REBEL HOOPS: Game 1 Notes – Louisiana (0-0) at Ole Miss (0-0)

The Pavilion at Ole Miss in Oxford, MS. – Photo by Josh McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics

GAME 1
Matchup: Louisiana (0-0) vs. Ole Miss (0-0)
Date: Friday, November 10, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Arena: The Pavilion at Ole Miss (9,500)
Television: SECN+
Seth Austin, play-by-play
Marc Dukes, analyst
Radio: Ole Miss IMG Sports Network
David Kellum, play-by-play
Keith Carter, analyst
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Live Video: WatchESPN.com
Series: Louisiana leads 4-3
Last Meeting: Dec. 14, 2011
Ole Miss won 66-54
Oxford, Miss.

PROMOTIONS
– Military Appreciate Night: Free tickets to all veterans and military personnel with I.D.

TIPOFF
– Ole Miss will tip off its 108th season of basketball at home Nov. 10 against Louisiana.
– The Rebels are coming off a 94-53 exhibition victory over North Alabama (Nov. 5).
– Freshman guard Devontae Shuler scored a team-high 18 points in the exhibition win.
– The Rebels will begin their second full season inside The Pavilion at Ole Miss; Ole Miss starts the season with three home games.
– The Rebels were predicted to finish 10th in the SEC this year by the media. Ole Miss finished tied for fifth in the league standings after being projected ninth in the preseason media poll last year.
– Ole Miss begins the 12th season of the Andy Kennedy era; Kennedy, the Dean of the SEC, is the winningest coach in school history with 234 victories.
– Kennedy has fourth-most wins in SEC history by a coach in his first 11 years in the league at one school, trailing only Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), Billy Donovan (Florida) and Wimp Sanderson (Alabama).
–    Ole Miss returns four starters from last year’s squad (Deandre Burnett – 27, Terence Davis – 27, Breein Tyree – 23 and Justas Furmanavicius – 17). Add in Marcanvis Hymon, Rebel returners combined for 118 starts last season.
– Ole Miss returns two of its top three scorers from a year ago in Preseason All-SEC honorees Deandre Burnett (16.5 ppg) and Terence Davis (14.9 ppg).
– Combining for 31.4 ppg, the duo of Burnett and Davis is the highest scoring returning combo in the SEC and the 13th-highest in the nation heading into this season.
– The Rebels added a mixture of talented college transfers and high school signings including: Markel Crawford (graduate transfer from Memphis who averaged 12.8 ppg last year), Bruce Stevens (JUCO All-American who averaged 16.2 ppg and 11.6 rpg last season), Dominik Olejniczak (7-footer who sat out last season after transferring from Drake) and Devontae Shuler (a composite four-star guard rated the No. 100 player in the nation by 247 Sports and Scout.com).
– Ole Miss has won the last two meetings against the Ragin’ Cajuns with victories in 2006 and 2011.
– The Rebels have won 12 of their last 13 season openers.

OLE MISS OPENS 108TH YEAR OF HOOPS
After a 94-53 exhibition win over North Alabama (Nov. 5), Ole Miss will officially tip off its 108th season of basketball Nov. 10 at home versus Louisiana. The Rebels have an all-time record of 1281-1282 in 107 years of basketball.

SCOUTING THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Louisiana posted a 21-12 record last year and have been picked by the media to finish fifth in the Sun Belt Conference this season. The Ragin’ Cajuns are led by seniors Frank Bartley and Bryce Washington, who are Preseason All-SBC honorees. Bartley finished second on the team in scoring a season ago, averaging 15.3 points per game. Meanwhile, Washington was a double-double machine (13.5 ppg, 11.2 rpg), recording 22 of them throughout the season. The Ragin’ Cajuns will have to look for someone to fill the void left by Jay Wright, who led the squad in points (16.2 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg) during the 2016-17 campaign. Louisiana was one of the best scoring teams in the country, leading the Sun Belt and ranking 19th nationally with 81.9 ppg. Bob Marlin begins his eighth season as coach of the Ragin’ Cajuns after spending 12 seasons at Sam Houston State.

