11 games into this season, Kennedy already has the fifth-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first 12 years in the league at one school.

Bradley enters Friday’s matchup with a 10-2 record, winners of three straight and eight of its last nine. The Braves are in the midst of a four-game road trip and have won their first two contests away from home with wins over Chicago State (84-58) and Southeast Missouri (75-67). Sophomore guard Darrell Brown leads Bradley in scoring with 12.9 ppg. Forwards Elijah Childs and Donte Thomas each average over eight points and six rebounds per game. Bradley is one of the best defensive teams in the country, surrendering only 59.2 ppg and limiting the opposition to a 27.5 percent clip from beyond the arc. Brian Wardle is in his third season as Bradley’s head coach after spending five years as the head coach at Green Bay.

Ole Miss and Bradley will face off on the hardwood for the third straight season. The Braves lead the all-time series 3-2, but the Rebels have won the past two contests. The two schools first met on Dec. 11, 1971 in Nashville, Tennessee, where Bradley emerged with a narrow 72-71 victory. The Braves also claimed wins in back-to-back seasons (Dec. 29, 1993 and Dec. 28, 1994) before the series took a 21-year hiatus. In one of the final games at Tad Smith Coliseum, Ole Miss claimed a 67-54 win over Bradley (Nov. 28, 2015). One year later, last season, the Rebels emerged victorious in The Pavilion 66-49 (Dec. 19, 2016).

In last season’s matchup, 368 days ago, Terence Davis scored 19 points (a career high at the time) and Sebastian Saiz posted his second straight double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds as Ole Miss blasted Bradley 66-49. Cullen Neal scored 12 while Saiz posted his sixth double-double of the season for the Rebels, who were never seriously threatened. The Braves shot 18 of 58 (31 percent) from the field overall, trailed 38-19 at halftime and never got closer than 17 points again. Ole Miss was 23 of 55 (41 percent) from the field, including 9 of 28 from 3-point range, and out-rebounded Bradley 41-36. Ole Miss went on an 11-0 run during a two-minute frame late in the first half to build a 19-point halftime cushion. Bradley’s 49 points were the lowest output by an opponent in the history of The Pavilion at Ole Miss.

Ole Miss is 9-11 all-time against the current members of the Missouri Valley Conference. Along with going 2-3 against Bradley throughout history, the Rebels have also faced Drake (1-0), Evansville (2-0), Illinois State (0-4), Indiana State (1-1), Loyola-Chicago (1-0), Southern Illinois (1-2) and Valparaiso (1-1). Friday’s game is the Rebels’ second contest versus a Missouri Valley opponent over the last six days (three games). Ole Miss fell to Illinois State 101-97 in overtime on Saturday (Dec. 16).

The Rebels were brought a storm of threes into The Pavilion on Tuesday night. Ole Miss hit 14 from long distance, one off the school record set against Syracuse (March 18, 2017) and Oregon (Dec. 8, 2013), to cruise to an 85-63 victory. The Rebels started out 9 of 15 (60 percent) from beyond the arc in the first half before finishing the game 14 of 30 (46.7 percent). The shooting barrage marked the fifth time in program history that the Rebels sank 14 threes, the first time since a 76-73 win at Missouri (Feb. 8, 2014).

A pair of Rebels scored 15 points to record career highs in Tuesday’s victory over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Senior forward Justas Furmanavicius earned all of his points via the long ball, nailing a career-high five three-pointers. Sophomore center Dominik Olejniczak produced his best game the exact opposite way, working down low and shooting 6 of 7 in the post to go along with converting 3 of 4 free throws. Olejniczak also added a career-high three blocks on the defensive end after entering the contest with two blocks on the year.

Ole Miss is 5-1 in games decided by double digits. When the margin is less than 10, the Rebels are only 1-4. Three of those single-digit setbacks occurred in overtime, and the close encounters have hindered a better record. In half of their wins, the Rebels have never had to face a deficit. Ole Miss led throughout in victories over Eastern Kentucky (Nov. 13), Sam Houston State (Dec. 13) and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Dec. 19).

Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy’s squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 138-37 (.789 win pct.) in home games during Kennedy’s tenure. In two seasons playing in the $96.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss, the Rebels hold a 25-11 (.694) advantage against the opposition. Ole Miss has won 263 of its last 332 games (.792 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1996-97 campaign.

The Ole Miss bench has played a prominent role in scoring through the early part of the 2017-18 campaign, averaging 29.7 points per game. In four of the Rebels’ 11 games, the bench has scored at least 40 points. The season high for bench points occurred against Utah (Nov. 20) in Las Vegas, as the reserves tallied 46 of the team’s 74 points.

