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Rebels look to continue momentum at Arkansas tonight

Austin McAfee/The Daily Mississippian

 

The Ole Miss men’s basketball team travels to Arkansas to face the Razorbacks tonight in Fayetteville in hopes of sweeping the season series and extending their winning streak against Arkansas to five games. The Rebels have won seven of their last eight meetings against the Razorbacks, including the last three in Fayetteville.

Ole Miss snapped a three-game losing streak this past Saturday with a 72-48 rout of LSU. The Razorbacks won their first road game of the season, a 77-71 win at Auburn Saturday. Before Saturday’s win, the Razorbacks had lost three in a row and five of their last six. The team had won 17 straight games in Fayetteville this season before losing its last two home games to Florida and Alabama.

Both teams are in a three-way tie with Mississippi State for sixth place in the Southeastern Conference standings and look to finish the season strong and improve their seeding head into New Orleans for the SEC Basketball Tournament March 8-11.

The Rebels won the two teams’ first meeting when Ole Miss won 71-63 in their SEC home opener this season. Junior forward Murphy Holloway returned from injury with a 19-point, 14-rebound performance, while the Rebels did not make a three-point field goal (0-of-7). Ole Miss, however, shot 50 percent (26-of-52) from the field and 73.1 percent (19-of-26) from the free throw line and out-rebounded Arkansas 46-22.

Ole Miss will have to improve on taking care of the ball as Arkansas’s high pressure defense resulted in 13 steals and 23 Ole Miss turnovers in the first meeting.

“We didn’t handle the pressure well in the first meeting but we weren’t handling anyone’s pressure well early in the season,” said Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy in Monday’s SEC teleconference. “I think we have made some adjustments, different guys have gotten more comfortable in their responsibilities and as of late we haven’t turned the ball over as much. It will be a difficult challenge in Bud Walton, Arkansas, like most teams are more effective in the home venue and we anticipate that tomorrow. We will have to be aggressive tomorrow and attacking the pressure not only to break it but attacking it to score.”

Junior guard Nick Williams and freshman guard Jarvis Summers joined Holloway in double figures. Williams scored 18 points off the bench and Summers added 11.

Junior forward Reginald Buckner finished with eight points and pulled down 11 rebounds to along with two blocked shots. Senior forward Marvell Waithe led all Razorbacks with 15 points off the bench. Freshman guard BJ Young averages 15.2 points per game to lead Arkansas while sophomore guard Mardacus Wade adds 10.7 points per game. 

Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. and will be televised on ESPNU.