For the second time this season, Ole Miss is on a three-game winning streak, successfully making plays down the stretch to seal the recent victories. The Rebels (8-5, 1-0 SEC) stayed in the fight against South Carolina on New Year’s Eve and walked away with the 74-69 win to open SEC play.
Andy Kennedy has mentioned time and time again that his team has to make plays to win in the SEC–and that is just what they did Sunday. Ole Miss only turned the ball over eight times and recorded 15 assists on 20 made field goals. The Rebels look to continue their hot streak as they travel to Athens, Georgia Wednesday night (5:30 p.m., SECN) when Ole Miss takes on the Georgia Bulldogs (9-3, 0-1).
UGA is coming off a heartbreaking, league-opening road loss to then-No. 16 Kentucky, 66-61, inside Rupp Arena.
Just as the Gamecocks have a strong post player in Chris Silva, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds against Ole Miss, the Bulldogs have solid inside play led by senior forward Yante Maten, who’s second in the SEC in scoring (19.9 points per game) and rebounding (9.5 rpg).
It’s never easy to win a road game in the tough SEC, but here is what the Rebels will need to focus on in order to defeat the Bulldogs.
Three things to watch in the Ole Miss-UGA matchup
1. Free throws and bench scoring
Ole Miss will need to get off to a hot start in Athens against a Bulldogs team that is a perfect 6-0 at home, and the Rebels will also look to perform well at the charity stripe. Against the Gamecocks, Ole Miss made 26 of 33 shots from the free throw line, with 10 of 11 falling through the net in the final 10:10 of the game.
Additionally, bench scoring could play a factor in the outcome. The Rebels’ bench stepped up against South Carolina, outscoring the Gamecocks, 28-18. Ole Miss forward Bruce Stevens was the leading scorer off the bench with 10 points.
2. Dominik Olejniczak guarding Maten
Dominik Olejniczak will most likely play significant minutes for Ole Miss Wednesday night against UGA, and he will have to guard Yante Maten. Maten is one of the most experienced power forwards in the SEC. What makes Maten dangerous is his ability to step out of the paint and knock down the long ball. For the season, Maten is shooting 38.7 percent from 3-point range.
3. Guards taking turns with scoring leadership
Ole Miss has five guards with the ability to score, and on any given night, one of them will have the opportunity to lead the backcourt in scoring.
Let’s also not forget about sophomore guard Breein Tyree, who also has shown he has what’s necessary to take over a game. Look for one (or more) of these talented guards to take over the game for the Rebels in Athens.
Location: Athens, Ga.
Arena: Stegeman Coliseum (10,523)
Television: SEC Network
Live Audio: OleMissSports.com
Live Video: WatchESPN.com