SERIES VS. LOUISIANA
Louisiana holds a slight 4-3 advantage over Ole Miss in the all-time series. The two schools first met Dec. 13, 1969, when the Rebels defeated then-Southwest Louisiana 89-77 in Lafayette. However, Ole Miss dropped the next four contests between the two from 1983-1992. After a 14-year hiatus, the Rebels broke the losing skid in the series with a 69-54 victory at Tad Smith Coliseum. Five years later, Ole Miss took down the Ragin’ Cajuns once again, 66-54.

LAST TIME WE MET
The Rebels and Ragin’ Cajuns last met six years ago in Tad Smith Coliseum. Dundrecous Nelson poured in 21 points, and Ole Miss won its sixth straight game by defeating Louisiana (known as Louisiana-Lafayette at the time) 66-54 (Dec. 14, 2011). Nick Williams added 12 points, five rebounds and a pair of assists for the Rebels, who shot 24-of-55, 43.6 percent, from the field. Ole Miss out-rebounded Louisiana-Lafayette 35-34, led by Murphy Holloway with 10 boards. The Rebels forced 19 turnovers as Louisiana-Lafayette struggled from the field, managing 19-of-50, 38 percent.

12TH YEAR OF THE KENNEDY ADMINISTRATION
In 11 seasons under Mississippi native Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss has a 234-140 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. 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.

SUCCESS IN SEASON OPENERS
Ole Miss has gotten seasons off to a strong starts by winning 12 of the last 13 openers. Throughout the program’s history, the Rebels post a record of 70-37 (.654) in season openers. Ole Miss is used to beginning the season at home, playing all 11 of its season openers under Andy Kennedy on the home hardwood.

REBELS ROLL IN EXHIBITION
Sunday (Nov. 5) was the first glimpse Andy Kennedy got of his 2017-18 team in live game action, and Ole Miss rolled over North Alabama 94-53 in an exhibition contest. Freshman guard Devontae Shuler led the team in scoring with 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting. He was 4-of-9 from three-point range. Shuler is in a crowded backcourt with the likes of Memphis transfer Markel CrawfordDeandre BurnettTerence Davis and Breein Tyree. Davis and Burnett had 13 and 11, respectively. Tyree had six assists. The Rebels went 9-of-27 from beyond the three-point line. North Alabama, who upset South Alabama two days before playing Ole Miss, shot just 27.8 percent from the floor (22-of-79), including 15 percent (3-of-20) from three-point range.

UNDERRATED REBELS
Coming off a season in which they finished 22-14 (10-8 SEC) and made a run to the quarterfinals of the NIT, the Rebels were predicted to finish 10th in the SEC this year by the media. Ole Miss finished tied for fifth in the league standings after being projected ninth in the preseason media poll last year. The Rebels have finished above their preseason projected finish each of the last six seasons since the league moved away from a divisional format.

BURNETT AND DAVIS NAMED PRESEASON ALL-SEC
Ole Miss guards Deandre Burnett and Terence Davis were tabbed second team Preseason All-SEC selections by a select panel of both SEC and national media members, the league office announced at the annual SEC Basketball Media Days. The Rebels are one of only three SEC teams to have multiple players on the lists, joining Kentucky and Texas A&M. Both Rebels earned Preseason All-SEC distinction for the first time in their careers. Averaging a combined 31.4 points per game last season, Burnett and Davis return as the highest scoring duo in the SEC and the 13th-highest scoring tandem in the country.

DON’T FORGET ABOUT DRE
After sitting out a year due to transferring from Miami (Fla.), Deandre Burnett made an immediate impact on the Rebels during the 2016-17 campaign. The guard averaged a team-high 16.5 points per game and finished fifth in the SEC in both free-throw percentage (88.1) and three-point percentage (37.6). 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 vs. Oral Roberts). He also shared the rock, providing 104 assists throughout the season (3.2 apg).

