Arkansas-Little Rock (1-1) at Ole Miss (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Tad Smith Coliseum (8,867) -- Oxford, Mississippi. Television: None. Home Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 1-0, Ole Miss 2-0. Away Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 0-1, Ole Miss 0-0. Neutral Record: Arkansas- Little Rock 0-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Conference Record: Arkansas-Little Rock 0-0, Ole Miss 0-0. Series Record: Ole Miss leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: The Ole Miss Rebels will host the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at Tad Smith Coliseum on Friday as they search for their third win on the early season.
After earning an 84-68 win over Tennessee-Martin on its home floor in the season opener, Arkansas-Little Rock had a very different experience in its second game. The Trojans traveled to Ruston, Louisiana to battle Louisiana Tech and were run off the court to the tune of a 70-52 decision. Next up for the Trojans is a return home to the Jack Stephens Center where they will kick off the Hoops for Hope Classic against Milwaukee.
Ole Miss has breezed through its first two games this season, both at home. In both contests the Rebels posted at least 90 points and won by double-digits with victories over Mississippi Valley State (93-57) and Coastal Carolina (90-72). This matchup is one of six straight home games for the Rebels to open the season continuing against McNeese State on Tuesday.
In two previous meetings Ole Miss has come out on top both times. The most recent meeting occurred in 2010 when the Rebels handed the Trojans an 84-70 defeat.
Arkansas-Little Rock came out of the gates slowly against Louisiana Tech, shooting 22.6 percent in the first half, and was never able to recover. The Trojans were also done in by a 22-14 discrepancy in points from the free throw line and a game-high 19 turnovers.
After impressing in the first game of the season, forward Will Neighbour looked positively pedestrian against Louisiana Tech. The 6-10 junior managed only six points and a pair of rebounds and played in only 17 minutes. The drop off was substantial considering Neighbour hung up a 13-point, 11-rebound effort in the opener. Neighbour is the leading returning scorer and rebounder from last season (10.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg). The lack of scoring is a trend that dates back to the end of last season when Neighbour scored in single digits over the final four games. John Gillon was similarly unable to recapture the success he had in the opener with only seven points. The freshman guard had 22 points off the bench in the opener. Thus far Taggart Lockhart (10.0 ppg) has been the only player to score in double figures in both contests.
It wasn't all easy for Ole Miss in its most recent contest against Coastal Carolina. In fact the Rebels trailed at halftime (39-36) but road an 18-of-32 effort from the field in the second half to pull away for the win. The Rebels also had a 27-12 edge in points off turnovers.
Freshman guard Marshall Henderson has been sensational in his first two collegiate games. The 6-2 guard is scoring 24.5 points per game after a 27- point eruption against Coastal Carolina. It isn't just new blood that has looked good for the Rebels though. Senior forward Murphy Holloway has had double-doubles in both games this season including his 15-point, 12-rebound effort against Coast Carolina. Holloway is a threat to post a double-double just about every night as he now has 27 for his career. Reginald Buckner pairs up nicely with Holloway on the inside with his ability to protect the rim (2.0 pg). In terms of experienced backcourt production, senior Nick Williams (7.5 ppg, 3.0 apg) is the standard.
Henderson will likely slow down as the season progresses which will put more pressure on Holloway. In this matchup that won't be an issue at all as the Rebels' bruising frontcourt should push the Trojans around.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 84, Arkansas-Little Rock 68
11/16 10:38:34 ET