Oxford, MS (Sports Network) - The 10th-ranked Missouri Tigers continue their
run through their first season in the SEC, as they take on the Ole Miss Rebels
in a conference showdown in Oxford in Saturday.
Frank Haith's Tigers opened their inaugural SEC campaign with an 84-68
blasting of Alabama in Columbia on Tuesday. The win was the second straight
and eight in the last nine games and moved Missouri to an impressive 12-2 on
Andy Kennedy's Rebels are also sporting an impressive 12-2 mark thus far. Ole
Miss comes into this contest with a four-game win streak in tow, after
dispatching Tennessee in Knoxville in its conference opener on Wednesday,
This is actually the first time these two programs are meeting on the
hardwood. The two programs will square off again on Feb. 9 in Columbia.
Five Tigers scored in double figures in Missouri's SEC debut against Alabama.
Jabari Brown led the way with 22 points, thanks in large part to five 3-
pointers. Earnest Ross poured in 19 points off the bench, while Alex Oriakhi
recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Laurence Bowers also
posted 16 points, while Phil Pressey matched Oriakhi's feat with a double-
double of his own, finishing with 11 points and 13 assists. The big win came
at a cost however, as Bowers suffered a sprained knee and is listed out for
the next couple of games.
An offensive team first and foremost, Missouri likes to get out and run. The
team is averaging a hefty 78.9 ppg this year, doing so on a healthy .457
shooting. Still, losing Bowers, even if for just a few games, is a big blow.
The senior forward is converting .520 from the floor, leads Missouri in
scoring (16.8 ppg) and ranks second in rebounding (6.9 rpg). That will leave
Oriakhi (10.6 ppg, 8.9 rpg) with more of the burden down low. The 6-5 Ross
(10.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg) could slip into the rotation and become even more of a
factor with Bowers sidelined. The team has a number of options along the
perimeter with Brown (13.8 ppg), Pressey (13.6 ppg) and Keion Bell (8.0 ppg)
all capable of contributing offensively. Pressey's first charge however, is to
distribute, as he leads the SEC with 7.6 apg.
Ole Miss started its SEC slate with a win for the first time since the 2005-06
season and won for just the second time ever at Thompson-Boling Arena, with
its rout of the Volunteers. Marshall Henderson went off for a career-high 32
points in the win. Murphy Holloway recorded a double-double with 15 points and
12 rebounds, as did Reginald Buckner (13 pts, 15 rebs), while Jarvis Summers
added to the offensive onslaught with 16 points of his own. Their aggressive
Rebels certainly took advantage at the free-throw line in the game, holding a
huge 38-17 edge in points from the charity stripe.
The Rebels are a dangerous offensive squad as well, ranking fifth nationally
with 83.7 ppg. The gaudy numbers have given the team a +19.0 scoring margin as
well, good for 10th nationally. Despite shooting under 40 percent from the
floor, Henderson leads the SEC in scoring at 19.1 ppg. He is also among the
national leaders in 3-pointer made, ranking second at four treys per game.
Holloway (15.7 ppg, 11.0 rpg) and Buckner (10.9 ppg, 7.6 rpg) provide the
perfect balance in the frontcourt. Nick Williams rounds out the top scorers on
the team at 10.7 ppg.
The Sports Network