Oxford, MS (Sports Network) - The 23rd-ranked Ole Miss Rebels will try to
extend the SEC's longest active winning streak on Thursday night, as they play
host to the Tennessee Volunteers at Tad Smith Coliseum.
Tennessee had been losers of a season-high four-straight games prior to its
72-57 triumph at home over Mississippi State last Saturday -- its first win in
conference this season. The Vols are now 9-7 overall, but they have not fared
well away from home, losing all four of their true road matchups.
Ole Miss ran its current winning streak to seven games by claiming a 76-64
decision over Arkansas last Saturday, climbing to 15-2 and 4-0 in SEC play.
The Rebels' recent run has allowed them to crack the Top-25 for the first time
since 2010, and they are off to their best start to a season since the 1936-37
campaign when they were 16-2 and 5-0 in conference.
Ole Miss has won two in a row against Tennessee, including a 92-74 decision in
Knoxville earlier this season, but the Vols still hold a 69-40 advantage in
the all-time series.
The Volunteers were able to snap their recent skid last weekend by putting
together an impressive all-around effort in the 25-point win, shooting 46.7
percent from the field while holding Mississippi State to 37.5 percent.
Jarnell Stokes was the catalyst in the UT frontcourt with 18 points, 11
rebounds and two blocks, while Josh Richardson scored 16 points and Jordan
McRae netted a dozen. The bench got into the act as well, with Trae Golden
tallying 10 points and nine assists, and Armani Moore grabbing 11 rebounds.
The majority of Tennessee's success this season has come thanks to a stellar
defense, as the team yields just 62.3 ppg on 40.7 percent field goal
efficiency. Its defensive play helps make up for a rather modest offensive
attack (.430 FG percentage, 65.6 ppg). McRae had scored at least 20 points in
four straight contests prior to the MSU game, which has helped to position
himself as the team's top scorer at 13.8 ppg. Stokes records 11.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg
and more than a block per contest, while shooting 52 percent from the field.
Golden adds 10.8 ppg and 4.5 apg, but he has been relegated to the bench in
recent weeks, which perhaps has something to do with his disappointing field
goal percentage (.359).
Ole Miss sports the nation's third-best scoring offense, as it pours in 82.4
ppg, and while it didn't reach that mark in its most recent game, it was still
able to notch a double-digit victory by holding Arkansas below 40 percent
shooting while forcing 19 turnovers. The Rebels have seen much better days
from the field themselves (28-of-70), but they still had five players reach
double figures, led by 16 points from Marshall Henderson, who is the SEC's
leading scorer at 18.9 ppg. Murphy Holloway (15 points, 11 rebounds) and
Reginald Buckner (10 points, 10 boards) both logged double-doubles, while
Jarvis Summers (seven assists) and Nick Williams each tallied 14 points. While
Henderson is the team's catalyst, there are others who made regular
contributions. Murphy is outstanding in the low post, netting 15.8 ppg on
nearly 56 percent shooting, while ranking first in the SEC in rebounding with
10.6 per contest. Buckner (10.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 2.9 bpg) is even more efficient,
making greater than 63 percent of his attempts from the floor, and Williams
(10.3 ppg) and Summers (8.7 ppg, 3.7 apg) round out a starting five that can
compete with anyone in the conference.
The Sports Network