Ole Miss returns to the court on Saturday as they travel up to Arkansas and tangle with the Razorbacks in an SEC showdown. Tip-off is set for 2:30 p.m. inside Bud Walton Arena, and the game will be carried on the SEC Network.
Ole Miss (10-8, 3-3 SEC) is looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 71-69 loss to the Texas A&M Aggies on Tuesday night. Sophomore Breein Tyree’s potential last-second shot could have given the Rebels the game in College Station.
This season, the Rebels are 9-1 when shooting from beyond the arc.
Coach Andy Kennedy has placed junior Bruce Stevens down low over the past two games, and he has been a dominant force in the paint, averaging 21.0 points.
“I think he is getting better, having back-to-back 20 point games against two really good teams,” Kennedy said. “One of the most encouraging things is that his minutes have gone up. I think he played a career-high in minutes … We thought he would be able to score down low.”
Arkansas enters Saturday’s matchup with a 12-6 record, including a 2-4 mark in SEC play. The Razorbacks dropped a road battle to Florida 88-73 on Wednesday but held on to beat Missouri at home last weekend, snapping a three-game losing streak. Arkansas leads the SEC in assist/turnover ratio (1.5), ranking 17th in the nation. Taking care of the basketball, the Razorbacks’ 10.7 turnovers per game are the 11th fewest in the country.
“(Arkansas) is like a lot of teams, [playing] completely different at home and away,” Kennedy said. “When they play in the friendly confines of Bud Walton Arena, it is going to be chaotic. They are going to pressure you. You can’t give them the ball and allow them to get out into the open floor. They are very explosive, averaging 80 points a game.”
Senior guard Jaylen Barford leads the Razorbacks in scoring, ranking third in the SEC with 18.9 points per game. Fellow classmate Daryl Macon adds 15.6 ppg while leading the team in assists (74) and steals (22). Bursting onto the scene as a freshman, forward Daniel Gafford has scored 12.1 ppg to go along with a team-high 35 blocks. Another player averaging double figures is Anton Beard (10.6 ppg), one of only two Razorbacks that has started all 18 games.
Mike Anderson is in his seventh season as Arkansas head coach. He spent 17 seasons as an assistant for the Razorbacks, then went on to lead UAB (2002-06) and Missouri (2006-11) before returning to Arkansas.
The last time the Rebels and Razorbacks met, Arkansas squeaked out a 73-72 win in the quarterfinals of the SEC Tournament (March 10, 2017). Ole Miss, fresh off beating Missouri in the Rebels’ tournament opener, jumped out to a 17-8 lead on a 3-pointer by Terence Davis. After that, neither team led by more than six in a game featuring 13 ties, including 40-40 at halftime, along with 12 lead changes. Tyree gave Ole Miss its last lead at 70-69 with a 3-pointer with 1:47 to go. The Rebels didn’t score again until a layup that was too little and too late.
Adam Brown is the sports editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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