Ole Miss (7-1) at Loyola Marymount (5-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, December 19, 11 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Gersten Pavilion (4,156) -- Los Angels, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Ole Miss 7-0, LMU 2-1. Away Record: Ole Miss 0-1, LMU 2-2. Neutral Record: Ole Miss 0-0, LMU 1-1. Conference Record: Ole Miss 0-0, LMU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Ole Miss Rebels will try to find success away from home for the first time this season when they visit the City of Angels for a non- conference tilt against the Loyola Marymount Lions at Gersten Pavilion.
Andy Kennedy's Rebels completed a 77-55 rout of East Tennessee on Friday to raise their record to 7-1 on the season. After running past its first six opponents, including Arkansas-Little Rock (92-52) and Rutgers (80-67), Ole Miss came up short in its first away game at Middle Tennessee (65-62). In the latest Division I statistics, the Rebels rank third in scoring margin (24.8) and eighth in scoring (82.6), field goal percentage defense (0.335), and steals (10.8).
The Lions climbed back over the .500 mark with a 92-86 win over Northern Arizona on Dec. 5. LMU is now 5-4 thanks to its current two-game winning streak. Coach Max Good has a fast-paced system which has yielded 76.8 points per contest on 44.5 percent shooting from the field. His team is also converting 39.2 percent from distance and outrebounding its foes by 7.3 boards per outing. The Lions are allowing 70.1 ppg.
This will be the first meeting between these schools on the hardwood. LMU is 2-10 in its history against current SEC programs.
Ole Miss had a solid all-around performance in its recent victory over ETSU as it converted 43.8 percent of its field goal attempts while forcing 22 turnovers and blocking nine shots on the other end of the floor. Junior guard Marshall Henderson poured in 22 points to lead the team. The shooting guard is averaging a conference-best 17.8 ppg with 32 makes from three-point range. Senior forward Murphy Holloway (14.6 ppg, 10 rpg) leads active SEC players with 28 career double-doubles and sophomore point guard Jarvis Summers is fourth in the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio (5.5).
LMU surrendered an 18-point lead in the second half its last time out and trailed by three with less than a minute left in regulation before junior point guard Anthony Ireland tied it up with a triple to force an extra session. The Lions took control in overtime and Ireland finished with 28 points and six assists. He is having a sensational season so far with 21.1 points, 4.8 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game. Senior forward Ashley Hamilton (15.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) showed off his vitalness to the team's success versus the Lumberjacks with 24 points and six rebounds.
LMU will most likely be without starting forward Godwin Okonji, who underwent an emergency Laparoscopic Appendectomy on Dec. 12. Okonji, who has 64 career starts in two-plus seasons, was released from the hospital the following day but has not practiced.
The loss of the inside depth for LMU will hurt as it will need a great effort down low to keep Holloway from dominating the glass. Ole Miss needs to show it can produce at a high level outside of Oxford and this will be a perfect opportunity to do so. Ireland has lifted the Lions to a few upsets in his career, including a home triumph over the then nationally ranked Saint Louis Billikens last season. The Rebels will need to shut him down to come out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ole Miss 75, Loyola Marymount 71
12/19 10:39:25 ET