Andy Kennedy has proven to develop guards during his time at Ole Miss. Over Kennedy’s 11 seasons in Oxford, 12 guards have earned All-SEC accolades to rank third among conference teams. This season, the depth at guard shows in terms of scoring. Ole Miss guards have accounted for 70.9 percent of the Rebels’ points. The top four scorers on the team are guards led by Terence Davis (15.3 ppg), Deandre Burnett (14.8 ppg) and Markel Crawford (10.0 ppg). Freshman Devontae Shuler adds 9.4 ppg, while Breein Tyreecontributes 8.9 ppg (sixth on team).

Ole Miss has taken care of the basketball this season. The Rebels have coughed up the rock only 131 times, ranking 31st nationally in fewest turnovers surrendered. Also by dishing out 17.8 assists per game (26th nationally), the Rebels’ 1.5 assist/turnover ratio sits second in the SEC and 17th in the country. Senior guard Deandre Burnett holds the second-best individual assist/turnover ratio in the SEC at 2.9, which ranks 29th nationwide. Fellow guard Breein Tyree ranks sixth in the conference with a 2.3 assist/turnover ratio, making Ole Miss the only SEC team to have two guards ranked in the conference’s top six of that category.

With more depth than last year’s squad, head coach Andy Kennedy has the ability to experiment with starting lineups early on in the season to try to find the best starting five. Through 11 games, the Rebels have sent out seven different starting lineups. Ole Miss is one of eight teams nationally that has had at least seven different starting lineups over the first 11 games of the season.

After a breakout sophomore season last year, averaging 14.9 points per game after only providing 1.8 points per game as a freshman (largest increase in scoring among any returning player in the conference), Terence Davis has become a go-to scorer for Ole Miss. The Southaven, Mississippi, native has scored in double figures in 24 of the last 26 games dating back to last season. Leading the Rebels with 15.3 ppg, Davis ranks 10th in the SEC. He has already reached the 20-point plateau three times, recording 21 in the season opener versus Louisiana (Nov. 10) before putting up 24 in a win over Georgia State one week later (Nov. 17). Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Davis scored 20 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. He has also showcased his skills on the defensive end, ranking second in blocks (13) and third in steals (11). As a sophomore last year, Davis ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage (48.2) and recorded 20+ points in six different games. He became a playmaker on both sides of the floor, leading the Rebels with 50 steals as well.

A first team preseason all-conference selection, senior Deandre Burnett is embracing his role as a leader. Burnett is averaging 14.8 ppg, ranking second on the team, while leading the Rebels with 56 assists. Not only does he pace Ole Miss in assists, but Burnett takes care of the ball by ranking second in the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (2.9). Over the last seven games, he has produced 46 assists (6.6 per game). The Miami Gardens, Florida, native is shooting 41.1 percent (44 of 107) from the floor, including 85.5 percent (55 of 64) from the free throw line. As an 87.6 percent shooter at the line for his career, he is on pace to finish as the second-best free throw shooter in Ole Miss history. Last season, his first as a Rebel, Burnett averaged a team-high 16.5 ppg and finished fifth in the SEC in both free-throw percentage (.881) and three-point percentage (.376). Finishing eighth in the league in scoring, Burnett reached double figures in 26 of 33 games, including 10 20-plus performances and a career-high 41-point output (Nov. 18, 2016 vs. Oral Roberts). He also shared the rock, providing 104 assists throughout the season (3.2 apg).

Despite coming off the bench in eight of the team’s 11 games, senior guard Deandre Burnett ranks in the top 10 of the SEC in multiple categories: assist/turnover ratio (2nd-2.9), free throws made (3rd-55), assists per game (4th-5.1), total assists (4th-56) and free throw percentage (9th-.859). He sits top 100 in all of those categories, including 29th in assist/turnover ratio.

Heading into the season, a big question mark for Ole Miss was who would fill the void left by Sebastian Saiz. With the help of a school-record 409 rebounds, Saiz recorded 23 double-doubles a season ago. Senior Marcanvis Hymon has been the focal point of the front court that needs to replace Saiz. In his fourth year at Ole Miss, the Memphis, Tennessee, native is the only active player to spend all four seasons in Oxford. Through 11 games, Hymon leads the Rebels with 6.7 rpg. He has reached double digits in rebounds three times this year, including a 12-point, 13-rebound performance in the season opener versus Louisiana (Nov. 10). The big opening game marked the third double-double in Hymon’s career. Through 85 career games, Hymon is moving up the school’s career blocks chart. With a team-high 17 already this year, he ranks 11th with 88 career rejections following a team-high 40 last season.

