Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kennedy's REbels Travel to PMAC to Take on Tigers

Ole Miss will travel to Baton Rouge to play the No. 16 ranked LSU Tigers tonight at 7 pm. The trip to LSU is the first of two road games this week, both coming against Final Four teams from a year ago. The Rebels will also travel to Gainesville to play defending national champion Florida on Saturday. Ole Miss is 1-2 in Southeastern Conference play, but is coming off of 74-72 home win over Arkansas. The win snapped a three-game losing streak, and gave the Rebels confidence before going to play the Bayou Bengals. "I've got a fragile group," head coach Andy Kennedy said. "Tonight I could see a relief come over them because now they know. Arkansas is as good as anybody in our league they've proven that to this point. "[Saturday's] effort despite our inefficiencies sometimes at the end of the game showed what we're capable of doing. So know we'll get lined up prepared for a very good LSU team and grind them out one at a time." Ole Miss point guard Todd Abernethy echoed the sentiments of his coach. "Its helps us so much mentally. Having lost three games in a row, and two in the SEC, a win [against Arkansas] just takes care of everything," said Abernethy. "We have a tough stretch with LSU and Florida." LSU stands at 1-1 in SEC. The Tigers lost at Alabama 71-61, but hung on to win at home 65-63 over Auburn. The Tigers are led by Glenn Davis who is third in the SEC in scoring (19.2 ppg) and leads the conference in rebounding (10.9). Tasmin Mitchell joins Davis to form a formidable frontcourt by averaging 14 points and 7 rebounds a game. Terry Martin made his first career start for LSU against Auburn, and may have helped the Tigers find a replacement for last season's point guard Darrel Mitchell. Martin made five three-pointers and scored 23 points in the win. Despite the big difference in the records between Ole Miss and LSU, the Rebels gave the Tigers all they could handle in both meetings last season. In the first meeting Ole Miss led by as many as 10 points in the first half, and had the game tied at 71 with two minutes remaining before losing 79-73. LSU made 20 of 26 free throws to beat the Rebels 55-52 in the final regular season game. The backcourt trio of Abernethy, Bam Doyne and Clarence Sanders has carried Ole Miss through most of the season, but the frontcourt stepped up in the win over Arkansas. Dwayne Curtis, Kenny Williams, and Jermey Parnell combined for 35 points after only scoring 27 in the first two SEC games. According to Williams, if the frontcourt can continue to improve, it will be the key to winning games in the SEC. "We know LSU with Big Baby [Glenn Davis] and Florida with Al Horford. Our frontline just needs to keep picking it up everyday, that is our main goal. As long as our backcourt keeps coming and stepping up, and we get a little bit off the bench we can at least be .500 in the conference."

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