TD SCORING
Terence Davis burst onto the scene as a sophomore last year, averaging 14.9 points per game after only providing 1.8 points per game as a freshman. It was the largest increase in scoring among any returning player in the conference. Shooting 48.2 percent from the field, the Southaven, Mississippi, native ranked fourth in the league in field goal percentage and recorded 20+ points in six different games. He quickly became a playmaker on both sides of the floor, leading the Rebels with 50 steals as well. Like his running mate Deandre Burnett, Davis produced double figures in scoring in 26 games. Twice he eclipsed the 30-point plateau, scoring a career-high 33 versus LSU as well as 30 in a win over Syracuse in the NIT.

EURO REBS
Ole Miss has become an international brand with four Europeans on its roster this season: senior forward Justas Furmanavicius (Kaunas, Lithuania), sophomore center Dominik Olejniczak (Torun, Poland), redshirt-freshman forward Karlis Silins (Riga, Latvia) and freshman guard Ilya Tyrtyshnik (Kiev, Ukraine).

ADIOS SAIZ
While the Rebels return four starters from last season’s team, they’ll have to replace the SEC’s leading rebounder in Sebastian Saiz, who pulled down a school-record 409 boards last season. The Madrid, Spain, native was a double-double machine, averaging 15.1 ppg and 11.4 rpg for 23 doubles-doubles throughout the year (another program record). Saiz also became the seventh player in SEC history with 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 blocked shots.

FRESH FACES
The Rebels added a mixture of talented college transfers and high school signees. Markel Crawford arrives at Ole Miss as a graduate transfer from Memphis. He finished second on the Tigers in scoring last season at 12.8 points per game and led the team with 42 3-pointers, while shooting 47.8 percent from the floor. Bruce Stevens, the No. 6 rated junior college player in the nation according to JUCORecruiting.com, averaged 16.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game last season at Jones County (Miss.) Junior College en route to first team All-America honors from the NJCAA. Also eligible to play this year is 7-footer Dominik Olejniczak, who sat out last season after transferring from Drake. Devontae Shuler, a composite four-star guard rated the No. 100 player in the nation by 247 Sports and Scout.com and No. 104 by Rivals.com, averaged 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 3.7 steals per game at perennial powerhouse Oak Hill Academy.

TYREE VOTED TO SEC HOOPS LEADERSHIP POSITION
This season, sophomore Breein Tyree is serving as the vice-chair of the SEC Men’s Basketball Leadership Council. Tyree was selected by a vote of his peers at a meeting of the SEC Basketball Leadership Councils in Birmingham in September. One male representative and one female representative from each of the SEC’s 14 institutions comprise the two councils. Tyree will attend a portion of the SEC Spring Meetings in May, and part of the group will attend the SEC Athletics Directors meeting in March. In 2016, the SEC introduced new Student-Athlete Leadership Councils in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball in which, in addition to the conference’s longstanding Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), provide student-athletes with additional opportunities to engage with campus leaders and conference office staff.

KENNEDY MOVING UP SEC COACHING WINS LIST
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy moved past former Florida coach Norm Sloan into 18th in SEC history with 234 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. Nolan Richardson (Arkansas) – 249
17. John Calipari (Kentucky) – 248
18. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 234 
19. Norm Sloan (Florida) – 232
20. Rick Pitino (Kentucky) – 219
21. Joel Eaves (Auburn) – 214

WINNING WAYS
Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy is the first coach in SEC to post 11 straight winning seasons after taking over a program with four straight losing seasons. Below is the list of coaches that took over a program after four consecutive losing seasons:

Goat Hale (Ole Miss) – 1944
B.L. ‘Country’ Graham (Ole Miss) – 1949
Ken Rosemond (Georgia) – 1965
John Lotz (Florida) – 1973
Hugh Durham (Georgia) – 1978
Jerry Green (Tennessee) – 1997
John Brady (LSU) – 1997
Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 2006
Bruce Pearl (Auburn) – 2014

DEAN OF SEC COACHES
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.

CONSISTENT WINNER
Andy Kennedy is one of eight active head coaches with 12 or more consecutive winning seasons to start a career. The list includes: Jim Boeheim (41), Roy Williams (29), Tom Izzo (22), Mark Few (18), Jamie Dixon (14), Sean Miller (13) and Dave Rose (12).

