Ole Miss handed Arkansas(11-6, 2-2 SEC) a 76-64 defeat on Saturday in Oxford, improving the Rebels SEC record to 4-0, the best mark to start conference play since the 1936-37 season.
Junior guard Marshall Henderson led Ole Miss (15-2, 4-0 SEC) in scoring with 16 points, but the Rebels had five different players have double digit point games.
“It’s the great thing about our team,” senior guard Nick Williams, who added 14 points, said. “We got so many different guys that can do different things. We’re a deep team, and I feel like we can play with anybody.”
Senior forward Murphy Holloway recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds. He has scored in double figures in all 17 of the Rebels games this season.
With 10 points and 10 rebounds, Reggie Buckner also recorded a double-double, to go along with four blocks. Buckner also received a flagrant foul in the second half for an elbow that hit junior forward Marshawn Powell of Arkansas. Sophomore Jarvis Summers added 14 points and seven assists for the Rebels from the point guard position.
Ole Miss played in front of a second straight sell out, and head coach Andy Kennedy sees the benefit of the fan turnout.
“The spotlight’s gotten a little bit brighter,” Kennedy said. “We’ve had great support, two great crowds, a lot of energy in the building, and that helps us. It truly does.”
Ole Miss led 34-26 at halftime, despite shooting 34 percent and missing all eight of their three point attempts. The Rebels used a three-quarters court press to frustrate the Razorbacks and forced 12 turnovers in the first half. Arkansas entered the game averaging 11 turnovers per game.
The Tad Smith Coliseum experienced a lighting issue in the first half. The game was delayed for about 30 minutes total, with 5:37 remaining in the first half. The game continued without the use of the center-court video board.
Ole Miss had built a 13-point lead in the second half, but a 22-9 Arkansas run tied the game 50 with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Ole Miss out scored the Razorbacks 26-14 to close the game and secure their 15th victory.
Ole Miss did commit 16 turnovers, a stat Kennedy described as “not us.”
“They’re athletic and they’re long. I think they do a good job of anticipating,” Kennedy said of the Hogs. “They spend a lot of time on run and jump, making rotations. Sometimes we were a little loose with the ball, and they made us pay.”
The fourth leading scorer in the SEC, sophomore guard B.J. Young of Arkansas, had 14 points, but missed all five of his thee-point attempts. Powell led Arkansas with 16 points and four blocks.
Ole Miss has now beaten Arkansas six straight times and nine times out of 10.
Two special guests came to watch the Rebels play as Archie and Eli Manning attended the game and were given a standing ovation when shown on the video board in the first half.
Holloway is now 22 rebounds away from becoming the all time leading rebounder in Ole Miss history, while Kennedy is five wins away from becoming the all time winningest coach school history.
Ole Miss returns to action on Thursday, as they host the Tennessee Volunteers at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. Tennessee will be looking for revenge, as the Rebels knocked them off 92-74 on Jan. 9.
Player of the Game: Nick Williams – 14 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists off the bench
Stat of the Game: 28 Minutes – the exact amount of time before play was resumed after the lights went out.
Quote of the Game: “(Arkansas) was probably more mad about it than us. We go to Ole Miss. A lot of stuff don’t work right around here. I like the Tad Pad. I wouldn’t change it for nothing.” – Murphy Holloway on the lighting issue