On Feb. 13, Texas A&M sent the Ole Miss Rebels packing in a 69-67 victory in College Station. The loss set off a 24 hour Twitter storm regarding Andy Kennedy that was anything but Valentine-like. It set Kennedy’s seat ablaze and after the subsequent loss to South Carolina, it was practically engulfed. The damage was tempered after a 33-point slaughtering of the Auburn Tigers, but will liven up again if he does not break even with the Aggies.
Texas A&M comes into this one licking their paws a bit after coming up short in a four-overtime home loss to Tennessee on Saturday. Barring an automatic bid from winning the conference tournament, it is highly improbable for the Aggies to find themselves in the field of 68 come Selection Sunday. That means they will be playing the always dangerous role of spoiler, and they have the perfect weapon to help them along, Elston Turner.
We all know the story on Turner by now. Dad was an Ole Miss legend, kid transferred from Washington, dad reached out to Kennedy hoping for a roster spot for his son, Kennedy said no, kid drops 37 points in an upset win over Ole Miss. He’s averaging 17.3 ppg and can score from anywhere on the court. He is fresh off a 38-point night against Tennessee, his fifth scoring output over 25 points and third over 35 points this season. There is still no true scoring threat after Turner, but he was enough to beat the Rebels last time around.
Ole Miss will have to do a better job rebounding than they did in the last meeting. Texas A&M outrebounded Ole Miss 35-33 led by Ray Turner with 13. Reginald Buckner had 15 of the team’s 33 boards. Buckner also added 13 points and 4 blocks in the losing effort, one his best all-around games of the season. That means that the other stars for Ole Miss will need to step up as both Marshall Henderson and Murphy Holloway came up small in the biggest state in the continental United States.
Henderson had 10 points and 4-11 shooting before fouling out in the waning seconds. He has struggled as of late but came on against Auburn, his first game off the bench this season. Henderson tied a school-record with 8 three-pointers made, scoring 28 points in just 26 minutes. He will need to match Elston Turner’s star power if the Rebels are to earn redemption.
Holloway also had 10 points, with just 5 rebounds and 5 turnovers. All three stats are concerning but the big man has recorded two double-doubles since that game and the Rebels are hoping he can continue his resurgence against the Aggies.
Ever since the 3-5 slide started against Kentucky, the numbers at home games has dropped. The Rebels will need to remind fans why they came out to games in the first place tonight as the last meeting left a bad taste in the fan bases’s mouthes. The NCAA Tournament is still in reach as ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has the Rebels as one of his “Last Four In”. Only two home games remain on the schedule with a critical game against Alabama looming next week, making this game all the more important. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. from Tad Smith Coliseum.