KENNEDY’S FIRST 11 YEARS RANK AMONG ALL-TIME SEC GREATS
Andy Kennedy is also fourth on the list for most wins by a coach in their first 11 years in the league after taking over an SEC program. See the list below:

1. Bill Donovan (Florida) – 261
2. Joe B. Hall (Kentucky) – 250
3. Wimp Sanderson (Alabama) – 239
4. Andy Kennedy (Ole Miss) – 234 
5. Rick Stansbury (Mississippi State) – 231
6. Kevin Stallings (Vanderbilt) – 213
7. Mark Gottfried (Alabama) – 210
8. Don Devoe (Tennessee) – 204
9. Ray Mears (Tennessee) – 201
10. Hugh Durham (Georgia) – 199
11. Dale Brown (LSU) – 194
12. John Brady (LSU) – 192
13. C.M. Newtown (Alabama) – 193
14. Roy Skinner (Vanderbilt) – 188
15. Adolph Rupp (Kentucky) – 185

DEFENDING HOME COURT
Winning at home has been a trademark of Andy Kennedy’s squads since he took the reins in 2006-07. Ole Miss is 133-34 (.796 win pct.) in games played homes during Kennedy’s tenure. In two seasons playing in the $96.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss, the Rebels hold a 20-8 (.714) advantage against the opposition. Ole Miss has won 258 of its last 324 games (.796 win pct.) in Oxford dating back to the 1996-97 campaign.

REBELS SIGN FOUR STANDOUTS ON SIGNING DAY
Head coach Andy Kennedy announced the Rebels’ newest signing class that features two high school standouts and a pair of junior college transfers. Serrel Smith, Anthony Higgs, Brian Halums and Zach Naylor all signed their National Letters of Intent and will join the Rebels for the 2018-19 season. A 4-star recruit by ESPN.com, Smith hails from St. Petersburg, Florida and is the No. 11 combo guard in the country. The 6-3 Smith earned Pinellas County Player of the Year honors as a junior after averaging 27.3 points, six rebounds and five assists per contest. Entering his final season before joining the Rebels next year, Smith is on pace to become the school’s all-time leading scorer while contending as a frontrunner for player of the year honors in the Sunshine State. Giving Ole Miss a boost in the frontcourt will be Higgs, a 6-8 forward out of Perry Hall High School in Baltimore, Maryland. A 3-star prospect, Higgs is a versatile lefty that can play either the three or four spot. As a junior, he averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game en route to helping his team capture the 4A State Championship, the first state title in school history. Higgs also collected first team all-metro honors by the Baltimore Sun. A 6-5 guard out of Hollandale, Mississippi, Halums averaged 17.3 points and a team-high 7.5 rebounds per game as a freshman for Itawamba Community College. In 22 games, he shot 55.1 percent from the floor and made 44.8 percent from three-point range (53rd nationally). Halums earned a spot on the NJCAA All-Region 23 team as well as first team MACJC All-State accolades. His coaches are former Ole Miss assistants Grant Pate (2003-04, 2006) and Eric Bozeman (1999-2005). As a freshman at Weatherford College under head coach Mark Osina, Naylor led the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference in scoring by averaging 20.0 points per game (25th nationally). He eclipsed the 30-point plateau on three occasions, including a 34-point outburst versus Western Texas. The Houston, Texas, native nearly averaged a double-double throughout his debut season, hauling down 9.1 rebounds per contest. His 197 rebounds through 26 games ranked 20th in the country. The 6-8 forward also displayed his versatility by shooting at a 41.5 percent clip from beyond the arc.

REMEMBERING PETE LEWIS
Earlier this week, the Ole Miss men’s basketball team, along with the entire Ole Miss Athletics Department, lost an impactful family member with the passing of longtime learning specialist Pete Lewis. After a battle with throat cancer and complications with pneumonia, Lewis passed away at the age of 73. Having such a tremendous impact on Ole Miss student-athletes, Lewis’ legacy and memory will live on with the help of head men’s basketball coach Andy Kennedy and the rest of Rebel Nation. Kennedy’s contribution of $25,000 will permanently endow the scholarship in Pete’s name, the Pete Lewis Memorial Scholarship Endowment.

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