A 4-star guard out of perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, there was a lot of hype surrounding Devontae Shuler entering the season. The freshman is averaging 9.4 ppg in 21.4 minutes per game and swiping a team-high 16 steals (eighth in the SEC). He has converted at the free throw line, making nine of his 10 attempts for a 90.0 percent clip. Against South Dakota State, he recorded a career-high 19 points on 8 of 14 shooting to go along with a team-high three steals. In his debut, Shuler recorded 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench. The Irmo, South Carolina, native knocked down four shots from beyond the arc versus Louisiana (Nov. 10), and his offensive output was the most points by a freshman in a season opener since Trevor Gaskins recorded 21 versus Mississippi Valley State, exactly 10 years ago (Nov. 10, 2007).

As a graduate transfer, Markel Crawford is already making his mark in his only season with the Rebels. The Memphis product has started 10 of the Rebels’ 11 games and leads the team in minutes per game (30.4), which ranks 13th in the SEC. He also is second on the team in steals (12) and averages 10.0 points per game. Versus Sam Houston State last week, Crawford entered the game with only six three-pointers through eight games. In the first half, he drilled four treys that led to a team-high 16 points in the win over the Bearkats. Against South Dakota State (Nov. 28), Crawford scored 19 points, his most as a Rebel, on 7 of 11 shooting.

When he’s inserted into the starting lineup, junior college transfer Bruce Stevens puts together his best performances as a Rebel. Coming off the bench in eight games, Stevens has scored a total of 50 points (6.3 ppg). He’s scored that same amount in his three combined starts, averaging 16.7 ppg. In his first start, at Middle Tennessee (Dec. 9), he recorded 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting in 25 minutes for his first double-digit scoring game of the season. Stevens followed that game with a career-high 13-point night in a win over Sam Houston State (Dec. 13), going 6 of 7 from the floor. On Saturday, Stevens was unstoppable versus Illinois State, posting a career-high 27 points that included going 7 of 9 from the floor and 13 of 16 from the free throw line. It was the most points scored this season by a Rebel. Stevens entered the game as a 62.1 percent free throw shooter (18-29). After knocking down 13 of 16, he increased his season percentage to 68.9 percent.

Ole Miss has been active with their hands on the defensive end of the floor, averaging 6.7 steals per game. Through 11 games, five Rebels have recorded at least eight steals. Devontae Shuler leads the way with 16 steals, ranking eighth in the SEC, while Markel Crawford and Terence Davis are closely behind with 12 and 11, respectively. Breein Tyreehas nine steals, while Marcanvis Hymon has eight of his own. Against the Utes (Nov. 20), the Rebels tallied 14 steals throughout the night, the most by them in a game since Feb. 14, 2017 vs. LSU and the most by an SEC team this season.

With the 12th season led by Mississippi native Andy Kennedy underway, Ole Miss has a 240-145 record, one SEC Tournament championship, two SEC West championships, nine 20-win campaigns and eight postseason berths, which includes two NCAA Tournament appearances and pair of trips to the NIT Final Four, throughout Kennedy’s watch. The all-time winningest coach in school history, Kennedy has averaged more than 21 wins per season in his 11 years in Oxford after the Rebels posted just three 21-win seasons in the 96 years before his arrival.

In his 12th season in the league, Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is the Dean of SEC basketball coaches. Kennedy has faced 38 different head coaches in the SEC during his time in Oxford. He is also the longest tenured head coach in the league in both basketball and football having entered the league prior to Alabama football coach Nick Saban.

Andy Kennedy is also fifth on the list for most wins by a coach in their first 12 years in the league after taking over an SEC program. See the list below:

1. Bill Donovan (Florida) – 285
2. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) – 279
3. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) – 265
4. Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) – 255
5. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 240
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) – 236
7. Hugh Durham (Georgia) – 219
8. Ray Mears (Tennessee) – 218
9. Dale Brown (LSU) – 212
10. C.M. Newton (Alabama) – 211
11. Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) – 204
11. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 204

Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is climbing the SEC coaching wins chart, ranking 18th with 240 career victories. See complete list below:

1. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 875
2. Billy Donovan (Florida) – 467
3. Dale Brown (LSU) – 448
4. C.M. Newtown (UA/VU) – 340
Harry Rabenhorst (LSU) – 340
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) – 332
7. Tubby Smith (UGA/UK) – 308
8. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) – 297
Hugh Durhman (Georgia) – 297
10. Rick Stansbury (MSU) – 293
11. Ray Mears (Tennessee) – 278
Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) – 278
13. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) – 265
John Mauer (UK/UT/UF) – 265
15. Hank Crisp (Alabama) – 264
16. John Calipari (Kentucky) – 257
17. Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) – 249
18. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 240 
19. Norm Sloan (Florida) – 232
20. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) – 219
21. Joel Eaves (Auburn) – 214

Following the holiday break, nine days off, Ole Miss begins SEC play against South Carolina on New Year’s Eve. The SEC opener will mark the end of five straight home games for Ole Miss. Tipoff is slated for 5 p.m. on ESPN2.